Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 02 Apr 2021

Wrexham suffered a frustrating defeat as Mark Ellis scored from a late corner in a game which saw Jordan Ponticelli and Theo Vassell go off injured.

Dean Keates made one enforced change from the side which beat Bromley last Saturday, with the injured Kwame Thomas making way for Ponticelli, while County boss Ian Burchnall responded to Wrexham's excellent recent form by changing his formation to match the visitors' formation.

Wrexham got off to a terrifically fast start, and inside the first minute Ponticelli immediately did a passable impersonation of Thomas, winning a header to send Dior Angus in on goal, only to be denied a goal by the outstretched foot of Slocombe.

Remarkably, within 20 seconds Slocombe was called into action again, when Jay Harris faked to shoot from distance before squaring for Luke Young, whose 25-yard shot was held by the keeper.

Wrexham maintained their attacking tempo, with Angus and Ponticelli linking up well to put a dangerous ball into the goalmouth, which was scrambled clear. The threat wasn't over though, as Jordan Davies lashed a shot back in which Slocombe fumbled, the ball falling to Angus who, from a tight angle, narrowly missed the target.

The pressure continued, as Young's free kick into the box was headed towards his own goal by Adam Chicksen, forcing Slocombe to make a superb one-handed save as he changed direction to dive to his right. Ponticelli was inches away from a tap-in from the rebound, and the clearance was hit aganst Vassell before it was cleared as far as Davies, who struck a 25-yarder which flew past the right post.

After 16 minutes, County survived another close shave as Angus and Ponticelli combined well again, teeing up Young, whose 20-yad shot scraped the right post with Slcombe beaten for once.

County slowly started to regain their equilibrium, with a neat move ending in Barnett slashing a shot well over from 15 yards, and Jay Harris making a remarkable header off the line after Connor Rawlinson's diving header from a Barnett corner looked goalbound and Kyle Wootton bore down on the ball to make sure. Enzio Boldwijn was booked for claiming Harris had handled the ball, but replays suggested that, although his arm was raised, it was his head which made contact with the ball.

Wexham then suffered a hammer blow when Ponticelli, who had been clattered into in the penalty area 7 minutes earlier, had to succumb to his injury, with Elliott Durrell replacing him. The change left Angus isolated up front, and Wrexham struggled to take the game to The Magpies as they had earlier, although they were furious when Durrell won the ball on the half way line to set up a 2-on-1 break which was halted by the referee so Ellis could receive treatment as he'd landed awkwardly on his ankle.

After Thomas and Ponticelli's misfortune, Wrexham fans were chewing their nails as a succession of players went down injured. Rob Lainton hurt his hand making an excellent punch from a free kick, Reece Hall-Johnson needed extended treatment after landing awkwardly after a header, and the half ended with Kyle Wootton receiving a booking after leavng Tyler French writhing in pain from a late challenge.

The second half picked up where the first period had ended. County were nearly given a chance when Hall-Johnson underhit a backpass, but Lainton did well to beat Jim O'Brien to it.

Wrexham responded by going desperately close, when a good spell of pressure ended with a fine Harris ball to the edge of the area picking out Durrell, who turned and hit a curling shot which was deflected narrowly wide of the bottom right corner.

Hall-Johnson then burst into the box and went down as Chicksen cut across him, but the referee ruled the wing back to have dived and gave him a yellow card. Within moments Wrexham were upset when Wootton did not receive a yellow as he left his foot in on Young, having already been booked in the first half.

Cal Roberts came on for Notts County and immediately made a decisive impact. Wthin a minute of coming on the pitch he linked with Knight to hit a shot which was deflected wide, and the corner brought about the breakthrough as Rawlinson's header was tapped in by Ellis.Wrexham complaints that Rawlinson climbed on Vassell to hed the ball down fell on deaf ears.

Roberts also went close with a free kick, and Knight had a hopeful shout for a penalty as Lainton came out to a long ball and collided with him, but it was Wrexham looking to make the late running, throwing Dan Jarvis on as they pushed for an equaliser.

A third change was made when Fiacre Kelleher was thrown on with two minutes left, to allow Shaun Pearson to go up front, but within a minute both sides were forced to reshuffle when Theo Vassell was caught in the face by Wootton's arm. It was immediately clear that the challenge had drawn blood, and Vassell had to be stretchered off while Wootton received a second yellow card to also head down the tunnel.

With the game reduced to ten against ten, Wrexham pushed hard for an equaliser. Jarvis worked a nice 1-2 in the box but his shot was blocked, and a Reckord cross fell to Hall-Johnson, whose 15-yard shot whistled just over the bar.

The game ended with Tyler French standing up a diagonal into the box and Kelleher having a shout for a penalty as Boldewijn collided with him from behind, but it was not to be the visitors' day.

Notts County: Slocombe, Ellis, Rawlinson, Chicksen, Barnett, Reeves, O'Brien (Roberts 78'), Griffiths, Boldewijm, Knowles (Knight 68'), Wootton.
Subs: Kelly-Evans, Miller, Rodrigues.

Wrexham: Lainton, French, Pearson, Vassell, Hall-Johnson, Harris (Jarvis 82'), Young, Davies (Kelleher 88'), Reckord, Angus, Ponticelli (Durrell 28').
Subs: Dibble, Carrington.

Referee: Steven Copeland (Merseyside)

Red Card -
Notts County: Wootton (90, second yellow - foul)

Yellow Cards-
Notts County: Boldewijn (25', dissent), Wootton (45+4', foul), Barnett (54', foul), Rawlinson (69', foul)
Wrexham: Hall-Johnson (73', simulation)


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