Wrexham 0 Ebbsfleet United 0
FA Trophy, Quarter Final
On a sunny day in North Wales, Wrexham were held to a draw by holders Ebbsfleet United, and now face a replay on Tuesday night and more fixture congestion.
Dean Saunders rung the changes for this game, maybe emphasising how important he regarded the tie. Aurelein Collin was handed his debut in the centre of defence, while Christian Gyan made his second start for the club at right back. Sam Aiston made a rare start in midfield, with Jon Brown pushed up front to partner Jeff Louis.
The game started with Ebbsfleet showing the physical side of their game, and on seven minutes Duncan was booked for a challenge on Baynes.
Jeff Louis was presented with a great chance when put clear by Jon Brown. But his poorly hit shot was easily saved by Cronin.
Gyan and Collin had both started poorly and Ebbsfleet were beginning to exploit this and were looking dangerous. Ward did well to block a shot from Gash on twenty minutes, then the same striker had another effort saved minutes later. Ward then held a free kick under his cross bar as Ebbsfleet searched for a breakthrough.
There was a long delay when Craig Stone was stretchered off after a 50/50 Challenge with Andy Fleming.
When the game restarted, a Jon Brown Corner was almost converted by Collin who volleyed just wide. Ward then held onto another free kick as the half ended.
Saunders brought Fairhurst on for the struggling Gyan at half time and pushed Baynes to full back. Fairhurst immediately made his mark, forcing a save from Cronin. With Wrexham trying to up the tempo, Aiston forced Cronin into another save. The referee who had been poor throughout the game then stunned the crowd by interpreting a tangle between Collin and Gash on the edge of the area as a professional foul, he produced a red card and the debutant was off. Kempson replaced Aiston in a tactical switch as Saunders shuffled the side.
Ebbsfleet were pushing Wrexham's ten men back now and Ward saved from Long, then Ricky Shakes had an effort which Ward saved easily.
Jeff Louis was replaced on seventy five minutes by Silvio Spann, Wrexham reverting to a 4-4-1 formation leaving Jon Brown up front as lone striker. After seventy eight minutes Brown had a shot saved by Cronin, but now the game was getting scrappy. Ebbsfleet had one more chance to score when Judge's back heel from a Rickets cross was again easily saved by Ward.
The referee blew time on a very poor match, with Ebbsfleet being far the happier of the two teams. Wrexham now face a trip to Kent on Tuesday night instead of a home match against Kidderminster Harriers, which will have to be fitted in to an already congested fixture list.