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Match Report


Posted Tue 08 Jan 13 at 00:46 AM

Alfreton Town 1 Wrexham 2

Joe Clarke struck a stunning individual winner to send 10-man Wrexham back to the summit of the Blue Square Bet Premier after a gritty performance.

Neil Ashton’s 16th minute headed opener was cancelleSd out by Ben Tomlinson’s (32) assured finish as the first half ended level. 

Danny Wright saw red after picking up a second yellow card just four minutes into the second half to make Wrexham’s task all the more difficult.

However, with 15 minutes left Clarke ghosted past three players before sliding the ball past Phil Barnes to ensure Wrexham reached the 50 point mark and with it top spot. 

The hosts started brightly and Joslain Mayebi was alert to beat away Paul Clayton’s stinging volley from 20 yards with just over a minute on the clock. 

After 13 minutes Anton Brown appealed for a penalty after going to ground under Danny Alfei’s challenge, however it was a half-hearted plea at best as he tumbled to the ground after minimal contact.

Three minutes later Wrexham took the lead. Joe Clarke’s deep corner to the back post was headed back into the danger area by Danny Wright. Ashton rose about his marker and his header took a slight deflection to loop over Phil Barnes into the net. 

However, the hosts exercised patience and were rewarded with a 32nd minute equaliser.

Jay Harris was booked for hacking down the lively Anton Brown and was made to pay for his indiscretion. 

Josh Law drove his low free-kick into the area and, after Wrexham failed to clear Tomlinson was on hand to smash the ball in from 12 yards. 

Two minutes before the break Wrexham had the ball in the net vika Ogleby’s neat finish, but the striker was rightly flagged offside after taking Wright’s pass in his stride.

Then Alfreton manager Nicky Laws was then sent to the stands by referee Michael Bull for unsporting behaviour. 

The initiative was handed to the hosts just four minutes into the restart. Wright competed with Leigh Franks for the ball in front of the home dug-out. With the bounce of the ball beating them both Wright pushed Franks to the ground and the referee deemed it worthy of a second yellow card.

With Wrexham down to ten then suddenly found themselves stretched and Mayebi came to the rescue with a fine save after Nathan Arnold was afforded plenty of space to run into. 

Wrexham assistant manager Billy Barr was then sent to the stands, presumably for saying something the referee’s assistant took exception to.

Mayebi was equal to long-range efforts from Josh Law and Matty Harriott as Wrexham invited pressure.

Wrexham looked to substitutes Adrian Cieslewicz and Nick Rushton for some inspiration but they almost found it in the form of Harris, whose 35 yard drive lacked dip but not power.

Rushton fired a shot just wide before Wrexham prised open Alfreton’s defence, and in some style.

With nothing on and 40 yards from goal, Clarke strode into space, beat three defenders with wonderful close control and guided his low shot past Barnes for a goal that he will replay in his mind over and over again. Sublime. 

Cieslewicz thought he had made the game safe minutes later but his swerving drive from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by Barnes. 

Harriott tried his luck from distance before Law made a double substitution with just under 10 minutes left. 

One of those changes, Alastair Taylor should have done better with a free header before Mayebi saved at his near post as the hosts piled on the pressure.

However, Wrexham defended resolutely and ground out the sort of win championships are made on. 

Mayebi, Alfei, Riley, Westwood, Ashton; Harris, Hunt (Cieslewicz 55), Clarke, Keates; Ogleby (Rushton 64); Wright.
Subs: Walker, Little, Colbeck. 

Referee: Michael Bull (Essex) 
Attendance: 628 
Away: 153 

Sending Off -
Wrexham: Wright (49, second caution) 

Bookings -
Alfreton: Franks, Meadows, Streete, Tomlinson 
Wrexham: Harris, Wright

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