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Robins show Seasiders life's no bowl of Cherries

WREXHAM'S last-gasp victory dragged Bournemouth down with them into the Third Division next season.

WREXHAM'S last-gasp victory dragged Bournemouth down with them into the Third Division next season.

But the Cherries, who took the lead, were always hoping against hope because Notts County won at home to Huddersfield Town.

Even so, the anguish for Bournemouth, who also had a player sent off, was there for everyone to see at the final whistle.

Some of their players slumped to the ground as Wrexham milked generous applause, considering this has been a relegation season at the Racecourse.

Manager Denis Smith said: "They scored with their only shot on target in the first half and then we looked as though we were not going to be able to break them down.

"Andy Morrell then scored a very good goal, but the chance he had before they scored was even better."

Smith now intends sorting out contracts as from tomorrow and he revealed that new players would be coming.

But there's a long road ahead back to the Second Division and it was also a long trek home for almost 15000 Bournemouth fans.

Cherries' keeper Gareth Stewart saved a certain goal after only two minutes.

Wrexham sliced them apart and when Darren Ferguson played in Morrell it seemed he must score only for Stewart to fling himself full length to beat away his shot.

Bournemouth's travelling army were in full voice five minutes later as they took a shock lead.

Derek Holmes hoisted the ball into the box where James Hayter's header set it up for Carl Fletcher who coolly stroke the ball beyond Kristian Rogers. Bournemouth fans, banked behind Stewart's goal exploded but then Wrexham came so close to an equaliser five minutes later.

Ferguson's flighted corner kick was won by Shaun Pejic - voted Wrexham's young player of the year - but his header struck Stewart's right hand post and was scrambled away for another corner.

Young Pejic held his head in disappointment as the woodwork denied him what would have been his first senior goal for the club.

Wrexham strived to open up the Cherries who had to defend desperately for a while, but then the Red Dragons lost striker Lee Jones.

He has been struggling with a thigh strain and had to quit midway through the first half to be replaced by Lee Trundle, back after a two-match ban.

Rogers then fumbled the ball for a corner that Hayter and Brian Stock worked to Neil Young but he drove wide.

Wade Elliott, who was always busy for the visitors, made an enterprising run that ended with Rogers booting clear before a poor clearance by Stewart gave Trundle the sniff of a chance but he was crowded out.

The busy Elliott then made another good run giving Stock a chance but he smashed a shot wildly over.

Wrexham were still struggling to find any real rhythm but they ought to have equalised on the stroke of half time. Morrell's neat turn gave him room to slot the ball through for Sean Holmes to race on to but the Northern Ireland international dragged his shot wide.

The Dragons occasionally looked dangerous at set pieces, with Ferguson posing most of the threats of an equaliser but there were times when it looked as if that would never come.

Deliberate hands by goal scorer Fletcher gave Wrexham a chance from a free kick just outside the box but Paul Barrett's mis-hit shot was funnelled away for a corner.

Trundle, as ever, toiled on relentlessly but Wrexham were clearly struggling before Smith made a double substitution, Steve Thomas for Waynne Phillips and Carlos Edwards for Holmes that allowed the switch to a 4-formation in a bold bid enliven Wrexham.

It worked in as much as Edwards set up the equaliser 18 minutes from time from Morrell whose clinical finish was quite superb.

That goal not only revived Wrexham but also gives Morrell the chance of a contract for next season.

Trundle then had another effort blocked before Fletcher was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.

But there was still time for Stewart to make fine saves from Trundle and Pejic as Wrexham poured forward.

Stewart also made a magnificent save from Trundle but the ball bounced kindly for Edwards to snap up the rebound and grab the winner in the last minute.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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