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York City 1, Wrexham 1

WREXHAM squandered a bucketful of chances to end their run of six games without a victory at Bootham Crescent last night.

WREXHAM squandered a bucketful of chances to end their run of six games without a victory at Bootham Crescent last night.

In an exciting, nail-biting clash that was packed with incident, the visitors created the better openings and controlled the match for long spells but could not hold on to a first-half goal from Steve Roberts.

Having vowed to make changes after Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Lincoln City, Dragons boss Denis Smith left out defender Dan Bennett and striker Lee Jones, banking instead on the experienced Brian Carey and the explosive power of Lee Trundle to end a disappointing sequence of results.

And the former League of Wales man was in the thick of the action within two minutes, latching on to a blocked effort from Andy Morrell to thump a fierce first-time effort over the bar.

His enthusiasm set the tenor for an end-to-end opening 45 minutes during which the only surprise was that it produced merely one goal, such were the openings that both teams created on an amazingly good surface, considering the amount of rain the pitch had soaked up during the day.

Darren Ferguson, as ever the most inventive player on view, threaded through a fine ball after six minutes for Trundle, whose curling shot struck the base of the post. But Wrexham had to wait just three minutes longer for the lead their enterprising start deserved.

When Scott Jones fouled Trundle on the edge of the penalty area, the situation seemed tailor-made for Ferguson, but he back-heeled the ball into the path of Roberts who thundered home a fine shot from 20 yards to notch up his second goal in eight days.

The young central-defender, though, lasted only six more minutes before limping off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, Bennett taking his place.

Whether it was a coincidence or not, the change at the back seemed to encourage the home side and Paul Whitfield, who had been a spectator for the opening exchanges, made a fine save from John Parkin when he charged through the middle.

But the visitors should have extended their advantage after 19 minutes as Ferguson met Morrell's pull-back, only to drive the ball inches wide of the far post with Alan Fettis well beaten.

Referee Mark Clattenburg then signalled he was unable to continue and his place was taken by the fourth official, Martin Robinson, from Darlington, as York continued to fight their way back into contention.

Whitfield twice came to the rescue with two fine saves to deny Cook on both occasions, although he should have been beaten when Carey's weak back-header was pounced upon by Peter Duffield, who somehow failed to even hit the target from less than six yards.

Five minutes into the second period, the home goalkeeper made a superb full-length save from Trundle, who had taken Morrell's header on to his chest before hitting a volley from the edge of the penalty box.

Wrexham were looking positive again, Trundle returning the compliment to his striking partner, who headed narrowly wide, and the visitors were taking no chances at the back, hoofing the ball downfield at the merest threat of danger.

And it was from one such clearance, following a City corner, that Morrell found himself in space, although he failed to spot Trundle in support early enough and Edmondson was able to deflect his cross over the bar.

York, though, refused to buckle and the introduction of Lee Nogan, on for Craig Wilding, saw them moving forward with renewed vigour and the Dragons were forced to concede a number of corners as they dug in.

The home side were nearly caught out after 71 minutes when Trundle sprung the offside trap with a first-time pass to Morrell, but Fettis raced to the edge of the area and managed to claw away his attempted chip.

And Wrexham paid for the succession of missed opportunities after 75 minutes when their dogged defence was finally breached. Cook delivered a deep corner from the right and Duffield was at the far post to stab the ball home for an equaliser that had been on the cards.

Both sides threw on fresh legs in a bid to take the three points and there were near-misses in both goalmouths, but in the end a draw was probably the fairest result.

YORK CITY: Fettis; Edmondson, Parkin, Brass, Bullock (Yalcin 83), Duffield, Potter, Wood, Wilding (Nogan 64), Jones (Smith 48), Cook. Subs: Mathie, Howarth.

WREXHAM: Whitfield: Pejic, Roberts (Bennett 15) Carey; C Edwards, Barrett, Ferguson, Whitley, Holmes; Trundle, Morrell (Sam 83). Subs: Rogers, Thomas. P Edwards.

BOOKINGS: York's Parkin; Wrexham's Morrell.

REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (Chester-le-Street).

ATT: 2,970.


David Holmes
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