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REPORT | Wrexham AFC 3–3 Crewe Alexandra

Red Dragons claim spirited point following Fletcher’s stoppage time strike

30 September 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Wrexham AFC 3–3 Crewe Alexandra

Red Dragons claim spirited point following Fletcher’s stoppage time strike

30 September 2023

Ten-man Wrexham AFC produced an inspired comeback against Crewe Alexandra, with Steven Fletcher’s first Wrexham goal in the 96th minute earning a 3-3 draw.

Phil Parkinson elected to make four changes to the side that fell to a heavy defeat against Stockport County last weekend. 

James Jones and Ollie Palmer were brought into the starting XI – while first league starts were handed to George Evans and Arsenal loanee Arthur Okonkwo. 

The hosts started slowly in North Wales, with the visitors’ intensity making it difficult for Wrexham to gain an early foothold in the match. 

Wrexham were made to rue a slow start to the match, as the Railwaymen broke the deadlock after 24 minutes. 

Mickey Demetriou rose highest at the front post, extending his run to gain momentum and he unleashed a powerful header into the top-right corner from close-range which left Okonkwo beaten. 

It went from bad to worse for Wrexham, as Ryan Barnett was shown a red card in the 36th minute after Lee Swabey adjudged that the full-back had mistimed a challenge on Shilow Tracey and reduced the Red Dragons to ten-men.

Despite the hefty setback, Parkinson’s side found the perfect response just minutes after the sending off. 

The response came through Paul Mullin, who netted his first goal of the season in emphatic fashion to draw Wrexham level on the 40th minute.

Wrexham’s number 10 produced an outstanding overhead kick on his right foot, firing over the Crewe defence and into the bottom-left corner to give the hosts hope despite being a man down. 

Despite Mullin’s goal giving the hosts hope, their optimism was taken away minutes before the interval.  

Swabley pointed to the spot, after deciding that James McClean brought down Rio Adebisi and Chris Long scored from the resulting penalty in the 49th minute to restore the visitors’ lead. 

Parkinson’s side came out with a burning determination to overturn the first-half disappointment and returned level just two minutes into the second half.

Wrexham needed a moment of magic to ignite their second-half comeback, and it was yet again Mullin who came to the rescue to inspire the Red Dragons. 

The forward drove down the right by-line and unleashed an incredible finish which cannoned into the side netting, leaving Harvey Davies no chance to bring his side level with 57 minutes played. 

Just moments later the hosts came within centimetres of taking the lead for the first time in the match.  

With a run that almost replicated the one that Mullin took minutes earlier, James Jones drove towards goal and forced Davies into a fine stop. 

Lee responded quickest for the rebound, but his effort from close range fell agonizingly short of goal and smashed against the post to keep the score level. 

Crewe restored their lead in the 65th minute, as Tracey latched onto Adebisi’s cut-back to fire home into an empty net against the run of play. 

Parkinson’s side threw everything at their pursuit of an equaliser, but time seemingly started to run out for Wrexham. 

With minutes left on the clock, Elliot Lee saw his right-footed effort from the edge of the box deflected just over. 

Substitute Steven Fletcher was alert from the following corner, but his header fell just wide of goal as Wrexham’s hopes of getting something out of the match continued to fade away. 

Six minutes were added on in North Wales, giving Wrexham final hope to try and get a point out of the match. 

Some great play from Evans and Andy Cannon allowed the midfielder to find Mullin, who cut the ball back to Fletcher. The ex-Scotland international produced a moment of quality from his left foot, with a curling effort that struck the post in the 93rd minute.

Just as all seemed lost, a moment of composure from Jacob Mendy provided the perfect delivery into the box, with his right-footed cross finding Fletcher at the back post. 

Having just struck the post, Fletcher was the first to react to the delivery, emphatically heading past Davies to score his first Wrexham goal in the 96th minute to send the home fans into jubilation.  

The Red Dragons held out for the final few moments, as they recorded yet another famous late comeback at the STōK Cae Ras. 

Wrexham AFC: Okonkwo (GK), Hayden, Tozer (C) (Cannon 90’) Boyle, Barnett, Jones (Fletcher 75’), Evans, Lee, McClean (Mendy 75’), Palmer (Dalby 81’), Mullin.

Subs not used: Howard (GK), O’Connor, Cleworth. 

 Crewe Alexandra: Davies (GK), Adebisi, Williams (Cooney 84’), Demetriou, Offord (C), Long (Nevitt 87’), Baker-Richardson, Tracey (Holicek 80’), Tabiner, O’Riordan, Powell. 

Subs not used: Booth (GK), Rowe, Finney, White.  

Attendance: 10,007 (1043 away).

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