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Super Sam's spot-on goal

A LAST- MINUTE penalty from Hector Sam gave Wrexham their first win in seven matches and only their third success on their travels this season against Peterborough at London Road on Saturday.

A LAST- MINUTE penalty from Hector Sam gave Wrexham their first win in seven matches and only their third success on their travels this season against Peterborough at London Road on Saturday.

For once, Lady Luck, conspicuous by her absence in recent weeks, showered the Red Dragons with favours against a side who more than played their part in a thoroughly entertaining game, despite a punishing schedule of nine matches in 23 days.

To be fair to the normally ebullient United boss Barry Fry, he made no excuses for what was a third home defeat in the space of seven days and admitted that the result had consigned his side to another season of second division football.

"I didn't think we played well today, in fact it was very poor at times," he said. "For 15 minutes, we played some great football and we had a couple of excellent opportunities."

The Peterborough manager had no complaints about the late, late penalty, awarded against substitute Howard Forinton.

"The referee said it was hand-ball and I must admit from where I was it looked as though he was right," added Fry.

"He stroked the penalty home and that was us disappointed again. From having a point, we were left with nothing, just like it was against Stoke on Tuesday night. We can forget about any talk of getting in the play-offs now because it isn't going to happen."

Although his Racecourse counterpart, Denis Smith, confessed to some sympathy for the home side, he was more than happy that the boot was on the other foot for a change, having seen his side concede late equalisers in each of their last two matches.

But by keeping faith in an enterprising 4-3-3 formation, he and his players certainly earned what fortune came their way and Sam's confidently-struck spot-kick - his second of the week - was no more than the Trinidad international deserved for a sparkling display on a bog of a pitch.

Every time he had the ball, his pace and skill terrified the United defence and his performance was an example to team-mate Michael Blackwood, who patrolled the opposite flank.

Blessed with similar ability, the former Aston Villa trainee rarely seems able to match Sam's recent level of consistency but he demonstrated his undoubted potential with a stunning goal 15 seconds after the restart, only his second of the season.

Afterwards, the 21-year old winger said: "At half-time the gaffer told me to be more positive and get forward more and I've scored my best goal in a Wrexham shirt.

"When they scored to make it 2-2, I thought 'here we go again' but we had a bit of luck for once and we needed it. Without a doubt we were desperate for a win today after the last few games and everyone is absolutely delighted."

Without the suspended central defensive pair of Steve Roberts and Brian Carey, Smith promoted 21-year-old Shaun Pejic for only his second league outing to partner Dennis Lawrence and, with new goalkeeper, Marius Rovde, displaying more nerves than in his debut at Bury, the portents were not good, even though the visitors took their by now customary lead after 14 minutes.

By then the Norwegian import had already been busy, with a flying save from Jimmy Bullard before he dropped Tom Williams' cross to present David Farrell with a chance he blasted high.

But Darren Ferguson's first corner of the game brought success, Craig Faulconbridge heading goalwards for Lawrence, who was standing on the line, to stab the ball into the net.

Sure as night follows day, though, the home side were back on terms within two minutes when Bullard delivered a corner to the far post for Cowan to steer a header through a ruck of bodies into the opposite corner.

Both sides demonstrated a willingness to get forward, exemplified by a double save in the Wrexham penalty area followed, almost immediately, by a similar occurrence at the other end.

Andy Clarke carved out the first chance, only to be foiled by Rovde, and when the United striker had another go, Wayne Phillips was there to hook the ball away. Wrexham countered and Sam was denied by Tyler's fine save, the 'keeper recovering to save his second bite of the cherry.

More nervous defending by the visitors gave Farrell a clear shot on goal on the half-hour but he snatched at the chance and drove it wide before Wrexham, with Ferguson using the ball effectively and accurately, calmed things down.

The second half could not have started better for the Dragons with Faulconbridge and Steve Thomas combining to find Blackwood, who skipped past a defender before drilling an unstoppable effort beyond Tyler to restore Wrexham's lead.

Fry quickly made two changes and substitute Forinton's first touch was a fierce shot which went into the sidenetting; minutes later he skated past Shaun Holmes to deliver a low cross, which screwed off Lawrence's foot and just beyond a post.

The Dragons were now relying on counter-attacks and Tyler did well to stop another shot from Blackwood, profiting from another wonderful through ball from Ferguson.

But Wrexham were found wanting at the back after 70 minutes when Forinton again caused havoc on the right before laying the ball square to Francis Green, who thumped home the equaliser from 20 yards.

The home side should then have gone on to win the game but Phillips did well to block Clarke's effort before Green headed wide from a Bullard corner. With three minutes left, Marc Joseph picked out Edwards, whose header struck the post and Clarke somehow steered the rebound wide from three yards.

It was a reprieve for the visitors and they took full advantage. Substitute Paul Barrett, keeping possession to run down the clock, won a corner on the right. And when Ferguson swung the ball in, Lawrence caused the confusion which brought Forinton's offence and gave Sam the opportunity to seal a much-needed victory.

PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Tyler; Joseph, Rea, Edwards, Cown (Green 54); Farrell, Williams, Bullard, Forsyth (Danielsson 62); Fenn (Forinton 54), Clarke. Subs: Oldfield, Connor.

WREXHAM: Rovde; Phillips, Lawrence, Pejic, Holmes; Chalk (Barrett, 75) Ferguson, Thomas (Moody, 90); Sam, Faulconbridge, Blackwood (Morrell, 82); Subs: Rogers, Evans. BOOKINGS: Peterborough's Green and Wrexham's Phillips, Ferguson and Blackwood. REFEREE: Joe Ross (London). ATT: 4,675...SUPL:


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