United 0

Wrexham 0

A POINT for United in what was a poor game with neither side able to find any attacking penetration and one to be swiftly forgotten.

Caretaker boss Robbie Herrera made just one change to the side that performed well in the 1-1 draw with Chester last week, restoring club captain to the heart of defence after a seven-game absence. Myles Anderson dropped to a bench that also included new signing Michee Efete.

Wrexham manager Dean Keates included former Gull James Hurt in his line-up and the Dragons arrive at Plainmoor as a confident unit, having won their last three games and three clean sheets as well.

A quiet start to the game chuntered into life with a Luke Young free-kick cleared to the edge of the area for Andy Haworth to send a first-time volley soaring toward Cary Park. A fabulous cross-field pass from Young then released Haworth for a pass inside and Ruairi Keating’s final shot was well blocked.

United were edging the match in terms of territory and George Dowling was only a fraction off target with a dipping effort from the edge of the box after strong work on the left by Jamie Reid.

In general, however, there was a lack of real spark from either side in the opening quarter, with both defences looking comfortable. Gowling had slotted in seamlessly to the back four and Young having a bright game in midfield, but tepid stuff overall.

The first effort on target arrived via another Young set-piece but it was easy for Wrexham ‘keeper Christian Dibble, falling on the ball after a tussle between Keating and powerful centre-back Manny Smith.

Such was the nature of the opening half-hour, an impromptu drinks break after a minor knock for Hurst has to go down as a highlight. The respective dug-outs briefly livened up the afternoon with a choice exchange between Herrera and Keates.

Wrexham’s Alex Reid nodded a deep cross wide in the final act before half-time but a game that desperately needed some spark in the second period.

The visitors were the first to show an improvement in tempo and good handling from Vincent Dorel ensured a measure of calm in a United defence having to withstand some sustained pressure.

The outlet for United was a free-kick on the edge of the area won by the determination of James Gray and a stinging shot from Young was tipped over at full-stretch by Dibble.

Wrexham’s next surge forward came courtesy of a poor decision, or lack of decision, from referee Simon Barrow, who failed to blow for a foul on Sean McGinty in the centre-circle. The Dragons immediately broke and a ferocious rising drive from Reid forced Dorel into a terrific one-handed save.

The game had slipped back into a turgid affair and Herrera understandably turned to his bench for inspiration, withdrawing Keating for Jon-Paul Pittman. Wrexham, meanwhile, introduced Scott Boden for Ntumba Massanka.

A clear opportunity arrived for Smith with six minutes remaining but he headed well over from 10 yards out. Moments later, Smith was back to the day-job, snuffing out a Pittman run from Gray’s flick-on.

United ended the match with a series of balls launched into the box but it summed a dismal game that no genuine chances emerged, and both sides trundled home with a forgettable point.

United (4-4-2): 30 Vincent Dorel; 23 Ryan Higgins, 6 Josh Gowling (capt), 5 Sean McGinty, 26 Chinua Cole; 22 Andy Haworth, 8 Luke Young, 24 George Dowling, 19 Jamie Reid; 10 Ruairi Keating (9 Jon-Paul Pittman 69), 17 James Gray. Substitutes (not used): 2 Michee Efete, 14 Myles Anderson, 16 Rory Fallon, 20 Neal Osborn (GK).

Booked: Gowling 74

Wrexham (4-4-2): 17 Christian Dibble; 2 James Hurst (18 Kevin Roberts 34), 4 Manny Smith, 5 Shaun Pearson (capt), 3 James Jennings; 14 Paul Rutherford, 8 Sam Wedgbury, 20 Akil Wright, 21 Leo Smith (13 Mark Carrington 88); 9 Ntumba Massanka (Scott Boden 72), 11 Alex Reid. Substitutes (not used): 10 Chris Holroyd, 12 Callum Preson (GK).

Booked: Wright 57, Jennings 61

Referee: Simon Barrow

Attendance: 1,841 (251 away)