FA Carlsberg Trophy Final
24 Mar 2013 - 3:00 PM
Wrexham won an absorbing FA Carlsberg Trophy Final after beating Grimsby Town 4-1 on penalties.
The game had finished 1-1 in normal time as a Kevin Thornton penalty equalised Andy Cook’s 71st-minute opener for the Mariners.
And as neither side could find a winner in extra-time, four perfect penalties – from Adrian Cieslewicz, Danny Wright, Chris Westwood and finally Johnny Hunt – handed the Conference Premier promotion chasers a deserved win under the Wembley Arch.
A low-key start to proceedings saw only two real chances created in the opening quarter of the first half.
Grimsby centre back Ian Miller headed Sam Hatton’s floated free-kick into the side netting before Martin Riley called goalkeeper James McKeown into action for the first time with a header of his own, from Hunt’s set piece.
Jay Harris then came close after evading a couple of tackles just outside the Mariners box but his chipped effort was just too high of the target.
Wrexham eventually grabbed the upper hand and enjoyed the majority of the ball, with Harris looking particularly impressive in the middle of the park.
The 25-year-old had a couple of half-chances but neither managed to trouble McKeown as the two sides went in goalless at the break.
The second half almost began in bizarre fashion as the Dragons player manager Andy Morrell chased Chris Maxwell’s long punt down the centre. As Morrell broke into the Grimsby area, the advancing McKeown lost his footing but recovered well to block the shot and Thornton’s follow up.
Wright then hooked Dean Keates’s corner wide from close range as the Welsh side looked to turn their supremacy into goals.
Cook bent an effort just wide of Maxwell’s far post, though the offside flag had already been raised, and Shaun Pearson headed Joe Colbeck’s corner over the bar as Grimsby reminded their opponents of the danger they possess.
Wrexham’s best chance to take the lead fell to Brett Ormerod in the 67th minute and the former Premier League striker will be disappointed to have headed Hunt’s left-wing cross over the bar from only six yards out.
And Cook made Ormerod pay for that miss just four minutes later when he put the Mariners ahead with his fifth goal in this season’s FA Trophy.
Colbeck surged down the right and pulled the ball back to the goalscorer who was unmarked 12 yards out. His initial effort was saved by Maxwell but the rebound fell kindly for Grimsby and Cook smashed the loose ball into the back of the net in front of the Mariners fans.
Dragons substitute Cieslewicz, on for Morrell, came close to equalising when he cut in from the right but McKeown got down well at his near post to save the shot.
However, Grimsby’s lead didn’t last too much longer as Wrexham captain Keates was brought down inside the box by Pearson and referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot.
Thornton stepped up and levelled matters by sending McKeown the wrong way with his spot-kick.
A fierce 30-yard drive from Harris brought the best out of McKeown as the Reds searched for a late winner, but both sides ran out of time and the game went to an extra 30 minutes.
Wrexham created the only two opportunities of the first half. Firstly, Harris bent a long range effort past the angle of post and bar just minutes before Cieslewicz chested Wright’s flick on before hitting a sumptuous 25-yard volley goalwards but McKeown was equal to it and pulled off a fine save.
The second half was far more lively and Wrexham will feel they could have won the game before the need for a shoot-out.
Colbeck shot wide of the post for Grimsby, before the Dragons seized control once more. Wright headed Hunt’s cross over the bar and had an effort blocked by Pearson, while Cieslewicz cracked the ball wide.
And Wright had a terrific chance in the 119th minute with a turn and shot from inside the box but McKeown pulled off another fine save, leading to the penalty shoot-out.
But McKeown could not extend his heroics in the shoot-out and after Hatton and Richard Brodie missed for Grimsby, Hunt calmly slotted home his penalty to send the Wrexham fans wild.
13 James McKeown, 2 Sam Hatton, 3 Aswad Thomas, 5 Shaun Pearson, 6 Ian Miller, 7 Joe Colbeck, 8 Craig Disley (C), 11 Frankie Artus, 12 Andy Cook, 25 Ross Hannah (21 Andy Thanoj, 55), 26 Marcus Marshall (14 Richard Brodie, 87)
Substitutes not used 15 Jamie Devitt, 19 Bradley Wood, 28 Lenell John-Lewis.
Joint Managers: Rob Scott & Paul Hurst
24 Chris Maxwell, 2 Stephen Wright, 6 Martin Riley, 8 Jay Harris, 9 Danny Wright, 10 Brett Ormerod (15 Robert Ogleby, 77), 11 Andy Morrell (7 Adrian Cieslewicz, 61), 12 Dean Keates (C), 16 Johnny Hunt, 23 Chris Westwood, 29 Kevin Thornton (14 Joe Clarke, 88)
Substitutes not used 13 Andy Coughlin, 17 Glen Little.
Player Manager: Andy Morrell
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistant Referees: Darren England & Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: James Adcock