Wrexham 1 Brighton 1 (AET, 4-5 on pens): Spot-on Seagulls deny non-league battlers
The will be no non-League team in the fourth round of the FA Cup after Wrexham’s challenge, and their hopes of a lucrative televised tie against Newcastle United, were ended by a penalty shootout at the Racecourse Ground.
Group hug: Craig Mackail-Smith is mobbed after scoring the decisive penalty
Heartbreaking: Wrexham's players stand dejected as they go out on penalties
Wrexham: Mayebi, Obeng, Creighton,
Knight-Percival, Ashton, Harris, Tolley (Keates 100), Clarke, Cieslewicz, Wright (Little 59),
Morrell (Hunt 104).
Subs not used: Maxwell, Clowes, Anoruo.
Goals: Morrell 23
Booked: Obeng, Ashton, Tolley, Clarke
Calderon, Hall, Dunk, Vincelot, Navarro (Barnes 66), Bridcutt, Sparrow, Buckley,
Mackail-Smith, Hoskins (Agdestein 66).
Subs not used: Ankergren, Harley,
Kasim, Sampayo, Rodgers.
Goals: Barnes 77
Booked: Vincelot, Barnes, Sparrow
Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear)
Brighton’s victory, thanks largely to
their goalkeeper Peter Brezovan, was harsh on the Welsh club and in
particular player-manager Andy Morrell, who had put the Blue Square Bet
Premier leaders in sight of another cup upset with a memorable effort.
It was not quite on a par with Mickey
Thomas’s famous strike when First Division champions Arsenal became the
most famous fallers here at the Racecourse back in 1992, but it was
worthy of winning this game and, for a long while, looked as though it
Danny Wright made a fine run in the
23rd minute and played the ball to the edge of the area where his
manager took a touch and then curled an exquisite shot beyond Brezovan
into the top corner.
Brighton levelled 13 minutes from
time when Matt Sparrow clipped the ball back for substitute Ashley
Barnes to rise unmarked and head in off a post.
Wrexham keeper Joslain Mayebi saved
from Torbjorn Adgestein in extra time, while Brezovan brilliantly tipped
away Mark Creighton’s header.
Agony: Andy Morrell (second left) holds his head as his side miss a chance to take the lead in extra time
The Slovak goalie then saved Dean
Keates’ opening penalty before Craig Mackail-Smith converted the
decisive kick to send Brighton through.
Morrell said: ‘I’m so proud of the
lads. They were exceptional in giving an excellent Championship team a
run for their money. We have bigger fish to fry now in trying to get
back into the Football League.’
No stopping that: Andy Morrell scores the opening goal at the Racecourse Ground
Joy: Morrell is mobbed by his team-mates after his brilliant strike gave their side the lead
Ouch: Danny Wright of Wrexham lies on the pitch with a badly injured arm after a clash
The last time Wrexham reached the
fourth round was in 2000 — the year Brighton boss Gus Poyet scored twice
for Chelsea to deny Newcastle a place in the last FA Cup final at the
old Wembley. Now Poyet will take on the Toon Army again. ‘It was a great
goal by Wrexham and we were chasing the game,’ he admitted. ‘The keeper
made good saves to keep us in it. ‘Sometimes it’s about winning
Tussle: Jamie Tolley of Wrexham competes for the ball with Liam Bridcutt of Brighton
Catch me if you can: Adrian Cieslewicz gets away from Brighton's Matthew Sparrow (left)
Hurdler: Morrell jumps over the challenge of Lewis Dunk