Fleet 1-1 Wrexham

Fleet missed the chance to take all three points with a late penalty miss but will otherwise be happy with a point after coming from behind against Wrexham.

With Patrick Ada’s red card rescinded by the FA, he was eligible to play while elsewhere in defence Craig Stone returned to action after injury, meaning Ryan Blake dropped to the bench. In scorching conditions, with not a breath of wind, the game was never going to start at pace, with Fleet needing to take a measured approach against full-time opponents.

Fleet started well enough, however, and Moses Ashikodi dinked a shot just wide of the post from close range. There was a long delay on 8 minutes after Wrexham’s Mark Creighton appeared to twist his knee as he cleared from Ashikodi on the edge of the box and the player had to be stretchered off. His replacement Martin Riley then had to withdraw in turn to change his bloodied shirt after he took a blow to the nose.

The visitors were slow out of the blocks, though had some pace down the right with Rob Ogleby proving a handful, but the Fleet defence was firm, Joe Howe in particular standing out.

Liam Enver-Marum was booked for a dive inside the box on 24 minutes as he hared down the left and looked to get a cross in and that signalled the end of the Fleet’s good spell as the visitors asserted themselves in midfield. Dean Keates had a couple of off-target efforts as the dimunitive Wrexham midfield passed the ball well.

But led by Tom Phipp, the Fleet battled back. Phipp struck a low shot on target and Liam Bellamy floated a high one in that the goalkeeper dealt with before Ashikodi bundled the ball over the goalline but was penalised for offside. Eight minutes of time added on produced little more and the teams had a much-needed break from the sun.

Wrexham came out with more purpose and were in front inside four minutes. Fleet cleared one attack but only as far as Keates who cut open the defence with a precision pass and Johnny Hunt ran on and belted the ball past Preston Edwards.

It was Phipp again who drove Fleet forward as the home side looked drained. He singlehandedly unlocked the visitors’ defence on 58 minutes, shrugged off Riley’s challenge and forced goalkeeper Mayebi into a good block in the six-yard box.

Liam Daish made a double change on the hour, Lanre Azeez and Phil Walsh replacing Bellamy and Nathan Elder. And Fleet got back into things courtesy of a Mayebi error on 70 minutes. The keeper appeared to have gathered Declan Walker’s back header but Ashikodi took advantaged of a fumble and as Mayebi lay on the floor, Enver-Marum tucked a shot over him and into the net.

The expected onslaught from Wrexham never quite materialised though Ada and Howe had to be alert to clear the danger on several occasions. And with three minutes left, the Fleet almost grabbed an unlikely win. Riley was adjudged to have handled inside the box, though it appeared to be right on the line, and after Wrexham protests, Ashikodi stepped up to the spot. But Mayebi turned from villain to hero as he got down low to his left to push the penalty away.

So mixed feelings in the 32-degree heat for the Fleet but ultimately it was a worthy point against opponents who put five past Edwards on their last visit.

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