Lowe sinks Wrexham

Wigan Athletic 3 Wrexham 2
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The Independent Online

The one thing you can safely say about Wrexham is the closing stages of matches do not bring out the best in them. Last week they collapsed like a house of cards against Blackpool and last night there was little to suggest the foundations had been restored.

Having clawed themselves back into a match they had only retained an interest in because of their goalkeeper Andy Marriott, they succumbed to two goals in the final 18 minutes at Springfield Park. Dean Spink scored the second of two fine goals eight minutes from time to improve the scoreline but even that could not disguise the fact the Welshmen's rating as among the Second Division promotion favourites is wholly optimistic.

One win from five matches is no-one's idea of a good start but if manager Brian Flynn could glean anything from this latest defeat it was an improvement compared to the final half-hour against Blackpool when his side managed to turn a 3-0 lead into a 4-3 defeat. Not much of one, but an improvement nevertheless.

Brendan O'Connell put Wigan ahead after 36 minutes, crashing a volley past Marriott after David Lowe and Graeme Jones had turned a hit-and-hope cross from David Lee into a chance. And but for two outstanding saves by the goalkeeper from Gavin Johnson and Lowe, Wrexham would have been buried by half-time.

Which made their aggression after the interval and their 57th-minute equaliser more of a surprise. Gareth Owen pushed a delightful pass through to Spink, who beat Roy Carroll from just inside the area with a clinical finish.

Wigan, who spent pounds 1.5m in the summer to improve a team who won the Third Division last season, restored their lead when Lowe followed up a rebound from Graeme Jones' shot and then Jones secured the points with a penalty after 77 minutes. Spink's second was too late.

Wigan Athletic: (4-4-): Carroll; Green, Rogers, Greenall, Sharp; Lee, Martinez, O'Connell, Johnson; G Jones (Broughton, 8), Lowe. Substitutes not used: Kilford, Lancashire.

Wrexham: (4-4-): Marriot; McGregor, B Jones, Carey, Cross; Chalk, Philips (Russell, 74), Brammer, Owen; Spink, Connolly. Substitutes not used: Humes, Watkin.

Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe).