Jan 4 2011 by Mark Currie, Daily Post
WREXHAM are back in business after the disappointment of their 0-0 draw at Altrincham at the weekend, extending their unbeaten run to eight matches with victory against Bath City at the Racecourse yesterday.
But they were stretched to the limit by the visitors, who had won their previous four away matches to climb the table in impressive fashion, and perhaps as part-timers were always going to struggle with two testing holiday games in the space of 48 hours.
Nevertheless, with a goal in each half the Dragons were good value for their success and notched up another clean sheet in addition to banking a valuable three points.
The Wrexham side showed two changes from the Moss Lane line-up, Curtis Obeng returning from suspension in place of David Brown and Frank Sinclair coming in for the injured Marvin Andrews.
The Dragons were seeking a league double over Bath, having won there 2-0 earlier in the season, but the visitors have been one of the form sides of late, with four wins and a draw from their previous six games.
And City started brightly enough to suggest they were up for a footballing contest, unlike many sides that come merely to put up the shutters at the Racecourse, although they could have been caught out after committing too many men forward for an early corner.
From the clearance, Adrian Cieslewicz found himself in space but, with Jay Harris leading the charge from the Wrexham half, the Polish striker cut inside and went for goal himself with a shot that flew way off target.
City’s build-up play was more measured, but no less effective, and when Sekani Simpson made room for a cross from the right, Lee Phillips cleverly pulled away from marker Mark Creighton, only to steer his looping header over the crossbar.
The cut and thrust continued when Dean Keates set up an inviting chance for midfield partner Jay Harris, but the smallest man on the pitch tried almost too hard to get some power into his header at the cost of failing even to test goalkeeper Carl Pentney.
Harris went closer in the 23rd minute, scavenging on the edge of the penalty area to cut out an attempted clearance and hammer a rising shot over the angle of the goal, and Wrexham finally got their noses in front 11 minutes later, courtesy of that rarest of Racecourse occurrences, a penalty.
It was given when former Wrexham trialist Kaid Mohammed, beaten for pace by Obeng, clumsily brought down the defender from behind and Gareth Taylor stepped up to convert the spot-kick, emulating Andy Mangan’s success against Histon last March – a mere 32 games ago.
The goal boosted the Dragons, who began to take a grip on proceedings, although they were unable to breach the City defence again before the break, Cieslewicz going closest with an effort from 15 yards that once more was well wide.
The visitors had a fresh spring in their step from the resumption, Wrexham looking positively pedestrian by comparison, but the first chance fell to the home side when Keates threaded a superb pass through for the advancing Harris, the midfielder forcing a brave save from the City keeper.
Twice though Bath threatened to find a way through the Dragons defence, Tony Canham evading several challenges before finally being thwarted by Creighton’s timely header, before Mohammed went solo with a run from halfway that eventually saw him take one touch too many that enabled Chris Maxwell to safely gather the ball.
But Wrexham were not off the pace for long and Pentney kept his side in with a shout with a fine 65th minute save from Harris following a superbly-worked interchange between Andy Morrell and Taylor.
A minute later at the other end Maxwell, whose workload thus far had not been too demanding, preserved the Dragons’ lead with a stop to deny Phillips an equaliser.
The keeper made an easier save in holding a volley by City substitute Scott Murray and as the action continued to ebb and flow the visitors enjoyed a slice of luck when an in-swinging corner by Keates – Wrexham’s first of the match – eluded everyone and was not far from creeping inside the far post.
But the goal the home side and their fans were desperate to see came from substitute Mathias Pogba, displaying strength and presence of mind to beat Pentney following an inch-perfect pass from Harris.