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Match Report


Posted Thu 12 Feb 15 at 05:01 AM

United 0

Wrexham 3
Moult 64
Morris 73, 75

BAD day, bad result, bad performance and all we can do is take this defeat on the chin.

Torquay United crashed out of the FA Trophy with three sloppy goals conceded in the space of 11 crazy minutes in the second-half and Wrexham thoroughly deserve their place at Wembley.

Trailing 2-1 from the First Leg, United never got going as an attacking unit and the game looked gone when Louis Moult nodded in the opener on 64 minutes. Kieron Morris then slotted two swift goals to end the contest.

United boss Chris Hargreaves made two changes to the side beaten at the Racecourse last weekend, with Aaron Downes restored at centre-back and Ollivier Gueguen shifting over to right-back, which meant a place on the bench for Krystian Pearce.

The decision to revert to a 4-4-2 opened up a full debut for John Campbell in attack alongside Ryan Bowman. Courtney Cameron came out of the squad and James McQuilkin started at right-midfield. The other interesting scenario was the lack of a goalkeeper on the bench after Jordan Seabright was forced to pull out with a back injury.

Wrexham manager Kevin Wilkin rested a number of players for the midweek Conference draw with Forest Green Rovers but it was back to full-strength for the Red Dragons, with Jay Harris the only new face from the First Leg.

A feverish atmosphere inside the Launa Windows Stadium greeted both teams and the players had to contend with a strong wind blowing in Yellow backs for the first period.

Despite the excitement on the terraces, it was a scrappy start to proceedings, typified by the first glimpse at goal coming from a Gueguen hoof into the box but Toby Ajala was unable to judge the flight of the ball before Luke Waterfall stepped in to clear.

Ajala was also involved in the next promising move, picking up the ball in a central area to thread a pass for Campbell, who momentarily deceived Waterfall with his first touch but was unable to get any purchase on the shot to trouble goalkeeper Andy Coughlin.

Wrexham then enjoyed a spell of controlling possession but without ever hurting the Gulls, and captain Luke Young broke the pattern with a surge through midfield to release Campbell, who saw his low cross to the near-post gobbled up by Coughlin.

The bigger issue for United was handling the strong wind in their favour, as a number of long balls pumped forward were racing through to the safety of Coughlin in an opening half-hour full of tension, but no real quality.

Wrexham were by far the happier side as the game descended into a real drab affair. Set-piece situations so often break the monotony of a turgid afternoon and the Dragons came close with a whipped free-kick from Dean Keates just evading the onrushing forwards.

United were suddenly under heavy pressure and a clipped cross from Louis Moult required a desperate hack clear from the retreating Young. Gueguen then did superbly well to charge down a Moult shot from a corner.

The Gulls relieved the pressure when Bowman was sent crashing to the ground by Waterfall and slap-bang in Young territory from 25 yards, but the swinging low drive bounced agonisingly wide of the far post.

The game was heating up at last and a sloppy pass from Young allowed Moult to break down the left, cutting the ball inside for Steve Tomassen to lash a deflected shot toward goal, forcing Martin Rice into his first meaningful save of the day.

Back up the other end and a deep ball from Gueguen fell to Ajala, who drove in a low cross toward McQuilkin, but credit to Keates for a brave block on the stabbed shot. Campbell then conjured some room for a 20-yarder that flew narrowly over.

A decent end to an otherwise quiet first half and credit to Wrexham for an effective spoiling job. Into the second half, and the Dragons tested Rice with a skidding shot from Joe Clarke that took a horrible bounce before United’s custodian could snaffle the ball.

Referee Andy Davies was definitely stoking the fires in Yellow ranks with a few decisions that could have gone either way falling in favour of the visitors. The growing frustration prompted the withdrawal of McQuilkin for the attacking enterprise of Jordan Chapell.

The simple truth from the opening hour was United’s failure to perform well enough in attacking areas and the Gulls entered 30 pivotal minutes with the clear need to lift their tempo.

Instead, it was Wrexham who made the breakthrough and United had been warned. Moments earlier, a set-piece from Keates had been whipped in and plucked out of the sky by Rice with Red Dragons piling into the net.

The same routine on 64 minutes and another delicious delivery from Keates was perfect for Moult to nod home the opener from close range. Poor marking by United and it was now a mountain to climb.

It was time to roll the dice and Hargeaves opted to remove Ajala and Campbell, bringing on Louis Briscoe and Duane Ofori-Acheampong for a fresh look in attack, but it was actually a floating cross from left-back Levi Ives that had Coughlin back-pedalling to tip over his own bar.

The next Wrexham goal was painful viewing, as a slick move down the right had Yellow tackles floundering in the mud, but it did seem the disaster had been averted when Gueguen made the block.

Somehow, the ball managed to squirm back for Morris to slot home an easy finish from eight yards. It went from bad to worse two minutes later, as Moult waltzed through the right channel to lay the ball back to Morris for the third goal in 11 brutal minutes.

Andy Bishop replaced Moult for the final 10 minutes, as Young desperately tried to salvage some pride with a bustling run and pass to Ofori-Acheampong, who was denied a consolation by the legs of Coughlin.

Nothing more to be said on a bleak day for Torquay United.

United (4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 26 Ollivier Gueguen, 21 Angus MacDonald, 4 Aaron Downes, 25 Levi Ives; 22 James McQuilkin (12 Jordan Chapell 57), 8 Luke Young (capt), 16 Courtney Richards, 10 Toby Ajala (7 Louis Briscoe 69); 9 Ryan Bowman, 32 John Campbell (24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong 69). Substitutes (not used): 5 Krystian Pearce, 20 Jamie Reid.

Booked: Ives 60, MacDonald 71, Young 89

Wrexham (4-4-2): 1 Andy Coughlin; 14 Steve Tomassen, 4 Manny Smith, 26 Luke Waterfall (5 Blaine Hudson 82), 3 Neil Ashton; 6 Joe Clarke, 8 Jay Harris (15 Robbie Evans 88), 12 Dean Keates (capt), 27 Kieron Morris; 9 Louis Moult (10 Andy Bishop 78), 24 Connor Jennings. Substitutes (not used): 16 Wes York, 29 Sam Finley.

Booked: Waterfall 38

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 3,255 (372 away).

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