Macclesfield Town
Posted:Tue 02 Feb 2021

Wrexham survived a late scare when debutant Tyler French was sent off five minutes from the end of their visit to Eastleigh to claim a point which was the least they deserved.

French and Dior Angus were both given debuts a day after their deadline day arrivals, replacing Reece Hall-Johnson and Adi Yussuf as Dean Keates made two changes from the side that won at King's Lynn on Saturday.

At a blustery Silverlake Stadium, the opening exchanges were lacking in threat at either end, although Wrexham were certainly enjoying more possession and spending plenty of time in the opposing half. 

Angus immediately looked sharp, and he had the first meaningful effort of the match when he cut in from the left and hit a shot whch was blocked in the goalmouth.

As the half wore on, Eastleigh started posing a threat from corners, mainly through Andrew Boyce. Unmarked, he met one ten yards out, but his header was blocked in front of Dibble, and he nearly got onto the end of another flag kick, but was beaten to it by a good header by Fiacre Kelleher.

Jordan Davies gave the ball away in his own half but made amends with an excellent recovery run to block Ben House's shot. From the corner Wrexham were indebted to Christian Dibble and Mark Carrington for some heroic last-ditch defending.

Tyrone Barnett made contact with the corner, his header drawing an excellent save low to Dibble's right. However, the ball fell to Boyce, who lunged in from close range to poke the ball home, only to be denied by a fine clearance off the line by Carrington.

Ryan Hill also went close for the hosts, running in from the left flank and hitting a shot from a tight angle which hit the outside of the post, before a dramatic conclusion to the half.

It began when, in the 45th minute, Tomlinson played an excellent 1-2 with Bearwish and ripped in a fine cross which House headed over from close range. He was soon made to rue his miss as within a minute Wrexham took the lead.

Angus looked to have been fouled on the halfway line but the referee gave nothing and Davies pumped a tricky high ball to the edge of the area, where Thomas took the ball superbly on his chest to squeeze between two men before cooly sliding the ball past McDonnell and into the bottom corner.

Wrexham started the scond half positively, and for the first twenty minutes after the break it looked likely that they would increase their lead. A Davies free kick was tipped over the bar by McDonnell. 

The keeper was fortunate to escape unpunished five minutes later when he came for a Luke Young free kick  but was beaten to it by Davies, whose back header went narrowly over the bar.

A good spell of pressure just before the hour saw a number of crosses slung in, with Angus narrowly beaten to one of them, before Davies hit a 25-yarder which went narowly wide of the right post.

However, Wrexham's failure to get a second allowed Eastleigh to stay in the game. Smart began the fightback with a run into the box, his shot being parried by Dibble, before they grabbed a controversial equaliser.

A corner was well saved again by the Wrexham keeper, but when the ball fell in the goalmouth, House was judged to have been fouled, to the fury of the Wrexham players. Joe Tomlinson stepped up to strike the ball confidently inside the right hand post.

The game became increasingly feisty, with the referee reluctant to show cards until, with five minutes left, a confrontation betwen a number of players saw French receive a second yellow.

Wrexham held on comfortably, though, to maintain their unbeaten record at Eastleigh.

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Partington, Bird Boyce, Tomlinson, Smart (Blair 76), Bearwish, Payne, Hill, House, Barnett (Smith 67).
Unused subs: Flitney, Green, Baggie.

Wrexham: Dibble, French, Kelleher, Carrington, Horsfield, Young, Harris, Davies, Reckord, Thomas, Angus (Ponticelli 79).
Unused subs: Hall-Johnson, Rutherford, Durrell, Jarvis.

Referee: Sunny Gill

Bookings - 
Eastleigh: Bearwish (52, foul), Boyce (54, foul), Tomlinson (86, UGC)
Wrexham: Horsfield (57, foul), French (65, foul), Ponticelli (83, foul).

Sending Off - 
Wrexham: French (2nd yellow - 86 UGC)

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