Wrexham hold on to frustrate Rovers
A patient Wrexham side executed their game plan perfectly to inflict a rare defeat on Forest Green Rovers at the Racecourse Ground, writes Richard Joyce.
Although FGR were dominant throughout, Wrexham saw a surprising first half lead give them a huge advantage, as Darren Carter’s early penalty miss denied Forest Green the chance to secure an early lead.
And despite the midfielders second half header, FGR couldn’t break down a robust North Wales side whose on loan goalkeeper Luke Coddington played his part in helping them to victory as Gerry McDonagh netted in stoppage time.
Having controlled possession against a side happy to sit back and soak up pressure from the start, Rovers were handed the ideal opportunity to score early on with a penalty on eight minutes.
Coddington’s diving save denied Carter though from 12 yards, and it lifted the home support, who took the lead on 15 minutes when a rare foray forward saw Shaun Harrad glance a good header past Sam Russell.
Huddersfield loanee Coddington made a fantastic reaction save midway through the half to keep his side ahead when Liam Noble’s shot flew low towards his goal.
And the hosts doubled their advantage on the half hour mark as McDonagh had the simple task of finishing from close range after FGR failed to clear the ball inside the six-yard box.
Wrexham’s game plan had worked excellently up to the break, but with a new system first introduced towards the end of the opening 45 minutes, Mark Cooper’s men kept up the pressure into the second period.
Debutant Manny Monthe saw his header from a corner shortly after coming on go wide, and after Charlie Clough had nodded off target, Carter got a deserved goal back.
He found the net with a header from close range after Monthe’s aerial effort himself had flashed across the face of goal.
The final quarter of an hour promised a huge 15 minutes for FGR. Carter saw a shot slip wide, while Coddington made another tremendous stop to stretch and keep out Matt Tubbs’ effort towards the bottom corner.
Carter came within inches of scoring with another header from Keanu Marsh-Brown’s corner, as McDonagh almost added to the home team’s tally with a right footed shot that was blasted off target.
Another Coddington save prevented Ethan Pinnock from levelling the affair in Forest Green’s final chance in stoppage time.
But there was to be still one more goal – and it went to the hosts. With FGR bodies stranded high up the pitch, Wrexham broke clear, and McDonagh kept his cool brilliantly to round Russell and fire into an empty net.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images