Basingstoke Town 1 Wrexham 2
THE Dragons moved closer to a dream first trip to the new Wembley after booking their place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night.
An Adam Aimable own goal set Dean Saunders’ side on their way before top-scorer Jefferson Louis doubled the advantage.
Basingstoke reduced the deficit three minutes from time through a fine Sido Jombarti free kick but Wrexham, for whom it was a belated first outing of 2009, held on to seal a third-round showdown at the Blue Square North’s Workington.
Boss Saunders said: “We looked a bit rusty. We’ve been training on Astroturf and it showed. Our passing wasn’t as crisp as normal, nor was some of our movement or speed of thought. But we got the result and that’s the main thing.”
The Dragons, without the rested Marc Williams and captain Ashley Westwood, broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when Aimable got his wires crossed with Ross Kitteridge.
The Blue Square South hosts rallied, but the twice rearranged tie was effectively put beyond their reach 12 minutes after the restart.
Man-of-the-match Andy Fleming set Sam Williamson away and his low centre was spilled by goalkeeper Kitteridge into the path of Louis, who bundled in his 14th goal of the season.
Wrexham’s victory acts as the perfect preparation for tomorrow’s big Blue Square Premier clash at promotion-rivals Torquay United (7.45pm), which has had to be moved back 24 hours after attempts to stage the Basingstoke game on Saturday and then Sunday were hit by the big freeze.
The victory was particularly welcome after the negative publicity caused by right-back Wes Baynes’ shock transfer request and comments made by striker Simon Brown and midfielder Christian Smith on social networking website Facebook.
In an online conversation which riled Dragons supporters, Smith hailed Baynes as “a legend” for telling Saunders he wanted out and Brown taunted Smith by saying he would be “bullied” into signing a new contract.
Brown is set to go out on loan to York City while midfielder Smith has left the club after his short-term deal was not extended.
There was good news, though, when classy midfielder Fleming pen to paper on a new 18-month contract. Defender Mike Williams and his striker brother Marc are set to follow suit.
And Wrexham were given a further boost on Monday when Crawley Town were deducted four points for fielding an unregistered player.
That leaves the West Sussex outfit just one point and one place above the Dragons in sixth having played three times more.
Saunders is continuing to run the rule over a number of trialists, the most high-profile of which is 30-year-old Ghana international defender Christian Gyan, who was a UEFA Cup winner with Feyenoord in 2002.
The loans of midfielders Nathan Woolfe and Nathan Fairhurst run out after tomorrow’s Torquay match, which is being shown live on Setanta Sports.