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Match Report


Posted Sat 05 Jul 14 at 05:23 AM

Wrexham 0

United 0

TORQUAY United remedied a poor recent run of league results on the road to earn a well-deserved point at Wrexham in the Vanarama Conference.

The Gulls enjoyed the majority of chances in a strong first-half display but Wrexham were the better side after the break, and, in the end, a draw was the fairest result.

United boss Chris Hargreaves made three changes from the side that won 2-0 at Hemel Hempstead in the FA Trophy last weekend. New signing Aaron Dawson made his debut at right-back, allowing James McQuilkin to move forward to his preferred midfield role.

Injuries to Ben Harding and Angus MacDonald offered up the space for Jordan Chapell to make his return to the starting line-up, but the big Yellow decision came in attack, where Ashley Yeoman was chosen to replace Ryan Bowman, who was ruled out with a groin problem.

The United bench had two new faces in the shape of French defender Ollivier Gueguen and youth-team striker Liam Prynn making his debut outing as part of the first-team squad.

Wrexham entered the game under severe pressure to find some form in the league after a loss to Dover followed a brutal 4-0 thrashing at home to Telford, although, like the Gulls, the Red Dragons remain heavily involved in the FA Trophy.

Yeoman was presented with a glorious chance within just two minutes, as Briscoe flicked on a ball forward from Dawson and the young striker forced Wrexham goalkeeper Andy Coughlin into a fine early save to keep the scores level.

A breathless start to the game continued with both sides launching men forward on a stodgy playing surface only deemed fit enough for play by referee Ben Toner after a pitch inspection two hours before kick-off.

McQuilkin was controlling the match through the opening minutes, showing superb vision and precision with his passing, and the diminutive midfielder forced Coughlin into a tip over the bar with a well-struck free-kick on 18 minutes.

Andy Bishop led a brief Wrexham fight-back with a surge down the right and his cross was defended brilliantly by Krystian Pearce. The subsequent corner ended with a deflected shot from Dean Keates that Martin Rice did very well to turn over his own bar.

The game lulled into a quiet period midway through the first-half, momentarily interrupted by Kyle Storer lashing a shot toward goal but it was a routine save for the largely untroubled Rice.

The Gulls reasserted their authority with a succession of corners delivered by Louis Briscoe, all of which were well defended by the home side, although Aaron Downes came close to causing a problem for Coughlin with an outstretched leg.

After such a stirring start to the afternoon, it was, however, a tepid end to the first period and Hargreaves trundled off for his half-time chat surely feeling satisfied with the overall display, but more attacking penetration definitely required in the second half.

The reality was a fairly bright opening from the home side and United were grateful to Courtney Richards for a terrific headed clearance from a dangerous free-kick whipped over by Louis Moult.

Wrexham continued to control territory but United were looking solid at the back. The Red Dragons opted to make the first change of the match on 55 minutes, removing Joe Clarke for the fresh legs of Mark Carrington.

Pearce and Downes had become the key men in Yellow, and both were having excellent games at the back. The problem for United was a lack of real menace in the forward areas on a windy afternoon in north Wales.

Hargreaves responded to the situation by replacing Yeoman with a different option in the powerful Duane Ofori-Acheampong, but it was Jordan Chapell who lifted the tempo with a decent strike from the right well saved by Coughlin. Keates came back with a fizzing shot wide of the post for Wrexham.

The game entered its final 20 minutes with both sides looking capable of stealing the points and Wrexham came close with a deflected shot from Keates arrowing wide. Rice did well to shepherd the subsequent corner out of play.

The next big Yellow decision was a professional debut for 17 year-old Prynn in place of Briscoe for the closing 15 minutes. It was a massive moment for the young striker and congratulations to the United youth department for nurturing another talent to this first-team arena.

Wrexham also made a double-change, introducing Keiron Morris and Wes York for Keates and Moult. York was the first replacement to make a difference, releasing a pass to Carrington, who turned the ball into the net but was denied the opening goal by the offside flag.

United were then hugely thankful to Rice for a marvellous save to thwart Morris after he found space from a swift counter-attack led by the pace of York. A tremendous block to keep the scores level with just a few minutes left on the clock.

York was proving a major handful, prompting Rice to again rescue the situation by racing off his line. It would be the final significant act in an entertaining but goalless afternoon.

Wrexham (4-4-2): 1 Andy Coughlin; 14 Steve Tomassen, 4 Manny Smith, 26 Luke Waterfall, 3 Neil Ashton; 6 Joe Clarke (2 Mark Carrington 55), 12 Dean Keates (capt)( 27 Kieron Morris 77), 28 Kyle Storer, 8 Jay Harris; 9 Louis Moult (16 Wes York 77), 10 Andy Bishop. Substitutes (not used): 5 Blaine Hudson, 18 Ross White.

United (4-4-2):  1 Martin Rice; 29 Aaron Dawson, 5 Krystian Pearce, 4 Aaron Downes (capt), 25 Levi Ives; 12 Jordan Chapell, 16 Courtney Richards, 22 James McQuilkin, 10 Toby Ajala; 7 Louis Briscoe (15 Liam Prynn 76), 14 Ashley Yeoman (24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong 61). Substitutes (not used): 11 Courtney Cameron, 23 Jordan Seabright (GK), 26 Ollivier Gueguen.

Booked: Downes 49

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 2,655

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