The FA Cup
StokeStoke City3WrexhamWrexham1

Stoke City 3-1 Wrexham

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
  • 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.

Wrexham celebrate
Mark Carrington gave Wrexham the lead on 73 minutes but they conceded three late 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.

Mickey Thomas' FA Cup wonder goal

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."

Wrexham fans
An estimated 5,000 Wrexham fans made the trip to Stoke
Stoke v Wrexham
Wrexham goalkeeper Jonathan Flatt, 20, had just four senior appearances to his name before kick-off
Mark Carrington scores
Mark Carrington's header was just his second goal in 26 appearances this season
Stephen Ireland scores
Stephen Ireland (centre) came off the bench to find the net twice in the closing stages



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 22Butland
  • 2Bardsley
  • 17Shawcross
  • 4Huth
  • 12Wilson
  • 20CameronSubstituted forIrelandat 76'minutes
  • 21SidwellSubstituted forCrouchat 62'minutes
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 16Adam
  • 24Assaidi
  • 18DioufSubstituted forWaltersat 61'minutes


  • 3Pieters
  • 6Whelan
  • 7Ireland
  • 19Walters
  • 25Crouch
  • 29Sørensen
  • 34Shenton


Formation 4-4-2

  • 27FlattBooked at 86mins
  • 30Pearson
  • 4Smith
  • 5Hudson
  • 3Ashton
  • 2CarringtonSubstituted forMoultat 90'minutes
  • 8Harris
  • 26Hunt
  • 15EvansBooked at 75minsSubstituted forClarkeat 82'minutes
  • 24Jennings
  • 16YorkSubstituted forBishopat 71'minutes


  • 1Coughlin
  • 6Clarke
  • 7Durrell
  • 9Moult
  • 10Bishop
  • 14Tomassen
  • 18White
Simon Hooper

Match Stats

Home TeamStokeAway TeamWrexham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Stoke City 3, Wrexham 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Stoke City 3, Wrexham 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Louis Moult (Wrexham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  4. Goal!

    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.

  5. Post update

    Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Blaine Hudson (Wrexham).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Wrexham. Louis Moult replaces Mark Carrington.

  8. Post update

    Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Andy Bishop (Wrexham).

  10. Post update

    Hand ball by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

  11. Goal!

    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.

  12. Booking

    Jonathan Flatt (Wrexham) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Wrexham. Joe Clarke replaces Rob Evans.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Oussama Assaidi (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Stoke City 1, Wrexham 1. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Johnny Hunt.

  19. Post update

    Robert Huth (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Andy Bishop (Wrexham).