The Red Dragons have been unable to continue their form of last season following their historic promotion back to League Two following a long 15 year absence from the division
Phil Parkinson was unable to hid his frustrations after Wrexham’s winless start to the League Two season continued with a draw against AFC Wimbledon.
Despite an opening day defeat, the Red Dragons were able to edge an encounter in the EFL Cup against Wigan Athletic on penalties following a 0-0 stalemate in midweek. Buoyed by this first victory of the campaign, they looked to gain all three points for the first time this term as they travelled to South London.
The trip to Plough Lane got off to a flyer for the visitors as Elliot Lee opened the scoring during a cagey encounter and debutant James McClean went close to doubling Wrexham’s lead. When veteran stopper Ben Foster was able to keep out Ali Al-Hamadi’s penalty in the 66th minute, it looked as though it was going to be the Dragons’ day.
However, things finally went awry for the Welsh outfit as they looked to see out the game and earn a valuable win on the road. Eoghan O’Connell was adjudged to have brought Harry Pell down illegally in the box and Wimbledon were handed another spot kick, which James Tilley converted.
Parkinson was exasperated following the drama in the second half as his players surrendered a precious lead. He said: “Oh my goodness me. The first one, in relation to what’s gone in the penalty box and on the pitch all game, to pick that moment out is strange. The second one is unbelievable.
“If there is a nudge, the lad has just fallen to the floor. The referee, at his standard, has to identify that. Eoghan has gone up. If there is a nudge, the lad has fallen to the floor and a referee of his standard has to identify that.”
The 55-year-old also took aim at the surface at Plough Lane, while admitting that the longer grass at the ground was not a sufficient excuse for the performance of the team. He said: “I am very, very disappointed with the performance.
“It is a difficult place to come. They left the grass long, they look to go forward and are an old fashioned team. We have to be able to deal with that. In the main, we did.
“If everyone looks at the decision when the penalties went against us, you can probably make a case for the officials to say it was a penalty. But in terms of what had been going on in both penalty boxes throughout the game, to pick those moments out for the penalties was incredible.”
The Red Dragons have come into the campaign among the favourites to gain promotion from the fourth tier following their National League heroics last term. After a successful tour of the US in the summer, the North Wales outfit seemed primed to vie for glory once more this season.
However, the feel-good factor surrounding the Racecourse Ground club was dampened somewhat by a disappointing opening day defeat versus fellow promotion-hunters MK Dons. After going two goals down within ten goals on the opening day, Parkinson’s men struggled to get a foothold in the game and eventually succumbed to a 5-3 loss.
Of course, with expectations high after a successful season last time out and some promising results stateside – including a 4-0 rout against Manchester United – this represented a humbling home defeat. Former Sunderland boss Parkinson was all too aware of the fact that Wrexham had been brought right back down to earth as he addressed reporters.
Admitting that the defeat was sobering following a last season’s exploits and the team’s heady summer in the US, he asserted: “It wasn’t the day we wanted. Everyone’s talking about ourselves as favourites and sometimes you need a day like this, like a reality check to reassess things.”