WREXHAM 1-0 BRADFORD CITY
The stayaway supporters once again missed a cracking afternoon's entertainment at the Racecourse.
There was an explosive start to proceedings as after just 83 seconds, Dennis Lawrence, showing no sign of jetlag, reacted while the Bradford City defence stood appealing for offside to fire a low shot under Bantams keeper Paul Henderson.
Soon afterwards a free kick to the Reds, on the edge of the box, was back heeled by Darren Ferguson into the path of Danny Williams, whose powerful effort crashed into the Bradford wall.
It was a trick repeated on 12 minutes and once again the wall did its job, but as the ball ran free up steeped Dean Bennett to try his luck and it took a deflection off a trailing leg to deny him his first Wrexham goal.
There was an unusual incident on 18 minutes, when Andy Dibble came to the edge of his box to catch a high ball in, but it held up in the air and when he landed it was inches over the white line. Mr. Warren blew up for a foul and reached for his book, but fortunately only produced a yellow card!
Chances were coming thick and fast at both ends, not to mention the bookings, with four players in the referee's little black notebook, midway through the first period.
Hector Sam made a great foraging run from his own half, which included a lovely drag back, but after beating three defenders he was beaten by the line as his attempted cross was adjudged to have just run out of play.
Windass had two set pieces around the Wrexham box, but he was unable to get either on target.
Bennett was looking the most dangerous he had been since arriving at the Racecourse and one left footed cross on 32 minutes was delivered with pace onto the head of Chris Armstrong, who directed his effort from 10-yards just passed the back post.
A quick Ferguson free kick was aimed at Lawrence, who flicked the ball across the face of the goal to where Armstrong stuck out a leg but saw his effort lift high over the crossbar.
As we moved into time added on, a free kick from Wayne Jacobs was headed down by Windass, allowing Adebola to spin and send in a close range effort that Dibble spread himself well to block.
A double substitution at the break saw Matt Baker on for his debut, while Craig Morgan was introduced for the struggling Steve Roberts, who had done well to get to half time after picking up a kick to his ankle in the opening minutes.
With the re-organisation at the back, Bradford were not slow at trying to exploit the fact and Tom Kearney's angled shot in the first minute of the second period was probably a little greedy, as he had two team mates free at the back post!
Then the Reds broke quickly up field and it was two-on-two as Sam approached goal, but despite on of his step over routines Mark Bower was able to block the striker's effort, with Armstrong screaming for a pass to his left!
City had stepped up their work rate and on a couple of occasions, only a stumble by a visiting player robbed them an equaliser at this stage.
It wasn't all one-way, but it did feel like it!
Big Dennis set off on a move from his own half that freed Llewellyn, and as the striker approached the City area, he ignored the tall defender in the centre to fire in a powerful shot that Henderson held well.
Lawrence was again at the centre of the action on 65 minutes, as his attacking flair saw him felled by Lee Crooks and a second yellow was shown to the Bradford midfielder, meaning a lonely walk back to the dressing room.
Manager Colin Todd then took a gamble with 20 minutes remaining, as he introduced striker Michael Symes for defender Wayne Jacobs. This was followed a few minutes later by Lewis Emanuel for ex-Crewe man Adebola.
Wrexham seemed to be happy to concede the middle of the park to Bradford, content with hitting the ball long for the two strikers to chase and cause the visitors a few problems.
It was backs-to-wall in the last minutes, as Bradford threw everything forward in a search for some saving grace.
As the three minutes of added time counted down, it was good to see a re-appearance for Jim Whitley, taking over for the tried Sam.
The final whistle was worth waiting for though, as we claimed our first cleansheet of the season and a vital three points.
Wrexham: Andy Dibble (Matt Baker 46), Shaun Pejic, Steve Roberts (Craig Morgan 46), Dennis Lawrence, Dean Bennett, Danny Williams, Andy Holt, Chris Llewellyn, Hector Sam (Jim Whitley 90), Chris Armstrong.
Subs: Matt Baker, Craig Morgan, Simon Spender, Mark Jones.
Bradford City: Paul Henderson, Darren Holloway, Mark Bower, David Wetherall, Wayne Jacobs (Michael Symes 71), Ben Muirhead, Lee Crooks, Tom Kearney, Steve Schumacher, Dean Windass, Dele Adebola (Lewis Emanuel 77).
Subs: Donnavan Ricketts, Jason Gavin, John Swift.
Referee: M. Warren (West Midlands)
Wrexham: Dibble (18,handball), Williams (25, foul), Armstrong (81, delaying game), Morgan (90, foul)
Bradford: Crooks (10, delaying game), Windass (13, dissent), Crooks (65, foul)
Sending Off -
Bradford: Crooks (65, second yellow)