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Smith forges new spirit - Sam's the man to prove it

WREXHAM conceded two penalties, had a players sent off, but still recorded an excellent second win under new manager Smith away at Wigan.

Division Two: Wigan Athletic 2 Wrexham 3

WREXHAM'S revival goes on under new manager Denis Smith.

Twice behind, Wrexham conceded two penalties, had a player sent off but still won. Even the undemonstrative Smith did a little jig as Wrexham made it two wins under their new manager.

Smith played an ace card with a shrewd substitution at the start of the second half. He replaced Robin Gibson with Trinidadian international Hector Sam, who was sensational.

Sam's lightning pace and ability to run at defenders caused chaos. Smith said, "I wanted him to run at people, but he gives me heart attacks because even I don't know what he's going to do."

Sam, however, proves more than anyone that there is now a new heart beating in Wrexham. Smith has jacked up his confidence and the whole side's self-belief.

They are working their socks off for one another. Smith's warriors had battered Wigan 5-1 in the LDV Vans Trophy earlier in the week, but they knew it was going to be tough in the Latics' superb stadium.

The Red Dragons were pounded for the entire first half, and cracked 12 minutes before the break. Newcomer Keith Hill was ruled to have pushed Arjan De Zeeuw in the box and referee Paul Danson awarded a penalty which Tony Dinning drove home.

But resilient Wrexham levelled on the stroke of half-time when Hill, who had conceded an own goal in the LDV Cup-tie, headed home to set up an action-packed second half.

The introduction of Sam made a world of difference to Wrexham. He and Lee Trundle linked well to put one on a plate for Martyn Chalk, but he blazed over from inside the six-yard box.

Wrexham kept plugging away, but conceded another penalty and suffered their sixth red card of the season within 60 seconds. Kristian Rogers did brilliantly to keep out Dinning's spot-kick only for ex-Cardiff City striker Simon Haworth to pounce and score from the rebound.

Wrexham then had Shaun Holmes sent off for a second bookable offence and it looked like curtains.

But Sam struck again with a magnificent 20-yarder that brought it all square, and the ebb and flow continued. Dennis Lawrence, who replaced Chalk, then had Rogers to thank for another crucial save after the giant Trinidadian almost tossed it all away with a careless back pass.

Wrexham sent their fans into ecstasy 12 minutes from time when top scorer Craig Faulconbridge swept home the winner after 'keeper Derek Stillie could only beat out Trundle's shot. Rogers made another breathtaking save from Haworth's header, and in stoppage time Wigan had Dinning, just back from suspension, dismissed for a second bookable offence.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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