REPORT: Wrexham AFC 2-2 Leyton Orient

access_time 4 years ago

Chris Holroyd headed the hosts into a first minute lead, but the O’s grew into the game as the half wore on and levelled on the 23rd minute through top scorer Macauley Bonne.

Holroyd then notched his second with 19 minutes remaining, but Mark Ellis equalised five minutes from time with a powerful header to send the O’s home with a point.

For the trip to Wales, Head Coach Steve Davis made four changes to the starting XI that lost to Gateshead in the week. Jamie Sendles-White, Romuald Boco and James Dayton all returned to the side, along with Zain Westbrooke who was handed a first start since arriving on loan from Brentford.

The O’s were without several players however, as Jobi McAnuff served a one-match suspension for accumulating five yellow cards, while Alex Lawless and Joe Widdowson both missed out with respective groin and hamstring injuries.

In windy conditions, it was the hosts who got the game underway and with less than a minute played Wrexham took the lead when a deflected cross fell into the path of Chris Holroyd who headed home from a yard out.

Having registered the opener Wrexham continued to look the more threatening during the opening few moments of the game, but with 10 minutes played Orient had the ball in the back of the net as Macauley Bonne squirmed a shot beyond Chris Dunn, only for the whistle to have been blown in the build up for a foul.

The wind was continuing to prove a nuisance for both sides but almost benefitted the hosts three minutes later as Jack Mackreth’s cross looked to be curling into the far corner before Charlie Grainger managed to get across and palm the ball behind for a corner kick.

With the 20-minute mark approaching Wrexham’s James Jennings glanced a corner on at the near post which could have almost crept in had it not been for Mark Ellis being well-positioned to head away under pressure from Ntumba Massanka.

Soon after the O’s were wondering how they had not levelled the game, when a corner of their own fell to Jamie Sendles-White and his ball across goal took a deflection before behind clawed off the line and dropped to Bonne who saw his header held by Dunn.

Orient were not to be denied an equaliser on the 23rd minute however, this time benefitting from their own piece of fortune as Bonne’s lofted ball from just inside the box looped over Dunn and into the top corner for his eighth league goal of the campaign to which the players then ran towards the dugout to celebrate.

In response to the equaliser the hosts looked to restore their advantage swiftly, but captain Shaun Pearson was only able to direct a header the wrong side of the post from a corner.

Orient then created a chance of their own as James Brophy raced clear down the left and cut the ball back to Romuald Boco waiting on the edge of the box, but despite connecting cleanly with the shot his effort curled over the bar.

With the teams level, the game then turned into a tight affair with neither side registering a shot on target until the 42nd minute when Wrexham’s James Hurst saw a shot from outside the box held by Grainger for what proved to be the final piece of action before the break.

Following the interval the O’s returned unchanged, and with 49 minutes on the clock it was the hosts who spurned the first chance of the half as Paul Rutherford blazed over from the edge of the box after Holroyd had tangled with Sendles-White in the build-up.

Wrexham’s Akil Wright then saw a shot from distance deflected wide before Pearson headed off target from a corner, with the O’s then registering a chance of their own when Bonne’s beat two players before having a shot touched wide.

The O’s were frustrating the hosts and came so close to taking the lead on the 68th minute when James Dayton let fly with an incredible strike which beat Dunn, only for his shot to come back off the underside of the crossbar. David Mooney’s header then came back off the woodwork but the flag was already raised for offside.

The chance was to come back and bite Orient three minutes later, as Wrexham restored their advantage when a low cross was controlled by Holroyd who kept his balance to fire beyond Grainger.

In response to the goal Orient immediately made their first substitution, as Head Coach Steve Davis introduced Matt Harrold in place of Mooney.

A second change was to then follow on the 80th minute, as Craig Clay replaced Dayton in midfield with the O’s pushing for an equaliser.

Time appeared to be running out but with five minutes remaining, the O’s were level.

James Brophy went on a fine solo run to earn a corner, and from the set-piece defender Mark Ellis was on hand to emphatically head beyond Dunn and register his first goal for the Club.

With the match deep into stoppage time Wrexham threw bodies forward in search of a winner, but were to be denied by a wonderful piece of goalkeeping from Grainger as he put his body on the line to deny Alex Reid and ensure the O’s came away with a point.

WREXHAM: Dunn, Hurst, M Smith, Pearson (C), Jennings (Carrington 60), Mackreth, Wright, Kelly, Rutherford, Massanka (Reid 83), Holroyd (L Smith 90+1)
SUBS: Dibble, Boden
GOALS: Holroyd (1 & 71)
BOOKED: Pearson (80)

ORIENT: Grainger, Caprice (Judd 90+1), Ellis, Sendles-White, Happe, Brophy, Westbrooke, Boco, Dayton (Clay 80), Mooney (C) (Harrold 73), Bonne
SUBS: Sargeant, Sotiriou
GOALS: Bonne (23), Ellis (85)

REFEREE: Neil Hair
ATTENDANCE: 4,432 (256 Orient supporters)