“What in the bloody chuff is that?” - Several Wrexham fans looking at a teamsheet that would unknowingly spearhead a true statement of intent for the Dragons. As the clock struck 3 on a miserable April afternoon in 2018, Wrexham were about to endure a 90 minutes full of blood, sweat and tears, lots and lots of tears. This was down to being ruthfully pounded 3-0 by this weekend’s visitors, fuelling Wrexham’s inevitable late season collapse after the dwarf sized tactician Dean Keates’s departure. Five months later, Wrexham returned the favour to Ebbsfleet, finally ending my nightmares of Luke Coulson’s thunderbolt at the Kuflink Stadium. With ode to Holroyd, Beavon, Pyke and Pearson, the Dragons has more than enough mettle to see out Ebbsfleet with a more than comfortable 4-1 victory. Please join me as we explore who lit up the already impressive Racecourse this Saturday.
Robert Lainton (6) - Today was one of those days where I could’ve invited Rob to sit next to me in the stands and we still wouldn’t have conceded in the first 45. When Lainton was called for the occasional ball collection he was very well assured, a real confidence booster for our wall of a defensive line. However what ticked me off was his distribution which was as inaccurate as Robbie Savage’s match predictions.
James Jennings (4) - I feel like a broken record talking negatively about our fullbacks lately, but it really is becoming quite the occurrence. Defensively James was all over the place today, missing some important tackles that nearly cost the Reds during the 2nd half. Offensively I can award him a break as our front three were basically prime Messi, Suarez and Neymar. He can’t keep making these mistakes as Captain Fantastic Mark Carrington will be sniffing down his back all day long.
Shaun Pearson (7) - [Ctrl + C] -> [Crtl + V] - Pearson was solid again. There is literally nothing new I can say about this man! Shaun Pearson could head away all of my life problems he is that good. He even bagged himself a goal today, putting him only 3 behind top scorer Mike Fondop. Now brace yourselves angry Wrexham fans, for I am going to criticise Pearson for something. That something being mistiming tackles more than once today. Hey, if Jennings was criticised for that, then it’s only right Pearson is too.
Jake Lawlor (7) - So far Jake has proven to be a real handful, asserting himself very well next to Pearson at the back. His towering stature at 6’4” allows him to better almost any attacker in Non-League Football. I stand at 6’3” yet it seems like I could break my neck trying to look up to his face. He won everything in the air, looked to play it out from the back, cleared it when appropriate, he is a natural CB of good quality in Non-League.
Kevin Roberts (5) - The second worst player on the pitch today and I’m fearing this is starting to become a trend. Kevin just looked... out of sorts... again. I’ll point out that his close control and special awareness was a vast inprovenet on previous games although that’s it. His defending was average and was notably targeted by Ebbsfleet who used Myles Weston’s pace to their advantage, selling him down that right flank. Positioning was suspect again, I wouldn’t have enough fingers to count how many times he got caught too far up the pitch. I’d have to be a Chester fan, they can count to 12 with their hands.
Bradley Walker (7) - At the end of the game I thought that he performed below par. Upon reflection, I have concluded that his input in the game was secretly impressive. Comparing Walker in the first 30 to the last 70 is like comparing Katie Hopkins to Mila Kunis. Rough and frustrating on one hand, elegant and impressive on the other. His touches are my favourite part of his game, the ability to flick controlled touches anywhere he pleases shows class. His defensive work was very good, clearly he doesn’t plan on becoming a passenger in this team. I think his problem is that he tries to overplay at times meaning we lose the ball often, simple is better... sometimes.
Luke Summerfield (9) MOTM - This man is becoming a fan favourite really really fast. In fact, he’s probably already there. So far Summerfield is player of the year for me for the reason primarily being his range of passing. He always looks to receive the ball deep and play balls beyond legal quality of this level. My brain cell count increases every time I watch him land a 30-40 yard pass like it’s nothing. He works like a warrior too, defensively superb getting in the way of shots alongside making very important tackles. Got an excellent ovation when he went off early due to injury, hopefully he is fit and rearing for the next game... for the sake of my confidence in Wrexham.
Paul Rutherford (7) - One player that proves I would never make it as a Football Manager. Paul has been a revelation at Wrexham for his high intensity work-rate, pace and all around offensive and defensive contributions. Again he was everywhere today, growing into his new place at CM. Even when shifted over to the right in the second half he was fantastic. Another mostly faultless performance, just didn’t get involved enough on the ball to warrant a substantial rating today.
Stuart Beavon (8) - The more offensive version of Paul Rutherford. Again he was everywhere, chasing players, winning tackles, throwing himself into defensive clearances. It makes me ask the question who would win in a bleep year between Beavon and Rutherford, I think we’d get bored as we’d never find a winner. Deservedly got his goal after a delightful flick into the far post beyond Nathan Ashmore. He’s so silky with his movement, making himself available to midfielders anywhere into he park. Did lose the ball occasionally but really there was nothing major to fault him on.
Chris Holroyd (8) - ‘Hotrod’ as we call him was on major flames today. For a man of small stature compared to most centre halves he really does hold his own, holding he ball and moving in and out of channels to stretch, and create space for Pyke and Beavon. “I have the keeper the eyes and placed it bottom corner” were his words after the match, showing confidence that Conor McGregor could only dream of. It was close between him and Summerfield for my MOTM but I eventually concluded that Summefield edged it slightly.
Rekeil Pyke (7) - Fast becoming a cult hero, earning the nickname “Backheel Pyke.” The man has scored 3 goals for the Dragons, all three crafted by deft flicks from the inside of his right boot. Aside from this his overall play was hit and miss I thought. For a tall player he isn’t the strongest, and that is a big issue in the National League is you can’t hold your own. On the ball he was iffy, losing the ball often high up the pitch with options around him. His notable contribution was when he engineered some dangerous attacks in the first half, chasing balls beyond the opponent’s defensive line that were considered lost causes by many fans. Overall, solid today, 10/10 Backheel. Would watch again.
Christian Dibble (N/A)
Akil Wright (6) - Was introduced roughly about an hour into the game. Used his height well to win most aerial duels and contributed to some decent attacking opportunities just outside the Ebbsfleet box. The Vanarama Player of the Month (and the well deserved one) will hope to add more games under his belt very soon.
Luke Young (N/A) - Came on late into the match, a couple of nice touches and moved the ball around quite well in the time he was on.
Mike Fondop (N/A) - Again came in late into the half and produced some quality hold up play to run the clock down.
Jordan Maguire-Drew (N/A)
Can I just mention, I hope that Referee is on a substantial pay check, for he was the most controlled official I have seen at the Racecourse in my life. He wasn’t one sided, he wasn’t giving away fouls left right and centre either. He made it an enjoyable experience and didn’t make many questionable decisions. Top man. Refereeing done right.