Step forward Aldershot. A notorious bogey team for the Red Dragons made their return to the Cae Ras for yet another Footballing showdown. This fixture, known recently as Wrexham's hoofball vs their floorball, was always of high interest to all promotion chasing teams in the league. However this time, the tables, have quite literally turned. Wrexham found themselves seven points ahead after just eight league games, a number that they were always going to battle tooth and nail to extend. Aldershot conquered Wrexham four times in the last five matches before today, a feat that Sam Ricketts was keen to deny for a fifth time. When the clock struck 4:50, a sense of relief and jubilation circulated around the Racecourse. Join me as we look at who was top when the play was non-stop.
Robert Lainton (6) - It's always tricky to provide a fair rating for somebody who was a passenger for most of the game. A few nervy moments aside, Robert did not have much in the way of shot stopping to do at all. Rushed on to Aldershot's route one passes assuredly and stood firm to catch Rendell's effort, one that lacked any sufficient power to place the ball past him. Distribution was satisfactory in a performance as slick as his hairstyle.
Kevin Roberts (5) - I am a massive fan of Kevin, he is a natural all-rounder with a decent physical presence for a fullback. Although his recent performances have not granted him any level of justice. Looked out of sorts and was targeted repeatedly by Rendell and his nuisance of a teammate Wanadio. The support Rutherford received when he came on was exactly the kind Roberts should've had today. Handled himself ok in the air but his distribution was poor. I expect him to return to his normal ways soon enough.
Shaun Pearson (8) - Come on. Do I even need to write something on him? It's the same nearly every game. "Brick wall," "beast," "unstoppable." Couldn't be any further from the truth today, he gave Rendell nearly nothing to play with at the back. The only thing i'd mark him down for was the occasional aimless forward ball. Other than that, he marshalled Tharme stupendously. My hero.
Douglas Tharme (7) - I'm calling this now, this kid will be in the Football League at some stage in his career. At 19 years of age he has provided more than competent cover for the injured Manny Smith. I was particularly impressed with his distribution, has an occasion hiccup but makes up for it with some sweet diagonal balls to a wide player. Defensively he coped well, won lots in the air and positioned himself correctly in every situation. Unlucky to go off injured but hopefully it makes him stronger. In 10 years time I expect him to be as good as prime Ferdinand... too far? I say it's too soon to tell!
Mark Carrington (7) - Another 7/10 performance from Captain reliable. For a man who could've easily left after getting rations of first team Football, he deserves many plaudits for his attitude to just get down and assert yourself in the team. Everything that came his way instantly went the other. He stayed close to the touchline all game, a role that would be crucial in pocketing Berkeley-Agyepong.
Akil Wright (7) - "Disappointing performance from myself today" - Akil, don't be so hard on yourself, you really don't know how important you are to the team! The Non-League Patrick Viera/N'Golo Kante was at it again. Intercepting, blocking, winning headers in the middle of the park, running, more running, even more running... The back 4 could have a picnic all match with the protection he offers! Going forward should've been better by him I will say, he was dispossessed and missed some good passing options I thought. Nevertheless, another good performance.
Luke Summerfield (9) MOTM - The literal and personal man of the ninety for today. When he is on form he is so brilliant in the midfield and today, was certainly that. Keen to make up for his error against Bromley, Luke ran the park like Morgan Freeman runs his mouth, classy and full of purpose. Time after time he won the ball top, middle and bottom of the pitch. His transitional play was good too, linking up moves through the centre like any good playmaker should. Fantastic when pressed and even better in tight spaces at laying off the ball to a man in red. More of the same please Luke!
Nicky Deverdics (5) - Was a ghost for the time he was on the pitch. I wished he involved himself more as he is a quality playmaker when he's on form. The times when he had the ball, play was not expanded like it should've been, picking the easy options more often than not. I put it down to a lack of confidence as we all know he can be so, so dangerous in this division. Lost the ball sometimes today too, improvements needed sooner rather than later.
Stuart Beavon (8) - The playing style he holds reflects a lot about his manager. Intelligence and professionalism every week. He covered everywhere on his side of the pitch, using his experience to avoid needless challenges as he so easily could've committed. Immensely pleased for him from his well taken header, finding space at the near post to flick looping a header above Cole and into the back of the net. So far he is proving to be a useful acquisition. For his limited technical and passing ability, his sheer effort he puts into his pressing seriously rivals that of Rutherford's.
Mike Fondop-Talom (6) - On Twitter I am one of the big man's greatest fans but like his game today, my humour is very hit and miss. On one hand he won a fair share of aerial battles and physically caused problems for the defenders. Whereas on the other, his decision making and link-up play was very lacklustre. He had the chance to play Maguire-Drew through to be one on one but wasted the chance. A carbon copy of his performance against Boreham just without the goal under his belt. On thing I've noticed is he tends to jump behind the defender towards their goal when changeling for headers. If that's his method of off putting, it is again, hit and miss.
Jordan Maguire-Drew (7) - As much as I love the man for his ability to skip past defenders, I am starting to realise why he didn't quite cut it in the league above. When he's on the ball he's so skillful and electric, off the ball it's a completely different story. Failed to get into the first half but came into it more in the second. Proven when Cole misjudged a through ball for Maguire-Drew to tap it in underneath him. A game of two halves for the Brighton loanee.
Christian Dibble (N/A)
Luke Young (6) - Livened the game up a bit when he came on I place of Deverdics and looked way more comfortable in his role. He only had half an hour to impact the game and involved himself often. One thing I like about him is that he's never too scared to receive the ball, the perfect member to fit deep lying playmaker role.
Chris Holroyd (N/A)
Paul Rutherford (6) - Thrown on at left-back after Tharme's injury and handled himself well. Ran his socks off in that position for the time he was on. Aldershot tried to exploit their left flank with long balls that were more often than not, dealt with perfectly.
Rekeil Pyke (N/A) - Wasn't really used in open play and came on with just over ten minutes to go. Won a good few headers and linked some passes together but overall wasn't involved enough to deem him a rating.