Wrexham beat Walsall for first league win of season

wrexham-beat-walsall-for-first-league-win-of-season
Will Boyle (left) celebrates his goal
Centre-back Will Boyle (left) scored his first Wrexham goal on his second start after signing from Huddersfield

Wrexham earned their first League Two win of the season – and a first at this level since 2008 – as they swept past Walsall in a highly entertaining encounter.

Will Boyle’s header and a brilliantly measured lobbed volley by Ollie Palmer put the hosts 2-0 up after 20 minutes, but Chris Hussey hit back for Walsall by finishing a smartly worked short corner.

Walsall’s Ryan Stirk hit the post with a superb long-range shot early in the second half, before Jake Bickerstaff’s neat turn and finish restored Wrexham’s two-goal lead.

The game was played at a relentless pace with chances at both ends, and Elliot Lee all but sealed victory for Wrexham with a well-struck fourth from the edge of the penalty area, meaning Anthony Forde’s own goal was nothing more than a consolation for Walsall.

While Wrexham had beaten Wigan Athletic on penalties here in the Carabao Cup a week earlier, they were still searching for a first league victory of the season having lost and drawn their first two games.

That heightened the sense of expectation at the Stok Racecourse, which was abuzz with another sell-out crowd of more than 10,000, including a vocal travelling contingent from Walsall.

Wrexham responded to the lively atmosphere with a dominant start, bossing possession and pounding the opposition goal from set-pieces.

After Lee and Boyle had headers saved by Owen Evans, Boyle got the better of the Walsall goalkeeper with a looping header to put Wrexham in front after eight minutes.

The second goal was a beauty. Hussey’s clearing header only went as far as Palmer 20 yards from the Walsall goal and, with Evans way off his line, the Wrexham striker lifted a perfectly weighted volley over the keeper’s head and into the net.

Hussey redeemed himself swiftly as, four minutes later, Isaac Hutchinson’s short corner was helped on by Freddie Draper into the path of the Walsall defender, who scored with a sweet first-time finish.

The visitors started the second half as strongly as they finished the first, with Stirk striking the post with a dipping volley before Donervon Daniels’ rebound was saved by Ben Foster.

Despite being put under pressure, Wrexham still posed an attacking threat and they scored their third as Jacob Mendy’s cross from the left was controlled by Bickerstaff, who fired a shot between Evans’ legs.

Much to the delight of the noisy home supporters, Wrexham kept pushing for more goals and, after Billy Waters shot wide after a rapid break, Lee got the goal his busy performance deserved as he found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Forde turned a Walsall cross into his own net to momentarily curb the celebrations, but this night belonged to Wrexham and their fans as they savoured a first victory in the English Football League after 15 years away.

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson:

“I’m very pleased. I thought it was a very good performance. We controlled long periods of the game, our passing was crisp, our movement was good and there was a nice balance about us.

“I felt it was a night when a lot of our key players stood up to the plate. It was important we stood up as a team and got our first league win of the season.

“It was a really good night for us. It was another cracking atmosphere here and the lads thrived on that.”

Line-ups

Wrexham

Formation 5-3-2

  • 12Foster
  • 14Forde
  • 15O’Connell
  • 4Tozer
  • 25Boyle
  • 19Mendy
  • 30Jones
  • 8Young
  • 38LeeSubstituted forO’Connorat 87′minutes
  • 9PalmerBooked at 16minsSubstituted forDalbyat 73′minutes
  • 27BickerstaffSubstituted forWatersat 72′minutes

Substitutes

  • 16Waters
  • 17Hosannah
  • 18Dalby
  • 20Cannon
  • 21Howard
  • 22O’Connor
  • 29Barnett

Walsall

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Evans
  • 19Williams
  • 5Daniels
  • 23HusseySubstituted forOtehat 68′minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 12FoulkesBooked at 53mins
  • 4McEnteeBooked at 35mins
  • 25StirkSubstituted forTierneyat 68′minutes
  • 8Hutchinson
  • 3GordonSubstituted forAllenat 83′minutes
  • 15DraperSubstituted forMattat 68′minutes
  • 39Johnson

Substitutes

  • 7Riley
  • 9Matt
  • 11James-Taylor
  • 20Oteh
  • 21Allen
  • 22Smith
  • 26Tierney

Referee:
Simon Mather

Attendance:
10,118

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Wrexham 4, Walsall 2.

  2. Second Half ends, Wrexham 4, Walsall 2.

  3. Foul by Isaac Hutchinson (Walsall).

  4. Luke Young (Wrexham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Attempt saved. Isaac Hutchinson (Walsall) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ross Tierney.

  6. Joe Foulkes (Walsall) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Foul by Sam Dalby (Wrexham).

  8. Attempt missed. Luke Young (Wrexham) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  9. Attempt blocked. Thomas O’Connor (Wrexham) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  10. Own Goal by Anthony Forde, Wrexham. Wrexham 4, Walsall 2.

  11. James Jones (Wrexham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Foul by Isaac Hutchinson (Walsall).

  13. Substitution, Wrexham. Thomas O’Connor replaces Elliot Lee.

  14. Luke Young (Wrexham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Foul by Danny Johnson (Walsall).

  16. Goal! Wrexham 4, Walsall 1. Elliot Lee (Wrexham) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

  17. Substitution, Walsall. Taylor Allen replaces Liam Gordon.

  18. Aramide Oteh (Walsall) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Foul by Aramide Oteh (Walsall).

  20. Anthony Forde (Wrexham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

You might also like...

P