Login Register

Wrexham 1, Tranmere Rovers 1

OF all the people on the park it had to fall to - it had to fall to him.

OF all the people on the park it had to fall to - it had to fall to him. Tranmere striker Stuart Barlow seems to have a vendetta against Wrexham and while nine times out of 10 anyone who swung a foot at John Achterberg's long clearance would have found the outside of the ground - he could only find the net.

Sub Barlow's fourth goal of the season against the Red Dragon cancelled out Lee Trundle's strike just seven minutes earlier and put a stumbling block on Wrexham's bid to stay up.

But it could have been all so different if the Welsh side had taken their chances in this committed local derby.

Michael Blackwood's header hit the post within the first few minutes from Shaun Holmes fine cross and it was a sign of things to come.

With the wind at their backs in the first half Wrexham were much the better side with the midfield trio of Darren Ferguson, Waynne Phillips and Stephen Thomas running the show.

Hector Sam was also active and he was involved in a move that carved open the Rovers defence. His pass eventually found Ferguson who strode through the backline and saw his crisp shot brilliantly dealt with by Achterberg.

Craig Faulconbridge then appeared to be impeded in the box by Graham Allen, and Wrexham manager Denis Smith said later: 'It the most blatant penalty I have seen in my career.' Unfortunately referee Chris Foy didn't agree.

With the keeper Tranmere's busiest man, the Dutch stopper again earned his money with another smart save, this time to deny the excellent Phillips.

Despite all Wrexham's endeavour Tranmere should have been in front 20 seconds into the second half when Jason Koumas was put clean through by Nick Henry.

Marius Rovde saved smartly to deny the Wrexham-born midfielder first effort before Koumas uncharacteristically smashed over the rebound.

For all the good approach play the Red Dragons needed more of a goal threat and so Trundle was brought on to replace Blackwood. Just minutes later he followed up Faulconbridge's shot to bury home his fifth goal of the season.

Phillips had a chance to seal the game with a header, but Tranmere were looking dangerous from the long balls and Smith said after: 'When we got in the lead I couldn't see a problem except from the goalies big kicks.'

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and when the keeper's big clearance found Barlow, both Dennis Lawrence and Marius Rovde left it for each other.

The post-match pint was spent arguing over whose fault it was; but the generally the fans and Smith thought the keeper should have claimed the ball before Barlow volleyed it home.

And in some frantic closing minutes, Martyn Chalk still had time to miss an absolute sitter from Carlos Edwards deep cross, volleying wide just a few yards out.

'Of course I'm disappointed,' said Smith. 'It was a game we should have won. In the last two matches we've played really well and got two draws.

'It would have been better to have lost one and won the other.'


Wrexham: Rovde 6; Whitley 7, Lawrence 7, Pejic 7, Holmes 7; Thomas 7 (Chalk 83), Ferguson 7; Phillips 8; Blackwood 6 (Trundle 71); Faulconbridge 6; Sam 6 (Edwards 58, 6).

Subs not used: Walsh, Bennett.

Tranmere: Achterberg; Yates, Allen, Hill, Roberts; Mellon (Parkinson 80), Henry, Navarro; Koumas; Price (Barlow 70), Rideout.

Mail's Man of the Match: Waynne Phillips.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Attendance: 5,702.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details