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REPORT | FC Halifax Town 3–1 Wrexham

Second-half comeback ends unbeaten run

7 April 2023

Wrexham’s club-record unbeaten league run came to an end at the Shay Stadium, in the face of a dominant second-half comeback by hosts FC Halifax Town.

Elliot Lee fired Wrexham in front in the first-half, but Milli Alli scored twice after the break and last season’s play-off nemesis Mani Dieseruvwe sealed victory for the Shaymen late on.

It means an end to Wrexham’s 28-game unbeaten run in the league, with the Red Dragons dropping to second place behind Monday’s opponents, Notts County, on goal difference.

Phil Parkinson named an unchanged match-day squad from the win against Oldham Athletic six days previously, which meant Sam Dalby continuing to partner Paul Mullin up front.

It was Dalby who had Wrexham’s first big opportunity in the fifth minute too, but the big striker could not bring Lee’s deep corner under control at the back post.

With neither side able to get any rhythm in the early stages, both were reduced to just half-chances. Jacob Mendy’s running won a corner for Wrexham, which Sam Johnson claimed ahead of Eoghan O’Connell, before Ben Tozer headed a deep free-kick clear at the other end.

Ryan Barnett ran at the Halifax defence on 27 minutes, and the ball broke loose to James Jones, but the midfielder shot wildly over from 20 yards.

At the other end, Milli Alli pounced on a mix-up between Jones and O’Connell on 29 minutes and drove towards goal, but Ben Foster parried his right-footed shot clear.

Lee put Wrexham in front in the 32nd minute, however, after excellent work by Dalby up front. Dalby beat the defender to a long ball, brought it down and teed up Lee who jinked onto his left foot and buried a low finish into the far corner.

Barnett raced down the right on 39 minutes and pulled the ball across for Mullin, but the striker could not find space for a shot and teed up Jones instead – whose effort was well saved.

Two minutes later, Barnett was free on the right again and his cross went straight through for Mendy, but the winger slipped as he shot and his effort was blocked.

Halifax could have responded just two minutes before half-time, when Mani Dieseruvwe found space to run at the Wrexham defence, but he dragged his right-footed shot wide.

On the stroke of half-time, Wrexham went even closer. First, Dalby did brilliantly to get away from his marker and lay the ball for Jones to let fly from distance, only for Johnson to parry wide. Then, from the resultant Lee corner, Jordan Tunnicliffe’s header clattered the bar.

Alli equalised just two minutes after the restart, however – finding space to run at the defence before finishing low into the far corner.

Moments later, Dieseruvwe ran at the defence and dragged a shot wide as Halifax made the brighter start to the second period.

On 62 minutes, Jones and Dalby linked up well for the former to shoot left-footed, but Johnson parried the ball clear again.

At the other end, Jamie Cooke got free in the area on 64 minutes, but Ben Foster saved brilliantly one-handed.

Alli doubled his tally and fired Halifax in front on 70 minutes, however, turning away from Andy Cannon and beating Foster at the near post on his left foot.

Wrexham responded by bringing Ollie Palmer on for Jordan Tunnicliffe – as had already been planned before the goal.

Cooke nearly stretched Halifax’s lead in the 74th minute, however, finding space at the back post and shooting low, but Foster saved well with his left foot.

Jordan Davies replaced James Jones for the visitors, but Halifax remained on top.

And Dieseruvwe did make it 3-1 in the 84th minute – Alli beat Tozer to a bouncing ball, and left the striker with a simple finish.

Wrexham’s final change was to bring Tom O’Connor on for Andy Cannon, but even with five minutes stoppage time added on, the Red Dragons could not find a way back into the game.

Line-ups:

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Golden, A.Senior, Stott, J.Senior, Gilmour, Hunter, Cooke, Cappello, Alli, Dieseruvwe (Harker 88)

Subs: Arthur, Keane, O’Rourke, Warburton

Wrexham: Foster, Tunnicliffe (Palmer 70), Tozer, O’Connell, Barnett, J.Jones (J.Davies 76), Cannon (O’Connor 85), Mendy, Lee, Mullin, Dalby

Subs: Howard, McFadzean

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Attendance: 7,863

Bookings

Halifax: J.Senior (63, time wasting), Golden (90+1, foul)

Wrexham: Lee (17, foul), O’Connell (52, foul), Tozer (63, foul)


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