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Football: Wrexham overcome Dover in Hollywood-esque 11-goal thriller

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney thought they'd seen every single blockbuster going when they took over National League side Wrexham, but they perhaps didn't consider the drama that lower league football can provide.

Many eyes have been on Wrexham ever since the two A-listers made the surprising choice to refocus their energy from box office smashes to box-to-box midfielders and while their season began slowly, they have climbed up the table.

Saturday's home match against Dover looked to be a formality. Wrexham had won six of their last seven matches, rising to the thick of the play-off battle. Dover, meanwhile, were rock bottom, with only one win all season and still on negative points.

Indeed, the visitors were 28/1 to win the match before kick-off, roughly the equivalent to Norwich beating Manchester City at the Etihad when the pair played earlier in the season. Wrexham, meanwhile, were priced at 1/12.

Fast start for Dragons

Wrexham went 2-0 up inside 20 minutes in a match which had always threatened to be a one-sided affair.

Paul Mullin, one of Wrexham's big-money signings, gave them the lead after six minutes before James Jones, another who swapped the comforts of the EFL for a National League scrap, made it 2-0.

After the first goal, Wrexham could have been backed at 1/200 to win with Dover 150/1 - a comeback seemed a less than remote possibility and Dover looked buried.

However, despite not winning an away game since February 2020, the south coast side suddenly sprung into life and the score was 2-2 before half time thanks to goals from George Wilkinson and Alfie Pavey.

For those optimistic enough to have had a punt on 6-5 being the result, it was available at 350/1.

Dover set for the unthinkable

At this stage, Reynolds and McElhenney must have thought they were in a simulation of some bad football movie because what was about to unfold was bordering on fantasy.

German forward Michael Gyasi, who had never scored for Dover before the Racecourse Ground visit, suddenly transformed into prime Miroslav Klose, with three excellent penalty box finishes and the stadium was stunned into silence.

Dover were now 1/14 and Wrexham fans began to ponder with their team priced at 22/1. Was this the moment their season was about to unravel and promotion dreams turned into dust?

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Dragons fire back to victory

Of course not. The protagonist always wins in these sorts of battles and Wrexham came back to take the game in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Forward Ollie Palmer responded with two quick goals before the 70-minute mark but fans were subjected to 20 more nail-biting minutes before parity was restored.

By this point, they were 40/1 to grab the unlikeliest of triumphs. But then, Wrexham were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and midfielder Jordan Davies stepped up and curled a delightful effort into the far corner.

Time was on Wrexham's side - nine additional minutes and you could almost sense a winner in the air.

Having salvaged a point with the free-kick, Davies was the superhero of the day for Wrexham.

Throwing everything, including the metaphorical kitchen sink at Dover, a corner was sent into the box and glanced on at the far post before Davies applied the finish.

Cue mayhem

A scriptwriter's dream. The scope for bad puns was off the charts.

Wrexham, with their Hollywood actor-owners, had produced their own 90-minute masterpiece which laid bare every dramatic trope going. A life-affirming, gripping, turbo-charged game of football that could offer a springboard back to the EFL.

The win saw them go second and while the 11-point gap to Stockport in the sole automatic promotion place looks to be insurmountable, Saturday proved that word might be obsolete where Wrxeham are concerned.

They can be backed at 6/5 to achieve promotion to League Two and the spirit they demonstrated on Saturday will only stand them in good stead!

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