Wrexham found a late equaliser through Bobby Grant’s penalty to cancel out Harry Beautyman’s hooked effort, in the televised National League game against Sutton United.
Beautyman’s goal in the second half almost capped off a perfect away performance for the Londoners, after a lack-lustre show from Wrexham.
Shaun Pearson’s fight and desire forced a hand-ball from Craig Eastmond on the goal line, causing absolute chaos, as Eastmond was sent off and the referee awarding a penalty, which was effortlessly tucked away by Grant.
Bryan Hughes made ten, fresh changes for this league game; reintroducing the first team eleven into the side, after the youthful heroics against Ayr United in the Tunnok’s Wafer Caramel Challenge Cup.
Mark Harris returned to the starting line-up, after scoring on international duty in the Wales U21 game against Germany.
Hughes reunited the side with the four at the back formation, after trialling three centre-backs in the previous cup game.
Grant was the first player to provide some action in the game, as his thunderous effort fizzed wide of the post from the edge of the box in the fifth minute.
After a flat start to the game, Luke Young whipped in a poor corner, but it deflected to Ben Tollitt on the edge of the box. His effort was dangerously deflected by Michael Chambers, but the ball trickled wide.
A minute later in the 13th, ‘The U’s’ threatened for the first time in the game. David Ajiboye went on a powerful, skillful run making the Wrexham players look ordinary. However, Christian Dibble was on hand to produce a flying save to his right to keep the scores level.
The Wrexham players are obviously not scared of scoring ‘Goal of the Week’ contenders, as Grant attempted a Wayne Rooney-esk overhead kick, but he made no connection with the ball. Luke Summerfield skied his volley on the follow-up in the 16th minute.
Sutton’s corner in the 22nd minute produced absolute chaos. The first header was cleared off the line by our captain Shaun Pearson. His clearance fell right to Sutton’s captain Jamie Collins who fired his shot against the crossbar. Somehow, the ball ended up nestling on the roof of the net.
Wrexham were finally producing some clever link-up play in the Sutton box, and Grant’s second long range effort was pushed wide by Jamie Butler, narrowly escaping the path of Akil Wright 25 minutes in.
Young’s free kick from 25 yards lacked the power to beat Butler in goal, after Young managed to dip and curve the ball over the yellow wall 28 minutes in.
The Red Dragons were lifting the fans off their seats at this stage of the game, but lacked that crucial final-ball to break the deadlock.
Both sides were gifting the ball away, struggling to keep a hold of possession. The teams went into the changing rooms at half-time, after an uneventful 15 minutes of football.
Mark Carrington managed to play Grant through in the box, but his cross from the angle was expertly defended by the Sutton defence, just a few minutes after the restart.
Hughes’ half-time team-talk was proving to have worked, as the Reds were on a mission, playing some aggressive, high-tempo football.
The London side started to counter the new-found Wrexham aggression with their own, but nothing came of their pressure.
After seeing no support, Harris decided to take on the Sutton defence alone and after a driving run, shot from the slight angle was well-saved by Butler.
Hughes could see that a change needed to be made and so brought on Devonte Redmond and Jason Oswell for Wright and Tollitt in the 58th.
On the hour mark, Pearson’s looping header was tipped over by Butler to keep the scores level.
Young was booked a minute later for a mistimed challenge on Johnathan Barden.
Sutton took the lead in the 64th minute, as Harry Beautyman hooked the ball into the top corner off a cross.
Play was eventually stopped in the 68th minute, as Young won a must-win 50-50 challenge against Craig Eastmond, who spent a minute rolling on the floor looking for play to be stopped.
Pearson was showing off his attributes as a captain, as he was trying to drag Wrexham back into the game, but his header off a Young corner landed on the top off the net in the 69th.
Summerfield’s clever dribbling on the edge of the Sutton box, led to him curling the ball just wide of the post. Wrexham were starting to build chances with twenty minutes left on the clock.
The experienced Paul Rutherford entered the field in the 80th minute for Summerfield, in an attempt to find an equaliser in a somewhat lackadaisical performance.
Wrexham’s pressure brought about a penalty and a red card in one instance, as Pearson’s header was saved off the line by the outfield player Eastmond in the 86th minute. The referee was strong in his decision, as the number 15 was sent off for stopping a goal with his hand. It had taken a few chances, but Pearson had dragged Wrexham back into the match.
Grant took the ball immediately and buried it to the keeper’s left to level the scores.
Wrexham had three minutes to find a winner.
The crowd were offering everything in an attempt to spur the Reds on for a winner, but they couldn’t quite muster a winner, as the game ends 1-1.
Wrexham: (4-2-3-1): Dibble (GK), Jennings, Pearson ©, Chambers, Carrington, Summerfield (Rutherford 80’), Young, Wright (Redmond 58’), Tollitt (Oswell 58’), Harris, Grant
Subs not used: Szczepaniak (GK), Rutherford, Barton
Sutton United: (4-5-1): Butler (GK), Barden, Goodliffe (Matsuzaka 90+5’), Collins ©, Bolarinwa, Davis (Wyatt 76’), Beautyman, Eastmond, Ajiboye, Milsom, Jarvis (Bugiel 87’)
Subs not used: Dudzinski (GK), Bugiel, Wright
Referee: Simon Mather
Wrexham Bookings: Young 61’ (Foul)
Sutton United Bookings: Red Card - Eastmond 86’ (Handball preventing potential goal), Butler 86’ (Off the ball incident), Bolarinwa 86’ (Off the ball incident), Ajiboye 89’ (Off the ball incident)