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Vital points go begging again

WREXHAM let slip more precious points in their ongoing battle to stay in the Second Division.

WREXHAM let slip more precious points in their ongoing battle to stay in the Second Division.

They had enough chances to have won against weakened Wycombe but manager Denis Smith is learning to be grateful for small mercies at the Racecourse.

He said: "At least we kept a clean sheet, and are now playing with more consistency and teams are finding it difficult to beat us, but perhaps we just need a break."

The frustrating facts, however, are that this must be seen as two points dropped rather than one won. Wycombe, with five key players out, were there for the taking but Wrexham simply couldn't apply the killer touch where and when it mattered.

Smith's frustration is understandable because Wrexham had four penalty appeals ignored and perhaps just one of those could have made all the difference, but the Dragons still have a lot of work to do to avoid relegation.

Both sides wasted no time in getting to grips and only 19 seconds had ticked by before Andy Morrell tried his luck with a curling shot that sailed just over.

Stephen Thomas then had another effort blocked but there was also an early scare. Keith Ryan nipped in front of man-of-the-match Steve Roberts and his goalbound shot was hooked off the line by Jim Whitley.

Hector Sam then made a determined run in from the right to set up Morrell again but he blazed over. Wrexham kept their foot on the gas and were unlucky not to open the scoring in the 16th minute. Michael Blackwood ran at back-pedalling defenders and his shot was deflected for the first corner of the game.

Darren Ferguson floated over the flag kick and skipper Brian Carey's header was deflected on to the cross bar for another corner by defender Steve Brown. Martin Taylor, Wycombe's ever-present keeper competently claimed the follow-up corner but there were encouraging signs from Wrexham. Sam and Blackwood stretched Wycombe on the flanks and Morrell also saw a lot of the ball.

But there were cries of "Attack, attack" from the crowd as Wrexham too often chose to play the ball backwards rather than forward.

Morrell was again smothered out of a chance as Wrexham's movement created another opening before Sam was fouled just outside the box by Michael Simpson. It was well within Ferguson's range but he scuffed his shot before Wycombe survived a hopeful, rather than valid, penalty appeal after Morrell's shot had been charged down by Jason Cousins's arm.

Sam made another penetrating run in from the right, but Thomas's first touch let him down and Wrexham fans were not happy when another penalty appeal was turned down.

Wayne Phillips powered forward and his intended cross seemed to hit the outstretched arm of Dannie Bulman but again nothing was given.

There were boos as the half-time whistle went but they were out of frustration as much as anything. Wrexham had done enough in the first half to have warranted the lead but many felt they were too often shot-shy when chances came their way.

Ferguson forced Taylor into an early second-half save and Wycombe's keeper then did very well to tip over Phillips's shot from another cross by Sam.

But it just wasn't going to go in for Wrexham and, to make matters worse, they had another penalty appeal ignored as Sam seemed to be tugged down in a goalmouth scramble.

The stalemate continued, although Thomas forced Taylor into another vital save and the impressive Bulman was only just too high with a rasping drive.

Smith used all three substitutes in the second half as Wrexham desperately sought to pull it out of the fire but in the end had to be content with just a point from a game they really should have won.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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