Wrexham 0 Eastwood Town 0
WREXHAM clung on to their unbeaten record under new manager Dean Saunders after Saturday’s FA Cup stalemate against part-timers Eastwood Town.
The UniBond Premier League Nottinghamshire side went close to embarrassing the Dragons.
But Wrexham had goalkeeper Gavin Ward to thank for a second chance to progress to the first round proper.
The blustery conditions affected Wrexham’s game plan, but, Eastwood’s spirit could, and should, have been broken by first-half opportunities presented to Shaun Whalley and Michael Proctor.
Eastwood couldn’t have complained had they been 2-0 down after less than 15 minutes.
However, the Dragons ran out of ideas and Eastwood, whose back four had appeared vulnerable in the opening period, became ever more comfortable. They knuckled down to pose their own threat from an 18th-minute corner.
The Wrexham keeper came for, and missed, Ross Gardner’s kick, but redeemed himself when he managed to block a goalbound effort from Lindon Meikle.
Minutes later Ward had to make a double save from Ian Holmes after his defence failed to deal with Alistair Asher’s penetrating free kick, a scare that earned the visitors the respect of an ill-at-ease Wrexham.
Eastwood’s main threat continued to come from set pieces and Andy Todd had an effort blocked from Richard Dunning’s free kick.
With the manager’s half-time pep talk still ringing in their ears, Wrexham made a better start to the second period and Whalley did manage to hit the back of the Eastwood net, only to be ruled offside before Baynes forced a fine save from the keeper.
But it wasn’t long before proceedings settled into the same old routine, the home side huffing and puffing against opponents content to eat up time and make the occasional foray upfield.
When they did, however, it was with purpose and while Ward needed to make another smart save from Gardner after 72 minutes, his opposite number was barely troubled and made light work of the increasingly desperate efforts that came his way.
As such it would’ve been harsh in the extreme had Eastwood been robbed of their replay.