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Youth Report | Morecambe U18 3-2 Wrexham U18 (AET)

1 November 2023

The young Shrimps booked their place in the second round of the FA Youth Cup following an enthralling 3-2 win over Wrexham after extra-time.

Ollie Ras’ side went in at the break behind but goals from Nathan Mercer, Saul Fox-Akande and Max Holden secured their passage into the next round of the competition.

After looking bright in the opening exchanges, attacker Matthew Williams had to be withdrawn on eight minutes and was replaced by Callum Cooney in a like-for-like switch.

Wrexham provided the first effort on target of the evening as forward James Rainbird lashed an effort on goal, but Alfie Scales made the required stop.

Despite being denied earlier, it was Rainbird who nodded the visitors in front following a cross from the right-hand side on 20 minutes.

Morecambe were determined to fight their way back into the contest and went on to create a plethora of chances in the remainder of the first-half but were unable to find the back of Wrexham’s net.

Half-time: Morecambe 0-1 Wrexham

The young Shrimps started the second-half looking as poised as they were in the latter stages of the first-half to find the equaliser.

Their hard work would be rewarded on 59 minutes as Nathan Mercer smashed home from close range to restore parity, following a quickly taken throw-in from Vinny Wright.

Shrimps’ leveller provided further encouragement for the hosts as they went in search of the lead.

Scales proved to be a vital figure making a number of tremendous stops to keep the tie even in the second-half.

Ollie Ras’ side would take the lead with 13 minutes of regular time remaining. A whipped cross from winger Adam Fairclough found striker Saul Fox-Akande lurking at the back post to turn home our second of the night.

Morecambe would make their second substitution of the contest on 83 minutes as defender Joseph Sowerby replaced the versatile Lewis Ballantyne - a midfielder who played at centre-back on the night - following a superb display.

As the clock struck 90 minutes, Wrexham looked certain to have found the leveller as a visiting attacker stabbed the ball towards goal from close range, but Alfie Scales showed amazing reactions to tip it over the bar.

Scorer of Shrimps’ second, Saul Fox-Akande, made way in stoppage time as forward Max Holden replaced him.

10 minutes into additional time the visitors won a corner, and it was late heartbreak as Wrexham turned the ball into the back of the net forcing extra-time at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium.

Full-time: Morecambe 2-2 Wrexham

Off the back of their stoppage time equaliser it was Wrexham that started extra-time the strongest, but they were unable to forge a dangerous opportunity in front of the Shrimps’ goal.

On 99 minutes Morecambe had the lead once again and it was newly introduced attacker Max Holden who got it. A dangerous effort on goal was parried away by the Wrexham ‘keeper and Holden was perfectly placed to rifle home from close range.

Oscar Wright entered the fray on 108 minutes, replacing Adam Fairclough, in what would be Morecambe’s final change of the evening.

An entertaining second-half of extra-time produced chances for both sides but neither would find the back of the net in the closing stages as Morecambe advanced to round two of the FA Youth Cup.

Full-time (AET): Morecambe 3-2 Wrexham

Morecambe: Scales, Lynchey, Evans ©, Ballantyne (83’ Sowerby), V. Wright, Dobson, Mercer, McKean, Fairclough (108' O. Wright), Williams (8’ Cooney), Fox-Akande (90+6’ Holden)

Subs not used: Ascroft, Crane, Byron

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