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Nothing to smile about for Smith

SMILE please was Wrexham manager Denis Smith's request to media men after this 5-1 drubbing at the McAlpine Stadium.

SMILE please was Wrexham manager Denis Smith's request to media men after this 5-1 drubbing at the McAlpine Stadium.

Smith has certainly put a smile on soccer since arriving at the Racecourse. But he was stretching a point after the humiliation at Huddersfield.

Indeed, Smith saw very little to smile about as his and Wrexham's winning streak came to an end.

Wrexham had their lead wiped out by a penalty, awarded by an assistant referee. Smith also lost goalkeeper Kristian Rogers with a groin injury five minutes into the second half before two goals in a minute scuppered his plans to change things.

Smith spent almost 20 years as a Stoke City defender and now faces a test of his grit to keep Wrexham in the Second Division. They are third from bottom and tomorrow night's LDV Vans Trophy, second round, against Huddersfield at the Racecourse pales into insignificance compared with the need for survival points.

Smith knows the psychological importance of next Sunday's all-Wales clash against Cardiff City at the Racecourse, but Wrexham will have to improve on this. Martyn Chalk gave them a 25-minute lead, firing home after Darren Ferguson had rolled the ball to him rather than his usual pot-shot ploy from free-kicks.

But Wrexham's joy was short-lived, three minutes later Willy Miller sent Danny Scofield sprawling, but referee Tony Leake still needed to consult his assistant before awarding it, John Thorrington converted it.

Rogers ended the first half in some pain with a groin injury, but reappeared briefly for the second period. Within minutes, however, he couldn't get down quick enough as Chris Holland's shot zipped past him for 2-1.

Smith signalled Rogers to come off and sent on Wales under-21

'keeper David Walsh.

Smith's plans to change tactics were then hit by a double whammy as boy wonder Leon Knight, on loan from Chelsea, scored two goals in a minute on his home

debut. The first was the one Smith claimed was well offside, but before Wrexham could recover, Knight headed home to make it 4-1 and the Dragons were slain.

Walsh denied Knight a hat-trick with a magnificent save, but Andy Booth steered home a header to make it 5-1 three minutes from time leaving Wrexham - and Smith - to face defeat for the first time in five games.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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