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Match Reports

Notts 1-2 Wrexham

Late defeat at the Lane

11 March 2022

James Jones' last-minute goal inflicted defeat in our Buildbase FA Trophy quarter-final against Wrexham.

Seconds after Ed Francis had rattled the crossbar with a sensational strike, the ball ran kindly for Jones to finish as penalties loomed large.

We'd taken the lead in a dominant first half through Connell Rawlinson, only to be pegged back before the break when the ball dropped for Dan Jarvis to lash home just before the interval.

Ian Burchnall was able to name only five out of seven substitutes due to illness and injury in the camp, with Michael Doyle making his first appearance in the matchday squad of the season.

Vit Jaros, Cal Roberts and Ruben Rodrigues also dropped to the bench, with Burchnall returning to a back three system with Adam Chicksen, Alex Lacey and Rawlinson protecting Sam Slocombe, who captained the side from between the sticks.

Joel Taylor and Dion Kelly-Evans were deployed as wing-backs, with Matt Palmer returning to central midfield alongside Ed Francis and Frank Vincent.

Aaron Nemane played off lone strike Kairo Mitchell and we made a bright start to the game, Palmer curling an early effort over before, minutes later, he saw Callum McFadzean slide in to intercept his sliderule pass for Kelly-Evans at the crucial moment.

Mitchell then saw a snapshot saved before the referee waved away appeals for what looked like a blatant penalty as Palmer was brought down as he was about to shoot from eight yards out.

But our frustrations were short-lived as, with 30 minutes on the clock, we scored a goal of the highest quality when two central defenders combined to unlock the door. Chicksen somehow found himself wide on the right and, equally surprisingly, Rawlinson was the man to meet his delightful inswinging cross, guiding his header beyond the stranded keeper.

It had been one-way traffic in our favour throughout the first half but we were hit with a sucker punch just before the break when a right-wing cross struck Chicksen and bounced favourably for Jarvis to smash home inside the area.

A tighter second half was to follow with the visitors creating more opportunities, Taylor throwing himself in front of Reece Hall-Johnson's shot shortly before McAlinden's deflected effort went just wide.

Vincent bent a shot just wide of the post before Rodrigues and Roberts replaced Mitchell and Nemane as the prospect of a penalty shootout grew ever greater.

We emerged as the dominant force as the game entered its final throes, Rawlinson and Vincent both seeing shots blocked after Palmer's corner had caused chaos.

Another penalty appeal was then waved away when Kelly-Evans went down under the challenge of McAlinden after skipping past him in the area.

It so nearly wasn't to matter as, with three minutes left on the clock, Rodrigues picked out Francis from the byline. The former Manchester City midfielder met the ball with the sweetest of first-time strikes but it crashed off the bar.

A minute later, Roberts cut in from the right and saw a shot saved as we continued to ramp up the pressure on the Welshmen's goal.

But, out of nowhere, the visitors were the next to have the ball in the net as Rodrigues' sliding tackle inadvertantly knocked the ball into space which allowed Wrexham to present Jones with a simple finish inside the area to book his side's place in the semi-finals.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Chicksen, Lacey, Rawlinson; Taylor, Kelly-Evans; Francis, Vincent, Palmer; Nemane (Roberts 72'), Mitchell (Rodrigues 65')

UNUSED SUBS: Jaros, Richardson, Doyle

BOOKINGS: Taylor 86'

ATTENDANCE: 3,170 (626)


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