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My Day At The Amex

FA Cup 3rd round weekend is one of my favourites as there are still some minnows left in the competition. Also, it’s the biggest round for giant killings from the smaller sides and I was hoping my local side would join the giant killing list.

I was going down to the Amex to see my local team Wrexham AFC do battle with Brighton & Hove Albion. I was quietly optimistic seeing both sides’ recent form and Brighton‘s suspensions/injuries. The day began with a 7am start to get the coach down to the Amex. A daunting 5 hour trip down faced the 2.000 + Wrexham fans that were going to make the journey.

On arrival at the stadium I was extremely impressed with the exterior of the stadium. A great piece of modern architecture which was finished to an extremely high standard. With a red scarf proudly round my neck it was obvious I was an away supporter and Brighton fans’ recognised this. In fairness Brighton fans were very friendly and welcoming on arrival. With my new camera, Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR, I took plenty of pictures before the game started.

When I entered the ground and found my way to my seat I was extremely impressed with the visibility of the pitch. From online pictures I was expecting a limited view of the goal in front of the North Stand. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. The away end filled up pretty quickly and it wasn’t long until the game was due to kick off. Once I saw both sides I was shocked at the absentees for Brighton and also players’ that were left out.

The game began brightly with both sides aiming to play some decent stuff rather than a route 1 method. Brighton had the first big chance when Lua Lua burst down the left wing to shoot narrowly wide. Wrexham responded well to Brighton‘s high temp start. Some neat build up play found Morrell who’s cross for Clarke was nicked away at the vital moment. With half time approaching Wrexham had a decent chance to take the lead when a free kick found its way through the Brighton wall. The game was 0-0 at the break and Wrexham fans could be very pleased with their team’s effort in a tough first half.

My half time burger was as cold as the day itself and for future warning refreshments at the Amex are not warm! After the refreshment disaster the game was ready to go again. Within 3 minutes of the restart Brighton took the lead through Forster-Caskey who had the easiest of finishes. A bursting run once again from Lua Lua caused Wrexham problems and his cross eluded Mayebi and fell kindly to Caskey. I’ve got to admit I was pretty worried at that point as I knew Brighton were capable of keeping the ball extremely well.

Wrexham responded well to going behind and used the flanks well but with little reward. Wrexham’s fortune changed on 62 minutes when a excellent run from Adrian Cieslewicz ended in a great finish after he ghosted between two Brighton defenders. The goal was scored in front of the Wrexham fans and we were going wild. The goal sparked sheer jubilation for the Welsh side. Unfortunately two fans had to ruin celebrations through pitch invasions which I always think is plain stupid. We were right back in it and could we nick another??

Unfortunately it ended as a 1-1 draw despite a ferocious end to the game which saw Jamie Tolley’s volley well saved and Wrexham may have felt they were owed a penalty in the 4th minute of stoppage time. It was an amazing day and it was just what the cup was all about! The result also made the journey home a lot easier as we were all in full spirit. We will do battle with Brighton again on 17th January at the Racecourse where both sides will now what is up for grabs.

Nathan Salt

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