Match ends, Stoke City 3, Wrexham 1.
- Wrexham take second-half lead at Britannia
- Arnautovic levels with 10 minutes remaining
- Stephen Ireland double seals win
- Stoke into Monday's fourth-round draw
Non-league Wrexham surrendered a second-half lead as Premier League Stoke City progressed in the FA Cup.
The Conference side - 97 places below the Potters in the football pyramid - led through Mark Carrington's header, sending 5,000 travelling fans wild.
But Marko Arnautovic tapped in when substitute Peter Crouch was denied and another replacement - Stephen Ireland - drove in from 18 yards.
Ireland added a third with a powerful finish as Stoke reached round four.
The Potters - a comfortable 11th in the Premier League - look well placed to target a cup run with no obvious threat of relegation from the top flight.
But a repeat of their 2011 run to Wembley looked in jeopardy against a side known for their own FA Cup exploits until Mark Hughes's introduction of Crouch paid dividends as he created two quick-fire goals.
Hughes, a three-time FA Cup winner as a player, is Wrexham born and knew all about his opponents' cup pedigree.
The Welsh side claimed the scalps of Arsenal, Ipswich and Middlesbrough in the '90s and although they are now in a seventh straight season outside the Football League, arrived at the Britannia in confident mood, with one defeat in eight.
With an army of their supporters making the 40-mile trip to fill Stoke's South Stand, Kevin Wilkin's side showed energy and discipline to shut down space in a first half devoid of chances.
Their 20-year-old on-loan goalkeeper Jonathan Flatt excelled and in just his fourth senior appearance brilliantly denied Crouch an opener in the second period, tipping a header over the bar.
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It was a first serious threat from Stoke, who looked disjointed having made seven changes, and when Dragons' midfielder Wes York curled a 25-yard effort against the crossbar the away contingent sensed an upset.
It appeared to have arrived moments later when Carrington connected with Connor Jennings's right-wing cross to power a header into the bottom corner - but dreams of a first fourth-round appearance since 2000 were short-lived.
|Never in doubt|
|Stoke have met Wrexham 16 times and won on 15 occasions|
Crouch muscled space in the box and when Flatt - who now returns to Wolves - saved his effort, Arnautovic could not miss.
Ireland too profited from Crouch's efforts as the tall centre forward executed a perfect knockdown for the midfielder to score with a low drive from 18 yards.
The Irishman's second was more intricate as an exchange of passes around the edge of the area afforded the ex-Manchester City player time to pick his spot and send the 2011 runners-up into Monday's draw.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "At 1-0, I thought we were going out to be perfectly honest. We didn't play anything like we should have done and credit to Wrexham, they were excellent.
"In the end we got away wit it. We made changes at the end to try to get some craft into our play and thankfully Stephen Ireland took the game away from them.
"It's been a tough period for everybody and I think I have 17 or 18 players I can call upon. I was hoping I didn't have to use the likes of Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters but felt we needed to in the end."
Wrexham manager Kevin Wilkin: "I am very proud but there is a lot of disappointment in the dressing room.
"It is a difficult one to take when we have gone as close as we have. We are proud of what we did but it is tinged with a bit of disappointment that we haven't got at least a replay."
- 20CameronSubstituted forIrelandat 76'minutes
- 21SidwellSubstituted forCrouchat 62'minutes
- 18DioufSubstituted forWaltersat 61'minutes
- 27FlattBooked at 86mins
- 2CarringtonSubstituted forMoultat 90'minutes
- 15EvansBooked at 75minsSubstituted forClarkeat 82'minutes
- 16YorkSubstituted forBishopat 71'minutes
- Simon Hooper
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 3, Wrexham 1.
Attempt blocked. Louis Moult (Wrexham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Goal! Stoke City 3, Wrexham 1. Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.
Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Blaine Hudson (Wrexham).
Substitution, Wrexham. Louis Moult replaces Mark Carrington.
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andy Bishop (Wrexham).
Hand ball by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).
Goal! Stoke City 2, Wrexham 1. Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marc Wilson.
Jonathan Flatt (Wrexham) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Substitution, Wrexham. Joe Clarke replaces Rob Evans.
Attempt missed. Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.
Goal! Stoke City 1, Wrexham 1. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Johnny Hunt.
Robert Huth (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andy Bishop (Wrexham).