Seagulls are spot on
Brave Wrexham undone in shoot-out
Last Updated: January 18, 2012 10:45pm
Craig Mackail-Smith: The Brighton striker converted the decisive spot-kick
Brighton's FA Cup third-round replay with Wrexham went all the way to penalties, but the Championship side came through 5-4 in the shoot-out.
Following a 1-1 draw after extra-time, the Seagulls kept their nerve from 12 yards to book a home date with Premier League high-fliers Newcastle in the fourth round.
Andy Morrell fired Blue Square Premier leaders Wrexham into a 23rd minute lead, with his spectacular strike lighting up a packed Racecourse Ground.
The hosts were unable to hang on to that lead, though, and Ashley Barnes levelled matters with a glancing header on 77 minutes.
Wrexham came agonisingly close to snatching a winner in the dying seconds of extra-time, but Jay Harris nodded on to the crossbar.
Dean Keates took responsibility for Wrexham with the first spot-kick, but he saw his effort saved by Peter Brezovan and Brighton made him pay as they converted all five of their efforts.
A frozen pitch caused the replay to be delayed by a day and the Championship outfit were almost caught cold in the opening five minutes.
A short Jamie Tolley corner was whipped on to the head of Nathaniel Knight-Percival, who steered the ball narrowly wide of the post.
On 23 minutes, the home side got the goal their pressure deserved, with the lively Danny Wright driving down the left wing before cutting the ball back for Morrell to curl into the top corner from 18 yards.
The visitors were still struggling to contain the marauding Wright and another foray down the left resulted in Brezovan keeping out a fizzing strike from Harris.
Brezovan was again called into action early in the second half to smother Curtis Obeng's effort after he was played in by Adrian Cieslewicz.
At the other end, Will Hoskins skied a chance over the bar on 60 minutes while an equally presentable chance was spurned by Glen Little, who replaced the injured Wright as a substitute, after Morrell's lay-off.
It was a miss that would become all the more glaring when Brighton equalised as Wrexham failed to clear their lines and Sparrow dug out a terrific cross for Barnes to head in via the post.
Both Craig Mackail-Smith and Lewis Dunk passed up good opportunities to give Brighton the lead, but in almost the last act of normal time, Joe Clarke sent a free header over the bar from Neil Ashton's corner.
Another Ashton corner early in extra time saw Mark Creighton fire in a header that was well saved by Brezovan, but his Wrexham counterpart Joslain Mayebi produced even better stops to deny Torbjorn Agdestein and Romain Vincelot.
In a dramatic finale, Harris saw his header tipped onto the bar for Wrexham, who missed their first spot-kick when Brezovan dived to his left to keep out Keates' effort.That proved the only miss from 12 yards as the visitors kept their composure from the spot, with Mackail-Smith scoring the decisive penalty to eliminate the last remaining non-league side.
|Wrexham||Team Statistics||Brighton and Hove Albion|
|1||First Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|9||Shots off Target||10|