Altrincham rode their luck to emerge with their first FA Trophy win since 2004-05 season, a result which takes them to Kingsmeadow to play AFC Wimbledon in the next round. With Matt Doughty suspended, Shaun Densmore moved into the back four and Colin Little and Chris Denham were restored to the starting line-up, as Nicky Clee dropped to the bench as Robbie Lawton started on the left of midfield.
In front of a gate of just 407, Wrexham pressed Alty for much of the first half but again were unable to get past a resolute Alty defence which went on to record its third successive clean sheet. As on Saturday, the visitors' shooting was wayward.
Alty brought on Nicky Clee around the hour mark and his arrival sparked an improvement in Alty's play. From a Clee corner, on the right, Greg Young appeared to be being held down on the goal line but the corner semed to strike him and go into the net, with twenty minutes left. After that Alty had their best spell before Wrexham came at Alty in the closing stages.
REFEREE: Mr Ian Smedley (Derbyshire)
Alty's John McAliskey was cup-tied, along with new signing Adam Carden. Andy Fleming (Wrexham) and Matt Doughty (Altrincham) both picked up their fifth bookings last Saturday so were both suspended. Colin Little and Chris Denham come into the starting line up.
Wrexham made four changes as Marc Williams, Jones, Taboubi and Taylor came into the side.
This was the second of four meetings betwen these clubs in a three-week period and followed a goalless draw at the Racecourse last Saturday.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG, 10. Chris DENHAM, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 4. Tom KEARNEY, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 19. Chris SENIOR, 9. Colin LITTLE. SUBS: 11. Nicky CLEE. 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 18. Michael WELCH, 21. Andrew PEARSON, 20. John BENNETT.
WREXHAM (All white) : 1. Sam Russell, 4. Ashley Westwood (capt), 5. Mansour Assoumani, 14. Nathan Fairhurst, 16. Silvio Spann, 18. Wes Baynes, 22. Lamine Sakho, 7. Mark Jones, 8. Hedi Taboubi, 10. Marc Williams, 11.Neil Taylor. Subs: 24. Matty Wolfenden. 27. Chris Maxwell, 25. Cnristian Smith, 17. Adrian Cieslewicz, 6. Mike Williams.
In front of a disappointing gate, the sides changed ends, with Alty defending the Carole Nash end for the first half. Almost immediately Alty won a freekick some 30 yards out but from Kearney's kick, Williams was ruled offside. Alty's good start continued with an excellent cross from Lawton, unaccustomedly deployed on the left wing, which the keeper fumbled before gathering (5 mins).
Another promising move soon followed, started by James Smith, but Little was unable to control his pass cleanly and was forced wide, where he did win a throw-in on the left side. Wrexham were passing the ball about well but a freekick which went to Stuart Coburn was their best effort at goal top date (12 mins). It then took a fine clearance from Densmore to see off the skilful Sakho but Wrexham were soon back with Jones's cross giving Sakho a free header which was well saved by Coburn (14 mins).
Wrexham now kept pressing forward with Alty hemmed back in their own half. But Jones fired wildly over the bar before Alty relieved the pressure with a corner, won by Denham (20 mins). Sakho then advanced up the middle before a fine block from Smith got the ball away for a corner. Next a Baynes cross gave Marc Williams a header which was well held by Coburn. The same Wrexham player soon had to take time out for treatment to a facial injury before Wrexham resumed the pressure. Kearney earned himself a lecture for a lunge on Taboubi but Wrexham's shooting continued to be wild as Marc Williams fired over the bar from 20 yards (28 mins). Most bizarrely when Marc Williams and Sakho combined, Williams directed a free header back across goal instead of at the target. A fine Young tackle stopped the next attack before a Baynes dive in the fox failed to influence Mr Smedley in his favour. Alty continued to struggle to clear their lines and when Spann advanced up the right, the ball was half cleared to Sakho and the Senegalese forced a fine save from Coburn which gave Wrexham a corner (37 mins).
Anthony Danylyk became the first Alty player to be booked, for a foul on Baynes (39 mins). Next Wrexham keeper Russell found touch from a freekick, prompting comment from TASC Chairman Brian Flynn that "The Crusaders have arrived already", an allusion to Wrexham's recent deal to host the Crusaders' rugby league side at the Racecourse.
Wrexham now won a corner before James Smith broke out of the Alty defence and surged upfield prompting a move then ended when Chris Senior misplaced a pass. Soon, Wrexham were back at Alty again and just before two minutes of added time were announced, the Dragons won another corner. But in those added minutes it was Altrincham who twice went close to taking the lead. Firstly Denham won a corner, following which Taboubi was booked for baulking Kearney in the right corner of the pitch. The Wrexham player was booked and when Kearney took the free kick, low to Little, he unfortunately shot wide (45+3 mins).
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WREXHAM 0|
The first real action of the second half saw Russell punch clear when he could have caught Young's cross as, in the early stages, Altrincham were holding their own better than they had for much of the first half. Wrexham's poor shooting continued when Spann's 35-yarder went well over the bar (51 mins). Wrexham went closer soon after this when Marc Williams struck the upright with a curling shot (54 mins). Then Baynes hit the net support-post behind the goal with another Wrexham effort. At this point Wrexham brought on Cieslewicz for Baynes (57 mins).
A couple of minutes later Nicky Clee came on to provide left-footed presence on the flank with the booked Danylyk being withdrawn (59 mins). Denham soon got in a shot before Senior, Kearney and Clee fed the overlapping Greg Young who had surged upon from left-back. The result was an Alty corner which Kearney hit into the near post netting. But Alty were now playing better than in the previous hour and Young even got up the wing again on another overlap soon after this. In the 69th Minute, Alty won a corner on the right, at the end of a good move, which had ended with Densmore’s cross from the right. From the right-side corner, Clee's ball was met by a combination of Young and a defender who was holding him on the goal line. Somehow the ball bounced off Young and, possibly, the nearby Sakho to give Alty the lead (70 mins).
The goal lifted Alty and they soon won another corner as Clee almost set Senior free. Denham was then held by Marc Williams who was booked for his pains (73 mins). After this Little shot wide before a rustic challenge by Fairhurst on Lawton earned him a booking. When Wrexham got to the other end, Smith again made a fine tackle for Alty but the Welshmen soon won two corners which were both poorly taken. With ten minutes left Marc Williams collided with a hoarding at the Golf Road end and was unable to continue, Wolfenden taking his place. Four minutes later Michael Welch came on for Denham for Altrincham, as Christian Smith replaced Taboubi for the visitors.
Two more Wrexham corners followed, between which Coburn made a fine save with his feet from Wolfenden (89 mins). With Spann announced as the visitors' Man of the Match and Coburn as Alty's, the game went into four added minutes. With the Alty fans prematurely singing "Wembley, Wembley", Wrexham continued to press but despite some five minutes of additional time time, the score remained in Alty's favour. They now meet AFC Wimbledon, away, on January 9th, in Round Two.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 WREXHAM 0|
Compiled by John Laidlar