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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 23 Apr 13 at 21:49 PM

Wrexham 2 Kidderminster Harriers 1

Neil Ashton’s 85th minute penalty gave Wrexham a slender advantage ahead of Sunday’s second leg at Aggborough after an absorbing clash at the Racecourse.

The defender made no mistake from 12 yards for his first goal since the 3-1 home win over Gainsborough Trinity in February, which was the first of another two-legged semi final affair that eventually resulted in a first Wembley final appearance.

Trinity were no pushovers in the second leg of that FA Trophy fixture and Harriers are certain to come out all guns blazing too as they again showed why they finished as runners-up to league champions Mansfield Town.

David Artell (45+1) headed Wrexham ahead in front of a partisan home crowd before Michael Gash (56) levelled from the penalty spot.

However, Ashton had the last word for the hosts late on to give Wrexham a genuine chance of returning to the home of English football on May 5.

Player-manager Andy Morrell made wholesale changes to the starting XI that took part in Mansfield’s title coronation on Saturday, nine in total with Johnny Hunt and Artell the sole survivors.

And Artell, who was given the green light to play after an appeal to overturn his harsh red card at Mansfield was successful, was presented with a great chance after just seven minutes.

Hunt’s corner arced into the box and the no-nonsense centre-half directed a free header over the bar.

Reds stopper Chris Maxwell was quickly off his line to get in the way of Anthony Malbon’s shot after Wrexham’s defence was caught by a ball over the top.

Both sides dispensed with the nerves and the game opened up. Lewis beat away Morrell’s daisy-cutter from 18 yards before deafening cries of handball by a Harriers player were waved away by referee Charles Breakspear.

Hunt then lashed an effort wide as Wrexham puffed out their chests on a much-improved playing surface.

Lewis gathered Brett Ormerod’s snap-shot from 15 yards as Wrexham continued to create the better chances.

And in the first of two minutes stoppage time at the end of the half Wrexham made their superiority count.

Ormerod’s inviting cross to the far post was just asking to be attacked and Artell timed his run to perfection before heading past Lewis from close range.

Ormerod almost provided another telling assist just two minutes into the restart. He charged down Mickey Demetriou’s attempted clearance just inside the Harriers half and raced into the box unchallenged. His cut-back ricocheted off Morrell’s leg with the aid of a defender’s touch and the ball zipped agonisingly over the bar.

Keates then missed a golden chance to make it 2-0 when he failed to get anything on the ball from six yards after Jay Harris’s wayward drive fell to him.

That miss proved to be costly as the Carpetmen drew level two minutes later. Martin Riley went through the back of Malbon with a reckless tackle and referee Breakspear pointed to the spot.

Gash drove his shot down the middle as Maxwell dived to his left.

That spurned Harriers into action and they soon settled into a composed, confident passing game that disrupted Wrexham.

Maxwell scampered across his line to grasp Danny Jackman’s shot as Wrexham looked anxious in the face of intense Harriers pressure.

However, with five minutes to go Wrexham were awarded a penalty of their own after Josh Gowling, solid in defence all evening, left his foot in on Ormerod after the striker was about to pounce on substitute Dele Adebola’s header to the back post.

Ashton stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the net with Lewis nowhere.

Wrexham saw out the remainder of the game and now have another 90 minutes to successfully navigate if another mass exodus is to head to London for the second time in as many months.

Wrexham:
 Maxwell; Ashton, Artell, Riley, S Wright; Clarke, Harris, Keates; Hunt, Ormerod, Morrell (Adebola. 73). 

Subs: Coughlin (GK), Cieslewicz, Little, Clowes. 

Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 6,315 
Away: 547 

Bookings -
Wrexham: Artell, Hunt, Riley 
Kidderminster: Vincent, Storer

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