MARK CARRINGTON still can’t understand how Wrexham lost the 2015 FA Trophy final.
The Reds led 2-0 against part-time North Ferriby United through Louis Moult and Jay Harris, and heading for more success at Wembley having won the competition two years earlier.
But North Ferriby scored twice in the final 15 minutes to take the game into extra-time where they went 3-2 ahead.
Moult came to Wrexham’s rescue with a last-gasp equaliser meaning penalties were required to settle the contest, and North Ferriby secured an unlikely win as the Reds lost the shoot-out 5-4.
Kevin Wilkin was sacked as manager the following day and utility player Carrington, an unused substitute in the final, admits Wrexham should have lifted the trophy from a winning position.
“We played a lot of games to get to the final that year, there were a lot of replays, so I think we deserved to get there,” said Carrington ahead of Saturday’s first round tie in the competition against Harrogate Town at The Racecourse.
“On the day we were in control. To this day I still don’t know what went wrong.
“It was probably more disappointing the way the game went rather than the fact we lost at Wembley because we were so close to winning it. But that is football for you.
“It was a bit of a sour taste at the end of it so it would be nice to get back there and put it right.”
Wrexham had beaten Grimsby Town on a penalty shoot-out to win the FA Trophy on the club’s first ever Wembley appearance in March 2013.
The return to the stadium a few months later was more forgetable for Andy Morrell’s side as the promotion dream ended with a 2-0 loss against Newport County in the play-off final.
“Wrexham had just been to Wembley twice when I signed,” said Carrington, who joined in September 2013 and is the longest serving player in the squad.
“The club was on a high from the Trophy win.”
Carrington admits maintaining the promotion challenge is the priority this season with third placed Wrexham just two points behind leaders Macclesfield Town.
“The league is the main one,” said Carrington.
“If you don’t get promoted and you win the FA Trophy, it doesn’t really matter.
“It is a good day out at Wembley for the lads and everyone but the main focus this year is promotion.”
Manager Dean Keates, who skippered Wrexham to FA Trophy success four years ago, is set to make changes for the visit of National League North highfliers Harrogate and give fringe players a run-out.
But regardless of who plays, and the fact the league is more important, Carrington remains focussed on beating Harrogate and reaching the second round.
“Every time you step over that white line, it is a natural reaction for a footballer that you want to win every game that you play in,” Carrington added.
“If we go out there and we keep winning in the FA Trophy and keep knocking them down then you never know where it will take us.”