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Wrexham reaches FA Cup first round after nearly blowing 3-0 lead at home

Wrexham AFC (90% Rotten Tomatoes, Critics' Choice darling, all episodes streaming now on Hulu, etc., etc.) have advanced to the first round proper of the FA Cup after defeating the part-timers of Blyth Spartans 3-2 in a fourth round qualifying replay Tuesday.

The opening match of this tie Saturday made history by becoming the first FA Cup qualifying match broadcast on American television (ESPN2). Wrexham took a second-half lead, but Blyth responded in the 88th minute to force a replay at the Racecourse Ground in Wales.

The sixth-tier side simply refused to give up against its fifth-tier (and fully professional) opposition, and that same spirit was demonstrated Tuesday (the match again broadcast on ESPN2) after Wrexham took a commanding 3-0 lead by the 37th minute.

The opening goal was beautifully turned home by Ollie Palmer.

Paul Mullin made it 2-0.

And Jordan Davies figured to have put Wrexham into the first round with the home side's third.

But Blyth catalyst JJ O'Donnell gave the visitors a glimmer of hope in the 54th. If I'm a National League manager, I'm signing him.   

Just four minutes later, it was game on after Michael Richardson volleyed home to pull Blyth within one.

The Racecourse was stunned as Blyth continued to come forward and Wrexham struggled to find its first-half rhythm. The home side cheaply gave away possession with increasing frequency and the groans hinted at a growing expectation of the worst. Wrexham fans haven't exactly lived a blessed existence.

But Blyth's search for another 80'+ equalizer was fruitless this time around.

Wrexham's reward for winning in the fourth qualifying round is $10,617 (probably what Ryan Reynolds makes every hour) and a trip to the first round proper. This is the stage where 48 clubs from EFL League One and Two join the competition, but Wrexham avoided the big boys in the draw and plays fellow National League side Oldham Athletic (16 places beneath Wrexham in the table) with $46,433 of prize money on the line. 

That match will take place Nov. 4-7 at the Racecourse. It's going to be great for Welcome to Wrexham season 2. 

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