Wrexham recover from early setback to seal their return to the Football League
Wrexham are back in the Football League after a 15-year absence as Paul Mullin’s brilliant brace fired them to a 3-1 win over Boreham Wood.
Mullin took his goal tally for the season to 47 in providing a script worthy of Wrexham’s co-owners – the Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney – who were among a 10,162 crowd to see the Welsh club secure the National League title.
Boreham Wood had threatened to be the ultimate party-poopers with Lee Ndlovu scoring in the first minute but Elliot Lee equalised before Mullin stole the second-half with two superb solo efforts.
Reynolds and McElhenney, who had been joined by fellow Hollywood star Paul Rudd in their executive seating area, celebrated as Wrexham’s title and promotion was confirmed and Notts County’s brave challenge was finally ended.
County’s 5-2 victory at Maidstone earlier in the day ensured Wrexham had to win to avoid the title race being decided on the final weekend of the season.
The game fell on the 45th anniversary of Wrexham’s promotion to the second-tier of English football when Mickey Thomas and company routed Rotherham 7-1 at a delirious Racecourse Ground.
Nearly half a century on it was expected to be a lot tougher with Boreham Wood boasting the meanest defence in the National League, having conceded only 35 goals in 43 games.
Boreham Wood, seventh at kick-off, were also in the play-off mix with their own aspirations of playing in the Football League this season.
What happened inside the opening 43 seconds certainly was not in the Wrexham script.
Eoghan O’Connell made a hash of clearing Jack Payne’s pass and Ndlovu coolly chipped the stranded Ben Foster.
The Racecourse was in deathly silence, except for the pocket of visiting fans, and Boreham Wood could take confidence from the fact that they had not lost in the last 43 games they had taken the lead, a run dating back to 2021.
But Wrexham were undeterred by the setback and Ben Tozer headed over under pressure before the equaliser arrived after 15 minutes.
Ryan Barnett whipped in a delicious cross from the right and the unmarked Lee headed home his 14th goal of the season.
Chances came and went at both ends, Zak Brunt firing over from 25 yards and Boreham Wood going even closer when Femi Ilesanmi directed his header wide at the far post.
Mullin sent a spectacular bicycle kick wide before a more conventional effort lacked the power to trouble goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore.
But Mullin’s next attempt seven minutes into the second half was a sensational effort that sent the Racecourse wild.
Mullin chased a forward ball into the corner and nothing seemed on even when he turned away from David Agbontohoma and cut inside towards the penalty area.
But Mullin advanced into the box to unleash a superb right-footed curling shot past Ashmore and into the top corner of the net.
Mullin gave them precious breathing space after 71 minutes as he cleverly fended off one defender to run at another, Will Evans, find a yard and beat Ashmore’s dive with a firm left-footed strike.
It finally took Wrexham out of County’s reach on 110 points and signalled their return to the Football League following their demotion in 2008.