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Crewe boss Lee Bell fuming as James McClean avoids seeing red in Wrexham’s win

20 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Wrexham’s James McClean following the Sky Bet League Two match at the Mornflake Stadium, Crewe. Credit: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire

Crewe boss Lee Bell was livid that James McClean was allowed to stay on the pitch after the winger’s part in a first-half dust-up in Wrexham’s 3-0 win.

Bell accused the officials of failing to take action against the Irishman, who reacted angrily after a late challenge by Aaron Rowe which ended with Red Dragons goalscorer Ollie Palmer acting as peacemaker.

Referee Seb Stockbridge handed out yellow cards to both McClean and Rowe, but after the break pulled out a red to send off Alex defender Ryan Cooney, which killed off any hopes Crewe had of a fightback after they had fallen behind to first-half efforts from Palmer and Paul Mullin.

“I’m bitterly disappointed to lose at home again as we had looked much better and with a lot more energy,” Bell said. “It was a very even game but then there was a flash-point in the first half which was absolutely ridiculous and I’m quite kind to referees.

“I know James (McClean) but he should have been sent off – but Wrexham aren’t bothered and the referees aren’t bothered.

“When I got sent-off recently I was told that I wasn’t being aggressive, but when you start putting fingers in mouth and putting your head towards people you should be sent off.”

Crewe have lost their last three home games 3-0 and may still need a point from their final-day trip to Colchester to guarantee a play-off berth.

Wrexham, meanwhile, were chalking up a sixth success in the last seven games.

Palmer glanced home Mullin’s cross for the first in the 24th minute. The frontman reciprocated when he flicked on Tom O’Connor’s free-kick and Mullin lifted the ball over goalkeeper Max Stryjek in first-half stoppage time.

Cooney was given a straight red card in the 54th minute for a handling offence which prevented Mullin from running in on goal.

Andy Cannon drilled in Wrexham’s third in the 61st minute. Further goals could have followed with both substitutes Jack Marriott and Steven Fletcher going close, while Crewe sub Charlie Finney was close to heading in a consolation at the far post.

Bell added: “We will take the defeat but at 1-0 down Wrexham should have been down to 10 men. Straight from what went on with that we conceded and that made it a really difficult task against a really good team.

“But we’ll go to Colchester and myself and the players will meet the challenge head-on and make sure we don’t come off the pitch with any regrets.”

Phil Parkinson emphasised the importance of the size of Wrexham’s squad as club captain Luke Young returned to play a key part in the victory.

“Luke came in and was outstanding and that has been our strength, that the group of lads out of the side have been so important to us when they have played,” said the Wrexham boss.

“The last nine away games have seen us take 17 points, so we have been excellent on our travels which I am pleased about. Also for the integrity of the division it was important we performed as there will be teams looking at this game today needing us to come and play well.

“Our mentality has got stronger and we have been very good.

“After their lad got sent off – I was expecting a yellow card – we then went 3-0 up and it was just about controlling the game after that.

“We are happy with the promotion and if we get second then that will be great, but it’s more about finishing the season and getting to the summer and regrouping.

“There are some decisions to be made then and that will be about us sitting down as staff and making the right ones.”

Watch: Wrexham ease to victory against 10-man Crewe

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