Chorley 1-1 Wrexham AFC: Dean Keates has plenty to be positive about

Reporter:

Rich Williams

WREXHAM didn’t get the win they wanted against Chorley at Victory Park but it  has been a positive pre-season for the Reds.

The final friendly ended in a draw as the National League North hosts provided a tough test for Dean Keates’ side.

Keates, who didn’t risk captain Shaun Pearson, saw Wrexham control the first half and take the lead when striker Scott Boden pounced from close range.

Chances had gone begging and it proved costly as Chorley equalised after the break through a superb free-kick.

Ntumba Massanka had an opportunity to win it for Wrexham but the striker’s late penalty was saved.

“Ideally I would liked to have won the game,” said Keates.

“But fair play to the kid, he has hit one from about 25 yards in the stanchion on a free-kick.

“We said to the lads that the disappointing thing is we did give too many set-pieces away central, and obviously gave them a chance, but other than that I thought we did okay.”

Although they failed to register victory, Wrexham only lost one of eight pre-season games – all away from home – against teams of various standards.

Six ended in wins and although those results count for little when Wrexham kick-off a 10th campaign in non-league with a home match against Macclesfield Town on Saturday, Keates is pleased with how pre-season has gone.

“It has gone okay,” said Keates. “There is one injury that we are looking at but no-one has really missed a mass amount of time.

“There were no injuries on Saturday so it has been positive.

“We have managed the minutes, we know where they all are and they have all come through it.

“We have got a lot of 90 minutes into certain players so we are happy with how it has gone.”

Wrexham created the first chance but Chris Holroyd fired wide after being picked out by Paul Rutherford.

Another promising break led to Rutherford again feeding Holroyd, who brought a first save of the afternoon out of goalkeeper Matt Unwin.

A clever turn by James Jennings ended with the left-back’s low drive falling narrowly wide while Marcus Carver headed over the bar with Chorley’s first opportunity.

Wrexham went straight back at the hosts and Marcus Kelly pulled the ball back for Holroyd, whose effort was blocked by Scott Leather.

It was almost 1-0 to Wrexham on 30 minutes as Manny Smith flicked on a Rutherford corner but Jennnings shot over the bar from close range.

Wrexham’s dominance finally paid off as the visitors took the lead five minutes later.

Rutherford’s cross reached Manny Smith whose shot was parried by keeper Urwin and Boden was on hand to convert from close range.

Another good move by Wrexham led to Kelly finding Holroyd, who was denied by Urwin with the final opportunity of a first half dominated by the Reds.

Keates made three changes for the start of the second half with Kevin Roberts, Jack Mackreth and Leo Smith replacing Sam Wedgbury, Rutherford and Kelly.

Chorley should have threatened an equaliser when Courtney Meppen-Walter beat two players in the area but fired wide with only Chris Dunn to beat.

Back came Wrexham and Mackreth outpaced his marker, but saw a weak effort easily saved by the goalkeeper.

However, Chorley levelled after 56 minutes, Meppen-Walter scoring with a superbly taken free-kick from 25 yards.

Mark Carrington and Massanka were brought on for Akil Wright and Holroyd, while Wrexham should have reclaimed the lead, but Manny Smith was unable to convert from inside the six yard box from Jennings’ free-kick.

Scholar Niall Freeman replaced Boden for the final 10 minutes and Wrexham were given a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead when Mackreth was brought down in the area by Adam Blakeman.

Massanka took the penalty but Urwin went the right way and saved the striker’s spot-kick.

Dunn kept Wrexham on level terms as he made a superb stop to keep out Blakeman’s free-kick and it finished all-square.

Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Charnock, Meppen-Walter, Whitham, Carver, Gornell, Wilson. Subs: Phillips, Bullock, Roscoe, Smith, Lenehan, Likoy-Elumba, Branagan.

Wrexham (4-4-2): Dunn; Hurst, Manny Smith, Marx, Jennings; Rutherford (Mackreth 46), Wright (Carrington 62), Wedgbury (Roberts 46), Kelly (Leo Smith 46); Boden (Freeman 80), Holroyd (Massanka 62). Sub not used: Dibble.

Referee: Andy Sykes.

Attendance: 677.

Man of the Match: Paul Rutherford was lively during his 45 minute run-out and caused Chorley lots of problems.

Email:

rich.williams@nwn.co.uk

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