THE Dragons succumbed to a fourth straight 1-0 Blue Square Premier defeat on Tuesday night to extend their goal drought to beyond 450 minutes of football in another frustrating display.
Dean Saunders’ side at least created more half-chances than they did in Saturday’s limp loss at Kettering Town, but for the most part they were once again let down by a lack of quality and composure in the final third of the field.
Michael Proctor, a half-time replacement for Obi Anoruo, had the clearest opportunity to break the deadlock for Wrexham when he superbly controlled Sam Williamson’s firmly struck pass. The substitute was quickly closed down, however, by Lance Cronin who spread himself well to save.
And Proctor’s profligacy was punished seconds later when Ebbsfleet, who won February’s FA Trophy quarter-final between the teams, netted the 65th-minute winner.
And what a winner it was too as Mark Ricketts let fly from 25 yards to beat Chris Maxwell with a shot that ricocheted into the net off the underside of the bar.
The impressive Darran Kempson, one of six changes to the side that went down to Kettering, nearly equalised four minutes later when Cronin clawed away his powerful header, but Fleet held out comfortably thereafter to leave Dragons boss Saunders to reflect on another game without a goal or a point.
He said: “I’ve just said to the players that this is the lowest level you will get paid full-time to play football and you’ve got to produce.
“The players have taken one punch after another so I can understand when the goal went in why they were thinking ‘here we go again’, because I was thinking that too.
“It’s incredible how it’s going for us and I’m going to have to do something about it in the summer because I can’t keep going on like this.”
Wrexham, who can finish no higher than 10th, complete their campaign on Sunday at home to relegation- threatened Weymouth (4pm), who need to win at home to York City tomorrow night and then replicate that result at the Racecourse to stand any chance of staying up.
Saunders, having already had an at-length meeting with directors Paul Retout and Ian Roberts, will soon sit down with owner Geoff Moss to discuss his budget for next season. The £150,000 Football League parachute payment, awarded to clubs in their first season following relegation from League Two, will not be available to the Dragons.
Saunders also wants the club to operate a reserve team in 2009-10.