Oxford United 1Wrexham 0
DEAN Saunders admitted he will make it his number one priority to boost Wrexham’s firepower after a last-gasp strike from the Blue Square Premier’s leading marksman condemned them to a cruel defeat on Saturday.
Although a midweek draw effectively ended their play-off chances, the Dragons did not play like a team with nothing to play for in an entertaining clash.
But their inability to translate their territorial dominance into goals came back to haunt them as, after goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen had to be replaced by centre-back Ashley Westwood between the posts, James Constable netted his 22nd of the season four minutes into injury-time to keep Oxford’s hopes of a top-five finish alive
“First half was quite even but second half I thought we totally dominated and I just thought it was only a matter of time before we scored,” said boss Saunders, whose side have never recovered from the season-ending injury sustained by Marc Williams. “But you’re only as good as your strikers and we’re short in that department. I know exactly what the problem is and I will resolve it.”
How Wrexham could have done with Constable. The on-loan Shrewsbury Town man was the home team’s main threat in the opening period, heading wide and then forcing Nielsen to turn the ball over the bar.
Sam Williamson then twice went close for the visitors, who, showing three changes to the side that were held by Histon, went on to dominate after the restart.
John Curtis played a neat one-two with Ryan Flynn and shot just wide while substitute Obi Anoruo had an effort correctly ruled out for offside before the same player had a penalty shout for handball incorrectly turned down. And the Dragons’ luck took a turn for the worse in the 75th minute when Nielsen broke his thumb leaving captain Westwood, with no back-up keeper on the bench, to take over the gloves.
Wrexham continued to push forward, however, and the tireless Flynn, who edged Andrew Crofts in the man of the match honours, missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock. And they were made to pay when Constable headed in the most dramatic of winners.