Wrexham earn a replay in the FA Cup First Round, after a dominant performance against League One’s Rochdale saw the scores remain 0-0.
Ben Tollitt missed a chance from close range and then found his cannoned effort strike the crossbar early in the first half.
Wrexham came out of the blocks rampant in the second half, but couldn’t find a way past the Rochdale backline.
Akil Wright almost won the game late on, but his shot tested the woodwork once more.
It will feel like a missed opportunity, but the performance against the League One side was excellent and the Reds will have a chance to progress to the Second Round at the Crown Oil Arena in the replay.
The injured James Horsfield made way for Mark Carrington, as Dean Keates stuck to the same side that beat Bromley by one, amazing Luke Young volley.
Rekeil Pyke returned to the Racecourse, as he started for Rochdale, who were without a win in three in League One.
A good FA Cup run could be vital in creating a winning mentality for the Reds, as they sit 21st in the National league and 53 places behind Rochdale in League One.
Rochdale started the match looking to gain some calm possession, whilst Wrexham were implementing their new-found high pressure tactic.
A routine goal kick by Rob Lainton caused mayhem for the Rochdale centre backs just four minutes in. The ball seemed to confuse MJ Williams and Eoghan O’Connell at the back, and put Tollitt through on goal, as he had time to compose himself, but the Wrexham winger scuffed the ball wide from close.
Rochdale also came close in the seventh minute, as Jimmy Keohane was free at the back-post, but his right-footed effort was too tame to trouble Lainton.
Tollitt did what he does best in the 11th, as he drove at the shaky Rochdale backline. It felt like an age before he pulled the trigger, but when he did it thundered against the crossbar and back out of harm's way.
The Wrexham pressure continued over the next ten minutes, as the Dale struggled to play around the Reds’ high-tempo pressing.
Aaron Morley had Wrexham hearts in their mouth, as his free kick in the 21st minute brushed the outside of the netting.
Each time Rochdale tried to amount a consistent phase of attacking play, Wrexham would come straight back at them, not allowing themselves to be dominated.
Just past the half hour mark, Rochdale produced some slick passing on the right wing, with Callum Camps attempting an outside of the foot shot from the edge of the box, but it sailed over the bar.
Rochdale countered quickly off a Wrexham attack in the 39th, which allowed Matt Done to pull off a shot in the box, but luckily for the Reds this was placed perfectly into Lainton’s hands.
It was scrappy in parts, but Wrexham can be pleased with their performance, as the sides went into the dressing rooms with the scores level at 0-0.
Keates made a half-time substitution in order to find an opener, as Mark Harris came on the pitch for Tollitt.
An outstanding flick by Paul Rutherford in the 48th minute found Bobby Grant sitting in the box, but his first time volley was fired wide of the post.
Grant was involved in the drama again, as he seemed to be pushed down in an aggressive manner in the 49th, but referee Trevor Kettle was unmoved. This angered the home fans, as the referee wasn’t letting anything go for the Reds in the centre of the park.
The quick-fire action kept coming as Harris attempted a swinging half-volley in the 50th minute, with his shot teasing the crossbar, but the scores remained level with Wrexham ruing missed chances.
Carrington’s cross in the 52nd found the head of the powerful James Jennings, but his header was too strong and was thumped over the bar.
The Dragons were all over the Dale, as the referee let a handball shout in the box go uncalled. Brian Parry-Murphy decided to therefore bring on Fabio Tavares on for Aaron Morley in the 55th minute.
The resulting corner from the handball shout saw keeper Robert Sánchez struggle under pressure from the Wrexham attack. The second ball in saw Sánchez fumble at the ball and the scene was crying out for a Reds’ head to glance the ball in, but the keeper was given the free-kick and received treatment in the 57th minute.
Rochdale had well and truly woken up after the Wrexham pressure and the FA Cup atmosphere had arisen. The ‘Red Wall’ was remaining strong though.
A well timed Jake Lawlor sliding tackle, allowed Harris to pick up the ball in midfield and have a pop from 30 yards out. The bouncing effort was straight at Sánchez in goal, but could have caused real problems with 70 minutes on the clock.
Captain Shaun Pearson was falling over from a corner in the 72nd minute, but managed to get a dangerous header on goal. Sánchez in turn, produced a ‘camera’ save to keep the ball out.
The Wrexham players had given everything out there and it was showing in the 80th minute, as Rochdale were starting to dictate play.
Luke Young was sat on the edge of the box from a corner once more and the ball fell to him, as Wrexham fans got déjà vu from his stunning goal against Bromley the week prior, but this effort in the 82nd minute was smashed wide.
What did Wrexham have to do to score? Rutherford did well to win the ball back from Ryan McLaughlin and he found Wright in the box. His effort wrong-footed Sánchez and found the centre of the post once more with 86 minutes on the clock.
The score finished 0-0, with Wrexham ruing missed chances to progress to the Second Round of the FA Cup.
The replay is due on Tuesday, 19 November (7.45pm), assuming no more TV commitments and please watch out for further match arrangements.
Wrexham: (4-3-3): Lainton, Jennings, Lawlor, Pearson ©, Carrington, Summerfield, Young, Wright, Rutherford, Grant, Tollitt (Harris 46’).
Subs not used: Dibble, Barnum-Bobb, Redmond, Oswell, Chambers, McIntosh.
Rochdale: (4-2-3-1): Sánchez, Norrington-Davies, O’Connell, Williams, Camps ©, Pyke (McLaughlin 67’), Keohane, Done (Andrew 84’), Ryan, Morley (Tavares 55’), Henderson.
Subs not used: Lynch, Bradley, Hopper, Matheson.
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Wrexham: Jennings (85, foul)
Man of the Match: Mark Carrington