Wrexham swept back to the top of Vanarama National League football – and now they focus on an Emirates FA Cup tie against Weston-super-Mare.
Goals from Paul Rutherford, whose cross was deflected in, Brad Walker and Rekeil Pyke earned the Dragons a 3-1 home win and manager Sam Ricketts said: “We are delighted to be top of the table. It’s a nice reward for players after the effort they have put in this season.
“For me, though, our performance was the most pleasing thing. We were excellent.
“It really shows what this team can potentially do.
“The performance level was excellent, a massive step in the right direction.
“Right from the start to the end – how we managed it, how we passed it at times, how we composed our structure to be hard to break down from certain situations.
“This was one of our best performances. There were times when we moved the ball as well as we have done this season.
“We are improving as a team and will continue to try and improve all the time and see where that takes us.”
Pyke’s fifth goal of the season sealed the home win against Gateshead.
Rutherford’s cross was turned into Gateshead net by defender Fraser Kerr in the first half before Walker headed in Dragons’ second after the break.
Luke Armstrong pulled one back late on for Gateshead before Pyke’s injury time effort deflected in and the win, combined with Salford’s draw at Eastleigh, put Wrexham back in first place.
Wrexham are now one point clear of Leyton Orient at the top and a further point ahead of third-placed Salford.
Ricketts believes the position is a reflection of the team’s effort in the first 19 games of the season before attention turns back to the FA Cup and the first-round trip to Weston-super-Mare.
“It is important to be top, but it’s not the be all and end all,” said Ricketts. “I’ve just said in the dressing room I’m more concerned about where we are after 46 games not 19.”
Wrexham made three changes to their starting line-up. Fit-again Summerfield returned in midfield, while Chris Holroyd and Rutherford started up front.
Akil Wright and Pyke dropped to the bench.
The Dragons were in front on 18 minutes after brilliant work from Rutherford, who nutmegged his marker and raced to the byline, and Kerr turned his cut-back into his own net.
Summerfield’s 69th minute corner was cleared, but Rutherford crossed back in and Walker his his second Wrexham goal.
Armstrong pulled one back with two minutes remaining, in from close-range, before Pyke sealed victory in the first minute of stoppage time.
Wrexham AFC: (4-3-3): Lainton, Roberts, Lawlor, Pearson, Jennings, Walker (Wright 88), Young, Summerfield, Rutherford, Holroyd (Pyke 71), Beavon (Deverdics 84). Subs not used: Dibble, Fondop
Gateshead: (4-2-3-1): Pears, Tinkler, Williamson, Kerr, Barrow, Hunter (Mellish 46), White, Rigg (Molyneux 58), Olley, Armstrong, Boden. Subs not used: Foden, Thompson, O’Donnell
Referee: Gary Parsons (Hampshire)
Attendance: 4,421 (48 away)
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