Wrexham AFC beaten 4-3 in thriller at Bromley


Mark Griffiths

DEAN KEATES was left to curse his luck as fortune turned against his Wrexham side in a seven-goal thriller.

Three deflected goals and an enforced change of formation meant The Reds lost at Bromley for the second consecutive season.

They showed great spirit to come back from three goals down, and threatened to snatch a late point when Anthony Barry flighted a free kick over the wall in the fifth minute of added time. Ravens keeper Ross Flitney held on though, and Wrexham were condemned to a sixth game without a victory.

There were some areas of promise, but the match reflected what Wrexham fans have known all along. Keates has injected quality into some areas of the side, but a further overhaul will be required this summer if he is to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion.

Although Bromley profited from some large slices of fortune, they caused problems for Wrexham’s defence, with Toby Sho-Silva’s pace and strength a constant issue for Martin Riley and Olly Marx.

At the other end, although Wrexham’s second half rally yielded three goals, Ross Flitney wasn’t tested enough in the Bromley goal until Ntumba Massanka came on as a second half substitute.

Still, Keates was keen to look on the bright side of a day when his side had to contend with unseasonably high temperatures and a rutted pitch.

“I thought we played really well in the first half," he said. "We got the ball down well and got it down the sides of their defence, but you can’t do anything about getting two deflections.

“They both totally changed the path the ball was travelling in.”

Faced with such misfortune, and the blow of conceding a third goal just three minutes after the break, Wrexham might have folded. Instead, Keates was pleased with the character they showed as they fought back.

“We kept going and got the goals back, and at the end I thought we could possibly nick something," he added.

“In the second half we had to change a few things towards the end. Iffy was feeling an old injury and  Olly was feeling light-headed with the heat, which was affecting him, so we had to change him.

“We had to go a bit more direct at the end as we tried to get the ball forwards and get an equaliser.”

Keates kept his promise to rotate the squad, introducing Shwan Jalal, Izale McLeod and Iffy Allen to the starting 11 at the expense of Chris Dunn, Barry and Massanka.

That meant a change of formation too, as Allen and Paul Rutherford lined up on the wings in a 4-4-2.

The visitors ought to have got off to a flying start when two of the players given a chance to impress their manager combined. Allen beat his man and drove in an inviting cross to the near post, where McLeod shot over from six yards out.

That miss was swiftly punished when Sho-Silva got goalside of Marx and drove in a shot which deflected off Riley and looped cruelly over Jalal and into the bottom corner.

Before the half had reached its mid-point Bromley had a second deflected goal. A long throw was cleared as far as Jordan Higgs, and his volley was sweetly-struck but seemed too close to Jalal until a deflection sent it past the helpless keeper.

Wrexham reacted well and a Rutherford corner was headed wide by Jordan White, and within a minute Rutherford saw his 25 yard effort tipped over by Flitney.

Mark Carrington broke threateningly to the edge of the area and hit a right-footed shot which took a deflection but rifled into the side-netting.

Any hopes of a fightback after the break were dealt an immediate blow when a long ball over the top ought to have been dealt with better, but Sho-Silva was able to run unhindered behind the centre backs and slot the ball past the exposed Jalal.

Wrexham struck back swiftly. A clever Carrington free kick found Allen on the right side of the box and he pirouetted past his man before delivering to the near post, where White swept the ball home.

Sho-Silva had a chance to snatch a hat-trick five minutes later, when Marx’s misheader fell for him, but Jalal saved at his feet.

Jalal’s long clearance was flicked on by White and Massanka, who had come on just four minutes earlier, drilled it across the keeper to pull a goal back.

Wrexham’s hopes of building on that goal were diminished half way through the second half when Marx had to go off and Keates was forced to play a makeshift back three of Russell Penn, Riley and Carrington.

As a consequence the side lost its rhythm, and it appeared Blair Turgott had put the outcome beyond doubt when his shot was deflected beyond Jalal to restore Bromley’s two-goal lead with seven minutes left.

Once more Keates’ men came back though. Ollie Shenton’s far post cross was driven towards goal by Rutherford, and Flitney could only push the ball out to Massanka, who swept home his second goal.

An injury time scramble in the Bromley area and Barry’s free kick were all Wrexham could muster in added time though, as they failed to win an improbable point.

See full story in the Leader

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