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Trundle fires Dragons to vital victory

WREXHAM hitman Lee Trundle struck twice in the final six minutes to give the relegation-threatened Dragons a vital three points against Port Vale last night.

WREXHAM hitman Lee Trundle struck twice in the final six minutes to give the relegation-threatened Dragons a vital three points against Port Vale last night.

The visitors had dominated the opening half but, not for the first time this season, surrendered a lead.

But they hit back strongly in the final quarter of the game to inflict a third successive defeat on the home side and exorcised the memory of a poor home performance against Chesterfield just 72 hours before.

Showing five changes from the side which started against Chesterfield, the Dragons caused all the early problems and went close to going ahead after three minutes.

Good inter-play on the right gave Jeff Whitley the time and space to pick out Steve Thomas who met the ball with a powerful header that was turned away for a corner by a Vale defender.

Minutes later Kevin Sharp advanced down the left flank but his cross gave Craig Faulconbridge too much to do and his header skimmed harmlessly wide of the home goal.

But when 17-year-old debutant Billy Paynter chased a long clearance, Wrexham keeper David Walsh was quickly out to the edge of the penalty area to clear the danger and the visitors built another solid attack which was halted only by Michael Walsh's foul on Lee Trundle.

Midway through the opening period Vale began to find their feet and forced their opponents back where defensive replacements Sharp and debutant Dan Bennett, in for the injured Shaun Holmes and Shaun Pejic were composed and confident.

For all the endeavour though neither side had conjured up a shot worthy of the name in the opening half hour so it was hardly surprising that it took a bad error to give Wrexham the chance to go ahead after 36 minutes.

What should have been a routine clearance for Sagi Burton from Walsh's long kick became a glorious chance for Carlos Edwards when the defender let the ball slip under his foot. And the Trinidad international, making his first start since November, took full advantage to hammer his shot past Mark Goodlad.

And twice within a minute the visitors might have increased their lead. Faulconbridge, playing on the left cut in to force a save from the Vale keeper, who then did even better stretching to his left to push away a thunderous effort from Trundle.

The home side showed more urgency from the re-start and Sharp cleared a Burton shot off the line from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson's corner, one of two the home side forced in a torrid spell for the Wrexham defence.

So it came as no real surprise when Vale equalised after 59 minutes only 60

seconds after Wrexham keeper Walsh made a superb one-handed save to deny Steve McPhee. But the visitors could not clear their lines and when the home side's Walsh hurled in a long throw it was flicked on for McPhee to make sure of the equaliser with his second attempt.

Roared on by their fans the home side continued to press forward and when Bennett allowed McPhee to get the wrong side of him the goalscorer fired just over the bar, before winning another corner with his next charge down the right.

But Wrexham weathered the storm and Trundle raced on to Faulconbridge's flick on to bring another good save from Goodlad. Then a strong run by Sharp presented Wrexham with another opening but Trundle went for the near post instead of pulling it back and the Vale keeper made a comfortable save.

Once again the tide was beginning to turn as Wrexham got the ball down and passed it around and their perseverance paid off with just six minutes to go.

Trundle, always a handful, came up trumps when he twisted and turned in the penalty area to lure Neil Brisco into a rash challenge to win a spot-kick.

He got up to wrap the ball into the corner and within three minutes he had ensured a much-needed victory for the visitors when he headed home a cross from substitute Paul Barrett.

PORT VALE: Goodlad, Carragher, M Walsh, Burton, Brisco, Cummins, McPhee, Bridge-Wilkinson, Burns, Paynter, Durnin (Armstrong 58). Subs: Delaney, McClare, Rowland, Dodd. WREXHAM: D Walsh, Whitley, Sharp, Bennett, Lawrence, Edwards (Barrett 85), Phillips, Ferguson, Thomas (Morrell 75), Faulconbridge, Trundle. Subs: Rogers, Sam, Morgan. REFEREE: Phil Richards. ATTENDANCE: 4,436.


David Holmes
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