Wrexham 2-0 Mansfield Town (Mar 29, 2024) Game Analysis – ESPN

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Wrexham boosted their automatic promotion hopes from League 2 with a hard-fought 2-0 win over second-place Mansfield Town at STōK Cae Ras on Friday. 

A goal in each half from talisman Paul Mullin, who is now one goal shy of the 100-mark for the club, took Wrexham level with Mansfield on 73 points. However, the side owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney remain in third place owing to an inferior goal difference. 

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The top-of-the-table clash had an action-packed start — James McClean, who had been restored to Wrexham’s starting lineup after a two-match suspension, picked up a yellow card in the second minute for a foul on Elliott Hewitt. The defender never recovered from the challenge and was eventually replaced by Stephen McLaughlin in the eighth minute. 

Chances were at a premium in what was an evenly contested start to the game, before Wrexham took the lead in the 32nd minute after Mullin smashed home an Andy Cannon cross from inside the box.

Paul Mullin is one shy of a century of goals for Wrexham.

Mansfield were nearly level five minutes later after Aaron Lewis’ shot from the edge of the box whizzed just wide of the post. 

The visitors had the ball in the back of the net in the 61st minute, when ex-Wrexham player Davis Keillor-Dunn capitalised on goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo’s fumble in the box to score. But, the goal was ruled out after Keillor-Dunn was adjudged to have fouled Okonkwo in the leadup to it.

Mullin’s penalty in the 67th minute, which came after a foul on Luke Bolton by Jordan Bowery, sealed the three points for Wrexham.

The top three teams at the end of the season are automatically promoted and the next four enter a playoff for one last promotion spot. Wrexham have six games left in their season.

Last April, Wrexham clinched the National League title to get back into the English Football League — the three divisions below the Premier League — for the first time in 15 years.

Hollywood stars Reynolds and McElhenney have invested heavily in the club through loans — the club’s financial reports this week show that they’re owed nearly £9 million ($11.4m).

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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