I joined just over 3,000 fans at the Racecourse ground for this match, although I am not an official Wrexham fan, I still cheer for the home side like any other, wishing them to do well.
I decided before I left that I would write a match report for this game, little did I know I would happen upon one of the most eventful games I can ever remember, goals galore and almost as much action off the pitch as on it.
I’ll start by apologising for the length of this post, match reports aren’t normally this long but being as this game was so eventful, I felt the whole story needed to be told.
After seven straight wins expectation was high going into the double header against Crawley, but despite arguably being the better side over the two matches the dragons only took 1 point.
That leads us to todays match against Gateshead, the home side make two changes, Marvin Andrews comes in at centre back for Frank Sinclair and the hugely influential Jay Harris returns after suspension to replace Jamie Tolley.
Wrexham (4-3-3) – Maxwell, McMillan, Ashton, Andrews, Creighton, Blackburn, Harris, Keates (C), Morrell, Mangan, Pogba. SUBS – Taylor, Sinclair, Cieslewicz, Tolley, Knight-Percival
Gateshead (4-4-2) – Deasy, Tavernier, Liddle, Curtis, Clark (C), Brittain, Nelthorpe, Turnbull, Gate, Fisher, Shaw. SUBS – Farman, Baxter, Winn, Wake, Gillies
Gateshead kicked off and before Wrexham had even touched the ball it was 1-0, Shaw appeared on the left hand side of the 18 yard box, tried a cross which came back off Andrews and he rifled it inside Maxwell’s near post with only 23 seconds gone. 1-0.
After nine minutes Wrexham have a corner which Keates plays low to the edge of the box but Harris puts it just over.
Wrexham are piling on the pressure now after 11 minutes Mangan coming in from the left wing teases the full back but his shot is deflected behind, from the resulting corner Andrews has a free header which he crashes against the crossbar.
However one minute later Wrexham equalise, a scramble after a corner and Keates slides a ball through to Mangan who in turn squares it to Morrell for an easy finish.
An eventful game is being almost overshadowed by an organised protest over the ownership of the club and ground, read more about that here.
With just 15 minutes on the clock its 2-1 to the away side, Wrexham fail to clear their lines which results in a tap in for Nathan Fisher.
Things go from bad to worse with a Brittain cross being handled in the area by the much maligned Andrews, Brittain stepped up to make it 3-1 to Gateshead.
The dragons had a chance on 21 minutes when Morrell received the ball inside the area, a clever turn but sadly a tame shot which was easily saved.
Wrexham seem to be doing a lot good work but for no return, a good move involving Keates and Blackburn sees the ball end up with Morrell, but his square ball is agonisingly out of the reach of Pogba.
Almost unbelievably after 32 minutes it becomes 4-1, a good run by Gate finds him free in the box and a quick square ball leaves Fisher with the easiest of chances to double his tally for the game.
The game quietens down for a while with chances being scarce before a hopeful cross by Tavernier into Wrexham’s area gets left by all defenders and Nelthorpe runs in unchallenged at the back post to make it 5-1.
As the board comes up saying 3 minutes extra to play Pogba starts a run from well inside his own half and takes a shot from all of 25 yards but just over.
Phil Turnbull tries the same from the opposite side with a little more success forcing a great save from Chris Maxwell, the resulting corner being cleared off the line by McMillan.
At half time it’s Wrexham 1 – 5 Gateshead.
A change of formation by Saunders at half-time as well as two substitutions, Tolley on for Pogba and Sinclair comes on for Blackburn as Wrexham start with a 3-5-2.
Four minutes in and Wrexham have a good chance, Ashton with a long ball into the box, which is knocked down by Morrell for Tolley to half-volley, but it was straight at Deasy in goal.
On 51 minutes Gateshead thought they had their sixth goal when Sinclair turned in a Brittain cross only for it to be given offside as Shaw was running ahead of him.
After an hour the demonstrations against the owners step up a gear, banners being waved with messages against the owners (this comes after an official notice on the Wrexham website banning negative banners) it seems to have been organised but I’m sure the score line wasn’t helping.
This clip doesn’t show it that well but you get the idea..
Wrexham have been far better this half and a chance is created when Sinclair puts a good cross in for Mangan but his header is weak and easily saved.
But just one minute later the fight back is on, a high cross into the area looks to be comfortable for the keeper but he drops it under the pressure of Taylors challenge and Tolley pokes it in to make it 5-2.
However any chance of that fight back is short-lived as Wrexham continue to fall apart, on 72 minutes a free-kick on the touchline is whipped in by Brittain and Shaw has a free header to make it 6-2.
Wrexham’s indiscipline starts to show as two quick yellow cards are issued, Sinclair for dissent and Ashton for a bad challenge on Brittain. The free-kick is played in and finds its way back out to Brittain who places a cross perfectly on the head of Shaw, he is unmarked to complete his hat-trick and make it 7-2.
Wrexham continue to make chances and on 83 minutes Morrell is put clean through by Keates but is stretching for it and Deasy makes a good save.
There are no more goals but as the board goes up to show two minutes of injury time the demonstrations step up another level as around 40-50 fans storm the director’s box to show their dissatisfaction with the owners. The stewards quickly step in and peace is restored.
The final whistle sounds and the game finishes 7-2 to Gateshead, talking to the assembled press nobody can remember Wrexham ever conceding seven at home before so this was a new record.
The protests continued outside the ground for a while after the game and lots of police turned up to make sure nothing got out of hand, it was a peaceful (but very loud) protest and eventually it all calmed down.
Needless to say it was one of the most astonishing games I have ever seen and I am privileged to have witnessed it, even if the result wasn’t what I, nor the 3,000 others at the racecourse wanted to see.
Man of the match: Martin Brittain, 1 goal and 4 assists showing a class above this league.
Marcus J Mitchell.
Here are highlights courtesy of the Wrexham Supporters Trust