Wrexham AFC defensive record is a team effort says Manny Smith


Rich Williams

WREXHAM’S centre-backs have received plaudits for their performances but Manny Smith insists the rest of the team deserve more credit for the excellent defensive record.

The Reds have only conceded 12 goals in 19 games – meaning they boast the joint best record in the division along with current leaders Dover Athletic.

Smith and Shaun Pearson performed heroics in the back-line to make sure Wrexham held onto their narrow lead carved out by the captain as Chester piled on the pressure in a bid to snatch an equaliser in last Wednesday’s cross border derby.

The formidable duo earned lots of praise but Smith stressed all the players played their part in Wrexham picking up a win and a 10th clean sheet of the campaign.

“We know if we keep things tight at the back then we will get chances,” said Smith, pictured right.

“The gaffer told us how crucial set-pieces will be for and against, it is a great ball in by Marcus Kelly and a great header by Shaun.

“We know if we score we have got that resilience about us just to hold on, and we will get a couple more chances at the other end to try and get it to two or three.

“Those chances never came but we defend well as a team.

“I think some of the boys don’t get enough credit for their defensive duties.

“I know me and Shaun get a lot of praise when the goals don’t go in but the boys in front of us put a great shift in as well against Chester and helped protect us. It is a team effort.”

Pearson scored his second goal of the season against the Blues, moving onto the same amount as centre-back partner Smith.

Wrexham are making a habit out of scoring from set-pieces and Smith hopes there are more to come.

“Shaun and I say four goals between us, that is how we are doing it!” said Smith. “It is good that everyone has been chipping in with goals and we look a threat from set-pieces, that is where we have scored most of our goals so long may it continue.

“We know that the boys can put a decent ball in so it is just about losing your marker and getting on the end of things, getting that half a chance that you need.

“That could be the difference between a draw, win and a loss.”

Wrexham’s first win at The Deva in five attempts since Chester reformed came on the day Smith celebrated his 29th birthday and he says three points was the perfect present.

“It was a great birthday,” said Smith. “I tried to keep it a bit under the radar but it was good to go there and get the win.

“I was just focused on the game. We know what the fixture is all about and that we will get a great following.

“It was all about the three points. We never played the best but the main thing was getting the win and bragging rights.”

Victory enabled Wrexham to move joint top, but Dover beat Eastleigh 2-0 on Saturday to retain their three point advantage over the Reds, who also saw the other teams around them in the table pick up wins.

But Smith insists Wrexham, who return to action against Ebbsfleet United at The Racecourse on Saturday, have to remain focused on themselves.

“The good thing about it was we played on the Wednesday, so everyone was still buzzing after beating Chester for a couple of days,” added Smith.

“Watching the results come in on Saturday, everyone near the top won again.

“But we have just got to do what we do and not really concentrate too much on other people, just try and get the result that we need.

“We have got a couple of games at home now so we have just got to keep kicking on.”



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