In a match which was a reversal of last years play off semi-final, Wrexham FC travelled to Luton Town, a team that had been enjoying a new lease of life under manager Paul Buckle.
Unfortunately it was Wrexham who ‘buckled’ (excuse the dreadful pun) under pressure for the second successive season. The first half did not start well for Wrexham, they were pressured constantly by Luton, who enjoyed most of the possession and the majority of the chances. Around the three minute mark, a Robbie Willmott corner was very nearly converted by Janos Kovacs, who arguably should have scored from the position he had found himself in.
Defensively Wrexham had found themselves lacking throughout the game, but this was especially evident during the opening exchanges. Stephen Wright was regularly out paced by the Luton forwards and even the ever present partnership of Nat Knight-Percival and Mark ‘Beast’ Creighton found themselves in trouble. When Jay Harris brought down Jake Howells in the penalty area, the game seemed to be opening up for Luton which, in fairness, their pressure and play deserved. The penalty was brought back however for an offside decision, which was the correct one to make.
When the inevitable did happen on 22 minutes it was not a surprise to the travelling Wrexham fans. Luton had dominated the half so far and Andre Gray gave them the lead with a well struck finish. Wrexham failed to recover from this goal, and it did not give them the kick they needed to get themselves back in the game. Luton netted again dead on the half hour mark with a well placed finish from former Wales Under 21 player, Stuart Fleetwood. Fleetwood, a name Wrexham must now be sick of hearing, was classy throughout and looked a constant threat.
After the interval, Wrexham came out all guns blazing and looked to be the side that pushed big spending Fleetwood Town so hard for the title. The opening minutes were dominated by Wrexham, Mattias Pogba in particular impressing the travelling fans with his strength and athleticism. A moment of Xavi-esque genius from Jay Harris occurred, setting Pogba up to shoot from six yards. However, the linesman made the decision to call it offside. A decision that looked in doubt on replays.
Luton were still threatening in the second half, looking very pacey and dangerous on the break, something that Wrexham’s shaken defence could not seem to handle. Toward the end of the match Luton should have had another goal, when Neil Ashton, who had one of his incredibly rare poor games, chested badly back to Joslain Mayebi, only for it to be intercepted and eventually cleared off the line by Nat Knight Percival.
The game finished 2-0 to Luton, but could have been much worse in the first half alone. Wrexham carry some hope back to the Racecourse Ground, and the general consensus of the fans is that the game is far from over.
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