Football: Thornley steals show

Huddersfield Town 2 Wrexham 1
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The Independent Online
HUDDERSFIELD, OF the First Division, duly pulled rank on their Second Division opponents in this FA Cup fourth-round replay, but in a manner which will give the side they face next, the Premiership team, Derby County, few qualms about the prospect of a visit to the McAlpine Stadium.

The Terriers threatened to take the game by the scruff of the neck in a lively first half but despite twice hitting the woodwork late on as Wrexham pressed for an equaliser they were relieved to escape extra time. "We played two wingers and were overrun in midfield in the second half," Peter Jackson, the Huddersfield manager, said.

His opposite number, Brian Flynn, said: "People forecast we would get hammered here after losing 5-0 on Saturday but we played with a lot of character."

The match was preceded by a spectacular firework display to mark a takeover of Town headed by the millionaire businessman Barry Rubery, and the pyrotechnics on the pitch fizzled out almost as quickly.

Huddersfield went ahead after 20 minutes when Wayne Allison found David Beresford on the right and the winger's cross was met at the near post by Marcus Stewart with a diving header to give Town's leading scorer his 19th goal of the season.

Their lead lasted just five minutes. The full-back Dave Brammer picked out Kevin Russell in the penalty area and the Wrexham captain chipped the ball over Nico Vaesen.

Within two minutes the First Division side had restored their lead, Ben Thornley's 20-yard shot deflecting off a defender and over Mark Cartwright's head. But if luck was on Huddersfield's side on that occasion, it turned against them when their captain, Steve Jenkins, hit the post and Allison stabbed the rebound wide. Stewart also struck the woodwork twice, but only after Wrexham's second-half fightback had exposed the shortcomings in the Huddersfield defence.

Once the visitors began to push forward after the break their back four started to look distinctly uneasy. Russell had a shot hooked away and Ian Rush had a couple of opportunities.

The new owners will have to spend some of their millions on a couple of central defenders if their Cup challenge is to progress or if they are to renew their push for promotion.

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Vaesen; Jenkins, Collins, Gray, Edwards; Beresford (Barnes, 71), Johnson, Phillips, Thornley; Allison, Stewart. Substitutes not used: Hessey, Facey, Heary, Senior (gk).

Wrexham (4-4-2): Cartwright; McGregor, Brammer, Spink, Hardy; Ridler, Chalk (Gibson, 74), Russell, Owen; Rush, Connolly. Substitutes not used: S Roberts, N Roberts, Edwards, Walsh (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).