The Red Rover
Bidding farewell with a heavy heart to a loan player has become quite the rare occasion at Wrexham AFC.
I wouldn’t even like to guess how many players we’ve borrowed from other clubs since meekly dropping out of the Football League eleven very, very long years ago. Most of them have been utterly forgettable.
(***takes sharp intake of breath***) Scott Burgess from Bury, Mark Beck from Yeovil, Simon Ainge from Harrogate, Danny O’Brien (nope, me neither) from Wigan, Lincoln’s Jon Nolan, Leicester City’s racist orgy participant James Pearson, baby-faced George Miller from Middlesbrough, Stoke City’s Ollie Shenton, Scott Tancock from the Swans, Mitchell Lund, Gerry McDonagh Freddie ‘do you know who I am?’ (allegedly) Hinds…the non-tree pulling fraternity list goes on and on and on.
- Danny O’Brien was another inspired Gary Mills signing…(Daily Post pic)
We’ve panned out a couple of golden nuggets along the way, some goalkeepers spring to mind whilst a straw poll conducted via our Twitter account put forward Kieron Morris, Scott Quigley as popular loan attackers.
But nobody has really stuck out in a ‘this lad has something about him and can go far’ sense upon conclusion of their time with us.
Well, all that changed with the arrival of Ben Tollitt from Tranmere Rovers in December.
After climbing off the bench six times and netting in the 5–1 Salford slaying the 24-year-old Christmas present from our Wirral neighbours was cut from the squad for the final two games of Graham Barrow’s ill-fated tenure.
Bryan Hughes, no doubt seeing similarities with himself as a cultured midfielder who enjoyed driving at defences with grace, ensured Tollitt was amongst the first names on the teamsheet as the new boss looked to instill an attacking mindset into the team.
Tollitt scored both goals in the win at Boreham Wood and signed off with his fourth and final Reds goal in Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over Maidstone United.
He probably could have had a hat-trick against a woeful Stones side but for the conditions and some hasty decision making.
He is by no means the finished article but Tollitt has plenty of tools in his armoury to make a decent fist of getting back into Micky Mellon’s Rovers squad as they seek a second successive promotion.
Wingers are supposed to excite and Tollitt tries to do what Carlos Edwards was so good at — entice his marker in before breezing past him into space with some nifty footwork and a sharp turn of pace.
His first goal in that Salford game oozed class and confidence — the one-two with Paul Rutherford sent him away- a few stepovers later and the ball had crashed into the roof of the net.
His other three strikes were also crisp finishes. He instinctively knows where the goal is and doesn’t need to home in on it for more than a few seconds in order to know where he is putting the ball.
Tranmere fans hold him in high regard and will welcome him back to Prenton Park with open arms.
One thing is certain, should our paths cross with Tollitt in future he will receive a genuinely warm reception from Wrexham fans.
He gave his all when picked, didn’t moan publicly when he wasn’t, went on record to say how much he loved playing for us and exited the Racecourse Ground door clutching the man-of-the-match award and bottle of bubbly.
I’d say that is a job pretty well done.
(all photographs above and below gratefully used with permission from Alun Roberts AJAR Photography @aluninhope)