Wrexham 0 Torquay United 1
- Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle
Defender Sam Sherring hammered a stoppage-time winner to give Torquay United a precious three points and a fourth win in five games against National League promotion rivals Wrexham in North Wales.
Just when it looked as if Gary Johnson's Gulls would have to settle for a point, and Wrexham were looking at their most dangerous all afternoon, Sherring pounced for an opportunist shot as the Red Dragons failed to clear a long throw by fellow centre-back Joe Lewis.
It was United's first win at the Racecourse Ground for 33 years and, after their recent 2-0 win over Solihull Moors, their second 'double' of the season.
It came on a day when leaders Sutton United and second-placed Hartlepool United were both held to draws, at Solihull and Boreham Wood respectively, and the gap from Torquay to Sutton is down to six points.
That's with eleven games to go and, after United meet Weymouth at Plainmoor this Saturday, they travel to Sutton next Tuesday night.
Johnson made just one change - Wright for Boden up front - but Wrexham boss Dean Keates had fresh problems.
Experienced defender Shaun Pearson was fit enough only for a place on the bench, Keates was without injured men Kwame Thomas, Jordon Ponticelli and Theo Vassell, and if that lot wasn't bad enough, goalkeeper Rob Lainton hurt himself in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Christian Dibble.
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It was midfielder Jay Harris' 250th appearance for the Red Dragons.
With the wind at their backs, United dominated the first half, from the moment that Adam Randell took advantage of a Connor Lemonheigh-Evans tackle and fired over when he should probably have hit the target.
That was the story of United's first 45 minutes.
They played as well as they have done for weeks, maybe longer, but they failed to test Dibble nearly enough.
After Armani Little, on his 24th birthday, fired just wide from 30 yards, Asa Hall was clearly pushed in the back by Mark Carrington as he went to head for goal, off target as a result, but neither linesman nor referee saw the offence.
Wrexham were forced to live off scraps and occasional breakaways, Dior Angus testing Lucas Covolan with one angled shot and then, after a Joe Lewis header wide, when they hit the woodwork in the 20th minute.
Referee Andrew Miller harshly penalised Lewis for a challenge on Harris and, just when Young looked favourite for the free-kick, Jordan Davies hit it against the bar from 25 yards.
Jamie Reckord made a mess of a good chance for the hosts moments later, but from then on it was all Torquay until half-time.
That was even without Benji Kimpioka, who had to go off with what looked like yet another United hamstring injury - he was replaced by Billy Waters on the half-hour.
Little could not hit the target with two free-kicks from his sort of territory, but in the 38th minute Hall smacked a shot from just outside the area and Dibble was relieved to smother it at the second attempt.
Into the wind in the second half, and still United looked the better side.
Wynter fizzed a 25-yard cross-shot just wide and Hall had another low edge-of-the-area drive held by Dibble with forwards following in.
United were forced into a change when Lemonheigh-Evans limped off, to bring on Jake Andrews, and in the 63rd minute Johnson withdrew Wright - as expected - and sent on Scott Boden.
But in the closing stages, as tiredness seemed to creep in, United started giving the ball away with worrying regularity.
Their passing and decision-making deserted them and, although Wrexham were still struggling to get anything like their best game together, it brought the Red Dragons onto the Gulls.
Covolan, who had an excellent game in goal, pulled out the save of the game, low to his right, to keep out a Kelleher header.
Davies headed against the outside of the right-hand post from one of several inswinging Young corners.
But United's defence did not deserve to concede a goal on a testing afternoon - Covolan often played 'sweeper' with aplomb - and their fourth clean-sheet in five games was the crucial factor in what followed in stoppage-time.
From a Lewis long throw from the left in the 93rd minute, Wrexham twice failed to clear, Boden's shot on the turn hit a defender, but Sherring seized on the chance and belted a right-foot shot so hard from eight yards that, even though the ball was at him, Dibble had little chance of stopping it…1-0, all three points, game-over.
Wrexham (3-5-2): Lainton; French, Kelleher, Carrington; Hall-Johnson, Harris, Young, Jarvis (Rutherford 60), Reckord; Angus, Davies (Pearson 90+2); subs not used - Dibble, Durrell, Horsfield.
Booked: Angus 82, Harris 84.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Covolan; Wynter, Sherring, Lewis, Law; Randell, Hall, Little, Lemonheigh-Evans (Andrews 55); Kimpioka (Waters 29), Wright (Boden 63); subs not used - MacDonald, Moxey.
Referee: Andrew Miller (Co Durham).