This was a much better performance against a much better team than last week’s efforts, although it still had that “nothing at stake, end of season” feel about it.
Money did make changes, going with a line up of:
Ince, Bedeau, Westwood, Gerrard, Fox, Wright, Dobson, Keates, Demontagnac, Benjamin, Butler.
The bench had Bossu, Wrack, Deeney, Smith and Pead on it. Harper’s absence was unexplained, but Cooper’s was, in that some of his lackluster performances for us might have, as a cause, the fact he has now been forced to return to Cardiff for a knee operation.
Let’s get one thing straight. Wrexham were a neat, well drilled team, but their problems were probably explained by the fact they were relatively punchless. Virtually all of the chances that came along, came to the men in red, although there were precious few of those in the first half.
Butler was the first to show, breaking through, but then just failing to get to the ball before the ‘keeper. He then received a superb 30 yard pass from Benjamin ??!!!, to set up Keates, who screwed the shot well wide.
Demontagnac, playing well, if not with the same impact as the previous week, then won a corner, which was taken by Mark Wright and, in one of his few positive contributions of the half, he placed it right on Gerrard’s head, who put the ball just wide, when he should, probably, have done better. The last real action of the half saw Benjamin out muscle a defender, only to fire high.
The news soon circulated at half time that Hartlepool were trailing and the Saddlers came out with much more positive intent. Money had switched Bedeau to right wing and Wright to full back at half time, in a move no one could quite understand, but was done, presumably, to try and give us more threat down the right. Bedeau had done OK defensively, but hadn’t got forward at all and Wright had been missing in action for 45 minutes. Whatever his reasons, he changed his mind quickly, however, as, after 5 minutes, he took Bedeau off for Pead, who went to full back.
Demontagnac then made another excellent run and found Butler. He slipped in Mark Wright, whose powerful drive went just over the bar. That seemed to be the catalyst Wright needed, as he suddenly started to play with a little more confidence.
Not that long afterwards, he was put through down the right, cut inside and produced a piledriver of a strike, which the ‘keeper could only parry and Ishmel Demontagnac was there to smash the ball back across goal into the roof of the net. He then unfortunately, got himself booked for celebrating with the crowd.
From that moment on, the Saddlers settled down and the result seemed in little doubt, despite all of Wrexham’s efforts. Demontagnac and a by now settled and confident Wright were buzzing, Dobson and Keates had the centre midfield sewn up and Dobbo even found time to produce a couple of sumptious passes for Butler and Wright which almost lead to goals.
The Wrexham right back, who will be having nightmares about a red shirt with a number 20 on it, then viciously scythed down Ishmel from behind, without any sign of the deserved card and the flash of temper (understandable for once) from the youngster made Money decide to replace him with Wrack. Benjamin was replaced by Sam at around the same time, to a round of appreciative applause from the Wrexham fans, who, obviously, remember him with affection..
Sam then found time to put a header from a Dean Keates header narrowly wide and then, after being set up by Mark Wright, miss a one on one chance to score yet again against his old club. Mark Wright also had a chance as he broke into the area, but got a horrible bobble as he was about to put the ball across.
Apart from that, the game petered out, with Chris Westwood looking superb at the back (easily my man of the match) and Dobson and Keates in complete control.
Hartlepool and Swindon lost – job done.