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Academy 1-1 Wrexham

25 March 2014

The honours were even when the Academy took on Wrexham on Saturday, as the U18’s drew 1-1 against a well organised visiting side.

Strong winds and heavy showers greeted the two sides at Springfields and without doubt made an impact on the game.

Nick Harrison made six changes to the side that played Burnley on Tuesday afternoon with George Gray, Joshua Earl, Nick Anderton, Thomas Bunclark, James Boyd and captain Tyler Forbes coming into the starting team.

PNE struggled to settle into the match during the early stages, with the Welsh outfit getting some joy down the left wing and they started to put their stamp on the game.

The Lilywhites’ first spark of life was from striker Luke Pritchard as he went on a mazy run down the right flank but his shot sailed well over the crossbar.

Ross Dalton was called upon to be brave in the air shortly after as he came out over the top through a bunch of players to punch clear from a hanging cross but took a blow for his troubles.

A slack back pass from PNE saw Wrexham striker Jack Davies bearing down on goal but his strike flashed wide of the post, a real let off for the Lilywhites.

This served as a wake-up call for PNE who started to move up the gears towards the end of the first half.

Pritchard done the hard work to get clear of scrambling Wrexham defenders, but was wasteful of his opportunity with his shot going wide of the post.

Shortly before half-time, PNE skipper Forbes opened the scoring, as he caressed a shot which nestled into the bottom left corner after being teed up by Sean Holmes to put the Academy 1-0 up.

At half-time Harrison swapped the personnel on the right side of midfield, with James Boyd making way for the skilful Joe Whittington.

At the start of the second half, PNE seemed to have more urgency about them and hints of that swagger on the ball were coming through.

Forbes was starting to have a huge influence on the game, giving the Wrexham defenders a torrid time. 

However, as much as the Lilywhites attacking prowess had improved, they were still susceptible on the counter attack with the game very open for a spell.

Holmes managed to skip past three defenders before reaching the by-line to cut the ball back, only for his cross to evade the marauding Forbes and Pritchard.

It was then Wrexham’s turn to have a chance, with Ross Weaver fancying his chances from long distance and his 25 yard strike went just wide of the upright.

Shortly after, Wrexham’s Jack Davies wasted a good opportunity for the Dragons as he was forced wide by Jordan Scott, his cross not living up to expectations.

Wrexham then brought on Leo Smith who replaced Richard Harvey-Davies.

PNE were working hard to maintain their lead as the defence had stood strong all game, but the Welsh side were knocking on the door.

Wrexham then found that allusive equaliser through Dan Reinolds, who found the ball at his feet near the penalty spot and he guided the ball past Dalton at full stretch.

We were in for a very entertaining last ten minutes with both sides looking for a winner, as Wrexham made another substitute seeing Rakim Newton came on for Ross Weaver.

PNE’s Gray found himself 25 yards out with a clear view of goal, but his powerful drive was well saved by Wrexham shot-stopper Adam Whitlock.

Both sides were now frantically trying to come away with all three points and PNE’s Whittington flashed a shot just wide of the target.

Scott also had a pop from long range and it looked as though his strike might win PNE the game, but he was unlucky to see his effort cannon back off the crossbar.

Harrison brought Ben Roberts on with not long left with Bunclark making way.

There was still time for one last chance for the Academy, when Whittington stood up a cross to the back post and probable man of the match Forbes rose highest, but his header floated well over the crossbar.

Harrison said after the match that he felt his side deserved more from the game, but he also thought conditions did have an influence on proceedings.

He said: “I thought the lads done really well; I thought we dominated the game, we just couldn’t get that second goal.

“There was maybe a little bit of an error for their goal which we could’ve avoided, but I think the wind played a good part in that.

“I’m just disappointed for the players really because I thought they did enough to win the game.”

Harrison couldn’t put his finger on why his side just quite didn’t have enough to hold on to the win or in fact score what would’ve been an important second goal against the Dragons.

He explained: “I think sometimes it’s just a little bit of the rub of the green really, you need a little bit of luck in front of goal.

“We had a few shots, that header from the corner, but sometimes that’s just football.” 

PNE Starting XI: Ross Dalton, George Gray, Joshua Earl, Jordan Scott, Bradley Roscoe, Nick Anderton, Tyler Forbes (c), Sean Holmes, Luke Pritchard, Thomas Bunclark, James Boyd

PNE Subs: Joe Whittington, Matthew Hudson, James Quigley, Ben Roberts, Ellis Hancox

Wrexham Starting XI: Adam Whitlock, Matt Hammonds, John Smith, Jake Joran, Ross White (c), Iuan Carthright, Jake Phillips, Ross Weaver, Richard Harvey-Davies, Dan Reinolds, Jack Davies

Wrexham Subs: Leo Smith, Rakim Newton, Dan Roberts, Jordan Davies

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