Ruthless Wrexham end Harriers' promotion dream

Hammer blow: Brett Ormerod fires Wrexham ahead. Picture: ADRIAN HOSKINS

Hammer blow: Brett Ormerod fires Wrexham ahead. Picture: ADRIAN HOSKINS

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Harriers 1, Wrexham 3 (Harriers lost 5-2 on aggregate)

HARRIERS' dreams of the Football League were ended as they were beaten by Wrexham in the second leg of the play-off semi-final.

Steve Burr's side found themselves on the losing side in a game of incredibly close margins.

While it is Wrexham who progress to Wembley to play in the final next Sunday, a 5-2 aggregate score line over two games did not reflect Harriers' efforts.

Goals for Brett Ormerod, Joe Clarke and Neil Ashton ended the Carpetmen's promotion chances, despite a lifeline from Chey Dunkley.

Harriers made three changes from the side which lost the first leg 2-1.

With regular left-back Mickey Demetriou out because of an injury picked up on Tuesday, former Wrexham defender Mike Williams was drafted in for his first start since the FA Cup game in November.

Winger Danny Pilkington was handed a start after recovering from a hamstring injury and stepped in for the injured James Vincent.

Martin Devaney was also preferred ahead of Marvin Johnson.

Trailing from the first leg, Harriers knew they needed to pile the pressure on early.

While the hosts played some sparkling football, they struggled to truly test Dragons keeper Chris Maxwell.

They were denied the opening goal by the woodwork. Michael Gash leapt to meet Lee Vaughan's cross but saw his header smash off the far post.

Wrexham defenders David Artell and Neil Ashton also picked up bookings as the home side cranked up the pressure.

Harriers were pushing forward at all costs but they were caught out by a breakaway goal in the 30th minute.

Maxwell took Jackman's corner and found Jay Harris, who released Ormerod down the left.

The former Blackpool striker smashed a powerful shot beyond keeper Danny Lewis.

Harriers tried to hit back and Jackman saw a 20-hard effort fly just a fraction wide.

Wrexham nearly added another a minute into the second half but Artell headed wide at the far post.

Harriers though went in search of a goal that would provide a lifeline.

Jackman saw a shot hit Artell on the arm but the referee did not give a penalty.

But defender Dunkley made it 1-1 when fired home at the second attempt at the far post from a Storer free-kick.

Anthony Malbon then headed off target as Harriers searched for a second, but they were stunned in the 69th minute when Wrexham took the lead again.

Devaney fouled Martin Riley to concede a free-kick on the left and Clarke's low effort somehow flew through a crowded box and flew into the back of the net.

Gash nearly found a brilliant reply. The striker dribbled past a host of players before unleashing a rasping rising effort, which Maxwell was forced to dive full-stretch to get a hand to it.

But Harriers found themselves trailing 3-1 on the day after Josh Gowling fouled substitute Adrian Cieslewicz after he had sped into the box.

Ashton, who had also scored from the spot in the first leg, beat Lewis and killed off Harriers' dreams of playing at Wembley.

Harriers: Lewis, L Vaughan, Storer, Williams (Gittings, 77), Malbon, Pilkington (Johnson, 62), Jackman, Gash, Dunkley, Devaney (Rowe, 90) Gowling.

Subs not used: Briggs, N Vaughan.

Wrexham: Maxwell, Wright, Ashton, Riley, Harris, Ormerod (Cieslewicz, 61), Morrell (Adebola, 70), Keates (Little, 85), Clarke, Hunt, Artell.

Subs not used: Coughlin, Clowes.

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear) Attendance: 6,202 (1,650)

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