MATCH REPORT | Wrexham 1 – 0 Southport
Kai Edwards scored a minute from time to earn Wrexham a late Boxing Day win against Southport.
Just as it seemed that this closely-fought match was heading for a draw, Edwards came up with the deciding moment, ending the home team’s run of four straight matches without a goal.
A draw would probably have been fair, and although both teams struggled for quality, Southport did emerge as the stronger side in the second half and were left to reflect on what might have been.
Wrexham goalkeeper Shwan Jalal produced two excellent saves to deny Andrai Jones as the match went on, but the Sandgrounders were made to pay for failing to capitalise on their better play.
In a first half of few clear chances, Wrexham were responsible for what openings there were. Having seen most of the ball throughout the half, the home team carried more of a threat as the first period progressed and their best chance came just before the interval.
After working his way into space on the left, Paul Rutherford, playing for the first time against his former club, sent in a low cross from the left wing. Neil Smith touched the ball back into the path of Gerry McDonagh, who dragged his shot wide when he ought to have done better.
Neither side were able to conjure much in the way of quality, and while Southport threatened on the break, it was Wrexham who enjoyed the better of the play.
Rob Evans failed to generate enough power to trouble goalkeeper Magnus Norman with his header from a Rutherford cross, while Edwards, arriving at the far post, looped a header over the crossbar after connecting with a deep centre from Jordan Evans.
After being played in down the Wrexham left, Rob Evans found himself clean through on goal but rushed his shot with only Norman to beat and the goalkeeper saved.
Having struggled to impose themselves on the first half, Southport picked up after the re-start with intent, Ryan Higgins sending in an excellent cross from the right which Andrai Jones directed on target with a glancing header, only for Shwan Jalal to produce a flying save.
It was the first piece of work that the Wrexham goalkeeper had to complete but he produced an even more impressive stop on 77 minutes, keeping out a stooping header from Jones at full stretch after a delightful cross from substitute James Caton.
Yet just as it seemed that Southport were finishing the strongest, it was the home team produced the winner. Aaron Jones conceded possession deep in the Southport half, allowing Rutherford to make up ground on the left wing. He delivered a low cross towards the far post, where Evans steered the ball past goalkeeper Norman.
Wrexham (4-3-1-2): Jalal, Edwards, Riley, Tilt, J Evans, Smith,Rooney, R Evans, Rutherford, White (Harry 87), McDonagh.
Subs not used: Dunn, Barry, Pyke, Powell.
Southport (4-4-2): Norman, R Higgins, Aaron Jones, Thompson, Ashton, McKenna (Caton 62), Nolan, Weeks (Jerome 90), Lussey, Allen, A Jones.
Subs not used: Springthorpe, White, Cofie.
Referee: Simon Barrow