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Bristol City 1, Wrexham 0

WREXHAM captain Brian Carey's own goal heaped on the agony for the outof-luck Red Dragons at Ashton Gate on Saturday as Bristol City recorded a sixth straight win to strengthen their claim for an automatic promotion spot.

WREXHAM captain Brian Carey's own goal heaped on the agony for the out-of-luck Red Dragons at Ashton Gate on Saturday as Bristol City recorded a sixth straight win to strengthen their claim for an automatic promotion spot.

The Robins have now enjoyed the benefit of four own goals in the last five outings - one of which was conceded by Wrexham's Steve Roberts at the Racecourse a fortnight ago - as if to prove the old adage that successful sides make their own luck.

Until Carey's inadvertent touch 10 minutes from the end, the home side had struggled with little success to break down a determined Wrexham rearguard and the visitors had created the better second-half chances. But the goals seem to have dried up for the Dragons, who have now gone three matches without scoring, which must be a matter of some concern for manager Denis Smith.

Carey emerged from the dressing room to take responsibility for the winner, which was created by his City namesake and fellow skipper, Louis Carey when he drove a low centre into the Wrexham penalty area. "It was one of those things, the cross came in quickly and the ball ended up going in the back of the net," he said. "But you have to take it on the chin. With the position we are in, it's very unfortunate that something like that happens but we'll just have to keep going."

The goal came within a minute of substitute Marvin Browen being thrown into the fray in place of Aaron Brown and Carey added: "From their point of view it was a good substitution because Brown made the run to the near post. He dragged me in there and I just tried to get a block on the ball. But we can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves and I thought we did quite well.

"I'm too old to let it worry me. Of course I'm disappointed, but that's it and there's nothing we can do about it now. We had a game plan going and it worked really well because we frustrated them and I thought, particularly after the first half that if anyone was going to score it would be us.

"We stuck at it in the second-half but they made a few changes, brought on a couple of more experienced players and, from their point of view, it worked out."

The Wrexham skipper said it was pointless to dwell on the result but instead looked to build on an encouraging performance. "They didn't create that many chances and Kristian Rogers didn't have a lot to do so there were a lot of positives from our point of view. I know we can't keep saying that because time is running out for us but we need to keep it going.

"For us, all of our remaining games are big ones. If we had got something today and were to win on Wednesday that would have put us right back in there."

More frustrating than anything for Carey and his team-mates was the knowledge that for long spells of the game, they had matched their high-flying opponents, despite a nervous start.

Twice in the opening 10 minutes, City striker Tony Thorpe was through on goal but Rogers did well on both occasions to give Wrexham the solid opening they wanted. The visitors kept plenty of men behind the ball as City probed down both flanks and relied on the counter, looking to hit Hector Sam or Andy Morrell when there was a chance to break. The Trinidad international's pace was an obvious advantage but he was twice superbly stopped in his tracks by the solid tackling of Matt Hill.

And possibly the best chance of the opening period fell to Wrexham when Kevin Sharp picked out Lee Trundle, who steered a header wide after 32 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Morrell got to the dead-ball line before pulling the ball back to his fellow striker, but Mike Stowell in the home goal made a comfortable save.

As they had in the opening stages, City made a concerted effort after the break and Lee Peacock caused momentary panic in the Dragons' penalty area when he got past Carey but Rogers finally claimed the ball following a scramble. Thorpe then delivered an inviting centre to the far post where Brown squandered a gift, heading downwards but directing the ball the wrong side of the upright.

But Wrexham, too, were showing the more adventurous side of their game, Steve Thomas cracking a long-range shot just over the bar before Martyn Chalk delivered a curling cross, the quality of which caught Trundle flat-footed and unable to apply the finishing touch.

And the striker, desperate to end a blank spell stretching back two months, was guilty of incredible selfishness after 63 minutes when he disposseed Danny Coles on the left. Ignoring the unmarked Sam running towards the penalty spot, he tried to beat Stowell from an acute angle but the 'keeper saved.

Trundle then did his best to make amends within a minute, picking out Sam, whose fierce shot was superbly turned away by the former Wolves man, who had turned down a move to the Racecourse at the beginning of the season.

It was a good spell for the visitors, whose play made a nonsense of the perceived gap in class between the two sides, although they survived another scare when Peacock's attempted cross bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Trundle put another effort on target, which was not difficult for Stowell, as both teams dug into their reserves and it was the cruellest of luck when City finally broke the deadlock, much to the relief of the majority of a bumper Ashton Gate crowd.

Wrexham did their best to salvage a point but desperation characterised a shot from substitute Michael Blackwood before the industrious Thomas had a freekick opportunity to equalise. Stowell, though, a commanding presence at the back, made the save look easier than it was to extend City's impressive run of results.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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