This was the biggest occasion since Reynolds and McElhenney, an American actor and director who was the creator of TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, took over.
Fans serenaded Reynolds, who was in one of the directors’ boxes and was standing for most of the game, with a chant of “There’s only one Ryan Reynolds” near the end of the match when Wrexham were 3-2 ahead and looked like completing a win against an opponent that was down to 10 men.
Reynolds was seen walking across the field and to the locker room after the final whistle to speak to the players.
And he has a sequel to look forward to: Wrexham and Sheffield United will meet in a replay next month. Wrexham beat another second-tier team, Coventry, in the previous round.
The new Hollywood owners are using Wrexham for a behind-the-scenes TV series called Welcome To Wrexham, which is on Disney+.
Reynolds said he hopes to lead Wrexham into the Premier League.
“The plan is now, and has always been, the Premier League,” Reynolds said. “I can’t really put a date on that. But if it’s theoretically possible to go from fifth division to Premier League, why wouldn’t we do it?”
Liverpool out of FA Cup
In Brighton, Harvey Elliott put Liverpool ahead, but Lewis Dunk equalised just before halftime. The score stayed at 1-1 until Mitoma found the net in the 92nd minute.
It was the second time Brighton had defeated Liverpool in two weeks, having also beaten Juergen Klopp’s side 3-0 in the Premier League.
“Unbelievable ending. Sometimes you’ve got to win a game like that. We weren’t at our best today. Nowhere near it. But we ground it out against a top side and got the win,” Dunk told ITV Sport.
“We feel like we can beat anyone on our best days and we showed here we can beat them on our not-so-good days. We’ve got everything in our squad to keep pushing on and, hopefully, we can go further in the competition.”
The tie looked set for a replay when Brighton’s Solly March missed a golden opportunity to score in the 71st minute when he failed to beat Alisson from close range after Mitoma set him up with a brilliant low cross.
But Mitoma took things into his own hands, scoring a superb goal following a free kick as he controlled the ball on the half volley, dummied and rifled it home.
It was another disappointing result for Liverpool, who have struggled with form and injuries this season and are ninth in the Premier League standings.
“This season has been nowhere near good enough. At the start of the year, we wanted a fresh start but that hasn’t happened. We’ve been worse,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said.
“In the league, we haven’t been good enough and now we’re out of both cups,” he added.
Championship Stoke City progressed to the fifth round after beating fourth-tier Stevenage 3-1 as Jacob Brown scored an early goal followed by a stunning strike from Josh Laurent and a penalty by Lewis Baker.
Kerr in rare form
Sam Kerr’s love affair with the women’s FA Cup blossomed again with the Matildas star firing another consummate hat-trick to blast Chelsea into the fifth round.
On a day when fellow Australian Caitlin Foord also got on the scoreboard for goal-happy Arsenal, Kerr’s treble on her home patch at Kingsmeadow sank fellow Women’s Super League side Liverpool 3-2 and took her tally for the season to 16 goals in all competitions.
The 29-year-old appears to be rediscovering her sharpest form, having scored in all three matches since the start of 2023, including a double that helped knock Spurs out of the League Cup in midweek.
Remarkably, Kerr said she still had room for improvement after her strikes in the 32nd, 52nd and 79th minutes on Sunday (Monday AEDT) maintained a remarkable record in the cup competition.
She scored twice in last season’s final as Chelsea beat Manchester City, reprising her double in the showdown of the 2020-21 competition against Arsenal at Wembley.
“There’s plenty that needs improvement,” she said. “I wish I could do this every week but that’s a striker’s life, right – sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.
“But when my teammates are putting in balls like they did today, it’s pretty easy for me to score.”
She was indeed set up excellently for her treble, with fullback Niamh Charles sending over the cross from which she volleyed home a stunning first-half opener. Fran Kirby teed her up to slot home their second after the break.
Liverpool hit back with a thunderous strike from Ceri Holland but Kerr made it 3-1 with a trademark close-range header from another Charles delivery. The breathing space was needed as Liverpool again hit back with a late Gemma Bonner goal.
Asked why she scored so often at Chelsea’s Kingsmeadow home, Kerr shrugged: “I don’t know … because I live nine minutes away, can sleep in my own bed, eat my own food! I just like being at home playing in front of our amazing fans. There’s something nice about Kingsmeadow.”
Meanwhile, Foord kicked off a goal rush for WSL giants Arsenal against lower league side Leeds, netting from close range in the 10th minute to set them on their way to a 9-0 win.
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