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Own-goal misery for the Dragons

THE Careys of Bristol and Wrexham will have good and not-so-good Christmases.

THE Careys of Bristol and Wrexham will have good and not-so-good Christmases.

Bristol City's Louis Carey can celebrate an indirect winner while Wrexham skipper Brian Carey left Ashton Gate having conceded a dramatic own goal with just 10 minutes left.

Wrexham manager Denis Smith said: "That's the way it goes when you are down at the bottom. But obviously I am disappointed at losing in such a fashion because we came here to do a job and virtually did it."

Wrexham made a confident start but City's ace marksman Tony Thorpe was first to show, cutting in from the left and testing Kristian Rogers with a low drive.

Thorpe, who is transfer listed, also went close minutes later but Rogers got a hand to his snap shot.

But it was meagre fare for a bumper Christmas crowd of almost 12,500 and there was nothing to choose between two ordinary-looking sides for most of the game.

Rogers, who has come under some criticism lately, did particularly well dealing with several crosses but not enough was seen of Wrexham as an attacking force.

Smith, a former City manager, said they needed to come up with what he called a cutting edge, but there was no early sharpness from strikers Lee Trundle and Andy Morrell.

Indeed, they looked positively blunt on the few occasions Wrexham came forward with daggers drawn in the first half.

Trundle steered a header wide and City weren't much better.

Thorpe is always a threat and has to be respected for that, but any neutrals watching would never have guessed that virtually the entire second division separates these two sides.

Trundle turned another weak effort straight at goalkeeper Mike Stowell, who joined City rather than take up Wrexham's offer in the summer.

Stowell had marginally less to do than Rogers in what was a sterile first half.

City were unbelievably downbeat considering what was at stake for them, and manager Danny Wilson surely could not have been happy with his side's lethargy for 45 minutes.

Smith, on the other hand, was just happy his side was still in it at the break.

The onus was on City, being the form team and at home, but Wrexham dragged men back behind the ball to frustrate and negate City, not that they were anything to write home about either.

Surely, the second half could only get better, couldn't it?

City certainly had more go in them and in the opening minutes Rogers had to come and claim the ball after some wishy-washy defending.

Wilson, however, had seen enough and he made a double swap to pressurise Wrexham from midfield. But suddenly Wrexham came to life as well and Martyn Chalk's cross looked inviting for Trundle, although inexplicably he never even went for it.

Wrexham then survived an incredible miss as Smith tried to get a substitute on.

Joe Burnell's cross from the right somehow reached the unmarked Aaron Brown, but with only the keeper to beat he tamely shot at Rogers.

Trinadadian international Hector Sam also forced Stowell into a stunning save after good work by Trundle, and as this game came to the boil at last City's Lee Peacock put a looping cross on top of the bar with Rogers struggling.

Then came that tragic own goal and all Wrexham's Christmas spirit disappeared.

Louis Carey played the ball in from the right and Brian Carey, trying to clear his lines, only managed to deflect the ball beyond Rogers.

Wrexham returned to North Wales believing they had done enough to at least take a point from promotion-hopeful City but, as Smith says, you can't legislate for dramatic and disastrous late goals like the one Wrexham conceded.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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