29 March 2024

Wrexham relishing promotion battle – Phil Parkinson

29 March 2024

Phil Parkinson insists Wrexham will keep their feet on the ground following their important 2-0 win in the League Two promotion race against Mansfield but admits the Dragons are relishing the top-of-the-table fight.

Paul Mullin’s brace, including a second-half penalty, ensured victory for Wrexham to go level with the Stags and both sides are just a point behind leaders Stockport, who have a game in hand.

Parkinson praised his players’ determination as he admits his squad are enjoying each game at the business end of the campaign.

He said: “It was a hard-earned win, gritty, determined performance. The out-of-possession work I thought was outstanding.

“We respected Mansfield because of the season they’re having but the way the lads worked, starting with the front two and all through the team, restricted a very good Mansfield team to very little.

“We’re not going to get too high after today. It’s another game chalked off, six to go and a win against one of our rivals, but now it’s about preparation for what will be a terrific game at Doncaster on Tuesday.

“It’s a very competitive division but we knew that at the start. There’s lots of teams who’ve been in the division for a long time and have been building – like Mansfield, who have been building for years to have a season like this – so it’s competitive but we’re enjoying it, the lads are relishing every single game and they take a lot of heart from today.”

Mansfield’s Nigel Clough believes two key second-half refereeing decisions by Lewis Smith decided the game, as Davis Keillor-Dunn’s goal was disallowed for robbing Wrexham goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo and the penalty was awarded for Jordan Bowery’s challenge on Luke Bolton.

He said: “I thought there were two key decisions in the second half that made the difference in the game.

“I can’t see if he’s (Okonkwo) just got the ball in his hands or he’s just dropped it, he’s very close to the edge of the box anyway and you’ve seen them let go, the referees sometimes let those go and you get an equaliser.

“But you’re still in at 1-0. The second one, he’s two yards outside the penalty area, there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever for getting that one wrong.

“A young referee today who has had Premier League experience I believe – maybe he was waiting for VAR, I’m not sure! I wish we’d have had it today, it would have ruled the penalty out and we’re still in the game.

“I thought generally we played well, played some good stuff, didn’t have much of a threat. I thought the front three in the first half didn’t make the most of the situations.”

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