Wrexham AFC were eliminated from the Bristol Street Motors Trophy despite goals from Sam Dalby and Jordan Davies, after falling to a 3-2 defeat against Burton Albion in the last 32 of the competition.
With the Red Dragons having faced Yeovil just two days ago, it was no surprise to see Phil Parkinson make changes across the pitch under the lights at the STōK Cae Ras.
The hosts got off to the worst imaginable start, as Burton Albion took the lead in under 30 to gain the advantage in North Wales.
Having taken kick-off, the visitors quickly shifted up the pitch as Deji Oshilaja latched onto Ryan Sweeney’s long-range delivery and rounded Luke McNicholas to give the Brewers an early lead on his right-foot.
Things went from bad to worse for Wrexham, who couldn’t manage the oncoming threat provided by the League One side on the break as Dino Maamria’s side doubled their advantage after three minutes.
It was Mark Helm who scored the Brewers’ second, as the number 17 drifted gracefully across the Wrexham half and shifted the ball quickly before receiving on the edge of the box and firing effortlessly into the bottom right corner past McNicholas.
Parkinson's side quickly responded in their crusade to remain in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, clawing a goal back in the fifth minute to halve the deficit.
Sam Dalby, who scored the third goal in our FA Cup win over Yeovil, picked up from his exploits on Sunday. The striker was full of confidence and produced a finish capable of backing up such a statement, for his second goal in as many games.
Joe Powell made a costly mistake under the pressure of James Jones, heading the ball into the path of Wrexham’s number 18. Dalby shifted the ball onto his left foot, curled the ball from range and produced a stunning strike from range to beat Max Crocombe.
Jones almost managed to draw Wrexham level after 16 minutes, as he intercepted from Crocombe’s sloppy clearance and struck powerfully from distance, but his effort arrived just wide of the post.
Jordan Davies also went close for Wrexham, but his 36th minute left-footed free kick drifted just wide from the edge of the box and Parkinson’s side went into the break behind in North Wales.
Wrexham’s inability to draw level in the first half cost them, as Burton restored their two-goal lead just past the hour mark.
Ryan Sweeney got the all-important touch from a Brewers corner, but replays showed that Liam McAlinden got the final touch which took the ball over the line with 64 minutes played.
Parkinson made one last final roll of the dice, electing for the experience of James McClean, Ollie Palmer and Billy Waters to turnaround Wrexham’s fortunes.
There was a visible shift in tempo within the ground, eventually leading to Jordan Davies dragging a shot wide after 74 minutes.
McAlinden drove well and struck an effort on goal after 92 minutes, with the ball eventually falling for a Wrexham corner.
That corner resulted in a second Wrexham goal of the evening, providing late hope for the home supporters. After the set-piece was taken short, the ball eventually found Jordan Davies, who headed home from close-range.
It wasn’t to be though, as a late onslaught from Wrexham was weathered by the visitors, who held on to secure their place in the last 16 of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.
Wrexham AFC: McNicholas (GK), James, Cleworth, Boyle, McAlinden, J. Jones (McClean 71’), Young (C), J. Davies, McFadzean (Cushion 89’), Dalby (Palmer 71’), Bickerstaff (Waters 71’).
Subs not used: Hall (GK), Tozer, D. Davies.
Burton Albion: Crocombe (GK), Oshilaja (C) (Brayford 77’), Hughes, Sweeney, Powell, Bennett (Stockton 66’), Moon, Walker, Lubala (Gordon 46’), Helm (Harper 34’), Caprice.
Subs not used: Blackman (GK), Kamwa, Carayol.
Match Attendance: 4,963 (213 away).