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Watch: Wrexham beat Notts County in breathtaking National League clash

10 Apr 2023 5 minute read
Ben Foster and his Wrexham teammates celebrate their 3-2 victory over Notts County (Credit: BT Sport)

Phil Blanche, PA Sport

Wrexham struck a potentially decisive blow in the Vanarama National League title race with a 3-2 victory over rivals Notts County as former England goalkeeper Ben Foster saved a stoppage-time penalty.

Second-half goals from Paul Mullin, Jacob Mendy and Elliot Lee saw Wrexham win a fifth-tier classic before their Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who were awarded the freedom of the borough at a civic ceremony earlier in the day.

Notts County had led at half-time through John Bostock’s first goal since September 2016 and levelled at 2-2 when Kyle Cameron headed home.

Lee – in front of his father Rob, the former Newcastle and England midfielder – scored for the fourth successive game to hand Wrexham a precious advantage.

But the drama was not over there as County were awarded a penalty for handball in the fifth of six added minutes.

Substitute Cedwyn Scott stepped up but the veteran Foster, lured out of retirement last month to play until the end of the season following an injury to regular goalkeeper Rob Lainton, dived to his right to keep out the kick.

Wrexham are now three points clear of County with a game in hand and within touching distance of returning to the Football League after a 15-year absence.

The two sides started the day locked on 100 points, just five short of Crawley’s record 105.

Wrexham had the benefit of an extra game with five left to play but had been rocked by defeat to Halifax on a Good Friday that was anything but.

That was Wrexham’s first reverse in the league since losing 1-0 to County at Meadow Lane in October.

County owed top spot to a goal difference superior by three, with striker Macaulay Langstaff fresh from setting a record of 41 goals in a National League season.

Although 25 points above third-placed Woking at kick-off, it remains a harsh reality that one of these teams will be contesting the end-of-season play-offs with only the champions guaranteed an automatic passport to the Football League.

Wrexham’s owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney applaud the teams out on to the pitch during the match against Notts County’s during the Vanarama National League match at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. Picture date: Monday April 10, 2023.

The sold-out Racecourse Ground crackled at kick-off but that was quickly replaced by tension in the air, with every inch fought for and chances at a premium.

Wrexham’s own sharp-shooter Mullin had 43 goals – 34 in the league, nine in the FA Cup – and wanted a penalty when Cameron made contact as Mendy swung over a cross.

Referee Scott Tallis was similarly unmoved when Mullin went to ground again as he tried to nick the ball around goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

County kept a high defensive line and Wrexham were constantly caught as Mullin and strike partner Ollie Palmer ran into offside positions.

Cameron produced the first on-target attempt after 33 minutes with Ben Foster pushing his low drive from distance around a post.

But the former England goalkeeper was left helpless in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time after James Jones brought down Ruben Rodrigues 25 yards out.

Bostock – who last scored six and a half years ago for Lens against Red Star FC in France’s Ligue 2 – stepped up to deliver a sumptuous free-kick which arced away from Foster and into the corner of the net.

Wrexham were level within three minutes of the restart as Jones crossed from the right and Mullin swept home in clinical fashion.

The equaliser breathed new life into Wrexham and Mullin fired straight at Slocombe before Eoghan O’Connell’s volley rattled the County crossbar.

Mullin turned provider for Wrexham’s second after 69 minutes, finding space down the right and crossing for Mendy to convert emphatically at the far post.

Notts County were far from finished and Foster showed smart reflexes to deny Cameron and substitute Sam Austin before parity was restored after 75 minutes.

Cameron, like Reynolds and McElhenney before him, was granted the freedom of Wrexham to head home Aaron Nemane’s corner.

County’s defence leaked immediately again three minutes later as an error allowed Mullin to tee up Lee – before Foster emerged as the hero.

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1 year ago

According to the BBC sport website Wrexham have played 41 games with 4 games left to play which equals 45 games. There are 24 teams in the league which should mean every team will play 46 games a season. Similarly, ALL the teams in the league have a virtual missing game. Strange!!!!

1 year ago
Reply to  David

For four, read five. This is the best Wrexham team since the 70’s, and several of their players are simply too good for the fifth tier. I think we know which two gentlemen to thank for this success; and Phil Parkinson, of course.

Plenty of time for thinks to go wrong during those last five games, though.

1 year ago
Reply to  David

It appears NOW that the BBC website have amended their “games played” figures for the league.

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