Heroic Reds bow out after night of drama


Matt Jones and Garth ApThomas

BRAVE Wrexham FC bowed out of the FA Cup after losing a penalty shoot out.

Nearly 8,400 fans packed into The Racecourse, creating an electric atmosphere for what was a thrilling cup tie against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Fans cheered and clapped almost every touch as they pushed on the players during the match, which was shown live on ESPN and S4C.

Wrexham fan Carl Gibson, 35, of Borras, said: “The players were fantastic and they did the fans proud. The result was very disappointing but the players can keep their heads held high.”

After the game was called off on Tuesday, an overnight thaw saw the frost completely disappear from the Mold Road side of the ground which meant the match could go ahead last night.

Barry Clare, 63, of Wrexham, a fan since he was six, said: “The atmosphere in the ground was brilliant. The fans really turned out to show their support. It was a pleasure to be at the ground.”

He added: “I’ve not seen The Racecourse like this for ten years.”

Marc Jones, of Rhosddu, said: “The atmosphere was really good, just like the old days. The fans really turned up the tempo during the match.”

Blue Square Bet Premier leaders Wrexham took the lead against Npower Championship side Brighton but conceded in the second half.

The icy conditions helped Wrexham pocket an unexpected extra £62,000 from the game.

Due to the fixture being moved back a day to Wednesday, TV broadcaster ESPN was able to screen the game.

Wrexham now qualifies for a full FA fee.

The club’s chief executive officer, David Roberts, said the money was a welcome windfall for the club.

In a statement on the Dragons’ website he said: “With ESPN now transmitting the match live the FA have confirmed that we will be receiving the full fee of £62,000.

“It is another boost to the club’s finances.”

A home tie against Newcastle would have guaranteed a £125,000 TV windfall.

Last week queues formed at The Racecourse as supporters scrambled to make sure they secured tickets for the big game.

Demand was so strong, the club had to call a temporary halt on sales to ensure it did not exceed safety capacity at the ground.

See full story in the Leader

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