Sunday, March 26, 2023

FA Cup dream ends for Wrexham

For Wrexham’s Hollywood bosses, the sequel didn’t have a happy ending.

The Welsh club, owned by celebrities Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, lost their FA Cup tie-breaker 3-1 on Tuesday to Sheffield United, who scored twice in injury time.

A win for Wrexham, the lowest-ranked team still alive in the tournament, would have set up a round of 16 game against Tottenham and their star striker Harry Kane.

Instead, there was only heartbreak for the English fifth division team, which made headlines a few years ago when it was bought by Reynolds and McElhenney for $2.5 million on the recommendation of one of their screenwriters.

Sheffield United scored in extra time to force a tiebreaker match, which sealed a 3–3 draw at the Racecourse Ground, home of Wrexham, in the first meeting between the two teams.

Reynolds featured in that game, but was not present for the tie-break at Bramall Lane, where Billy Sharp and Sander Burge scored late goals.

“I’m so proud of these guys and the 4,000+ fans who traveled and gave their all,” Reynolds, the Canadian-born actor best known for the “Deadpool” movies, posted in a message to his 21.1 million followers. ,

McElhenney, the American actor and director who created the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, tweeted: “I couldn’t be more proud of these men right now. They gave absolutely everything.”

It was another enigmatic matchup between the two teams that would surely give Reynolds and McElhenny much material for their “Welcome to Wrexham” TV series.

Wrexham have a reputation for springing surprises in the FA Cup. They beat then-champions Arsenal in the third round in 1992, when they were playing in the fourth tier, and reached the quarter-finals in 1996–97, when they were in the third tier.

The Welsh team had already kicked Coventry out of the Second Division earlier this season and could easily do the same with Sheffield United on the same circuit. Paul Mullin had a penalty saved after 72 minutes, when the score was 1–1.

Mullin hit 59 off 11 paces to equalize for Wrexham. Anel Ahmadhojic had opened the scoring nine minutes earlier.

Sharp’s goal in the fourth minute after substitutions came after a defensive error and was crucial.

In a reversal, fourth-tier Grimsby beat fourth-placed second-tier Luton 3–0. In the next leg they will face off against Southampton in the Premier League.

Second-leaders Burnley won their tiebreaker, as did third-tier Fleetwood. Both will fight for a ticket to the quarterfinals.

The second tiebreaker for the fourth round is scheduled for this Wednesday, when second-division Sunderland take on premiers Fulham. The winner will face Leeds.

The fourth round will be played later this month.


Steve Douglas is on Twitter as

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