Grimsby Town secured another dramatic victory in extra time to shatter Wrexham’s dreams of promotion to the National League.
Paul Mullin’s penalty gave Wrexham the lead but John McAtee equalized while Luke Waterfall gave Grimsby the lead.
Ben Tozer and Mullin made it 3-2 and although Ryan Taylor and Mani Dieseuvwe restored Grimsby’s lead Jordan Davies equalised.
Waterfall earned a 119th win for Grimsby, who had beaten Notts County in overtime in the play-off eliminator.
Grimsby will now face West Ham’s Solihull Moors or Chesterfield in the final at the London Stadium on Sunday 5 June.
The Mariners are now 90 minutes from a quick return to the Second Division, while Wrexham’s absence from the EFL will now stretch into a 15th season.
Wrexham came into play after two losses – on the final day of the National League regular season he was beaten at Dagenham and Redbridge as they lost to Stockport County for the title, and then the FA Trophy final to Bromley.
Manager Phil Parkinson wanted his players to use their Wembley disappointment to inspire them against a Grimsby side buoyed by a dramatic comeback at the Notts County Eliminator, with Deruvwe’s goal deep in extra time securing the win.
Mariners boss Paul Hurst said his side arrived on the track as underdogs, with Wrexham finishing the regular season by 11 points and losing just once on the track during the campaign.
Grimsby got the better start, netting the ball after four minutes through McAtee’s strike, but the goal was ruled out for offside while another attack led to a corner from which Ryan Taylor headed over the bar.
Within a minute, the home side’s first significant attack resulted in a penalty after Mullin was brought down by former Dragons defender Waterfall.
Wrexham’s top scorer – who scored 26 league goals during the regular season – flicked his shot over the top of the net past Max Crocombe.
But amid the home fans’ celebrations, Grimsby reacted immediately when, out of nowhere, McAtee’s stunning 25-yard shot equalized.
The game didn’t let up as a shot from Dragons full-back Bryce Hosannah was deflected by Crocombe, while Mullin’s goal during a good period for the home side was disallowed.
Crocombe also made a good save when the ball deflected off the head of his own defender Andy Smith, while Wrexham called for another penalty for a foul on Hosannah and it fell on deaf ears.
Grimsby came out early in the second half in much the same way they started the game when McAtee forced Christian Dibble to save with his legs before the goalkeeper had to exert himself at full power to deny Harry Clifton.
The visitors continued to press and a cross from the right found Waterfall at the far post for his eighth goal of the season.
Hurst’s men had looked far more composed than their hosts and were all the more likely to score with chances for Clifton, Ben Fox and Danny Amos.
The game was to be turned on its head with two goals in the space of a minute, which saw Wrexham regain the lead.
From Luke Young’s corner, Tozer headed home at the far post to level the home side and two minutes later Mullin scored from Ollie Palmer’s shot.
Just when it looked like Wrexham were in front, Grimsby hit back again with a header from Taylor to make it 3-3 before a header from semi-final hero DERUVWE put them ahead.
But another twist in the story saw Davies head home Young’s corner for the home side and despite chances for Palmer and Callum McFadzean the game went into overtime.
Both teams struggled during a tense overtime in which Tristan Abrahams, brought on from Grimsby, shot into the sidenet before Waterfall’s header from Jordan Cropper’s throw-in gave Hurst’s men the win.
Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson said:
“Me, the staff and the players hurt because we conceded goals that we shouldn’t have conceded.
“It’s always been a fight in terms of waterfall and set pieces, we know how strong he is. That cost us today.
“I felt like we were going to win today and I felt like few things went against us to stop that.”
- 8thYoungBooked at 98 minutes
- fifteenFrenchReplaced byJarvisat 120′protocol
- 32CleworthReplaced byO’Connorat 91′protocol
- 6tozer45 minutes booked
- 17HosannahReplaced byMcAlindenat 73′protocol
- 35palmersBooked at 105 minutesReplaced byhydeat 105′protocol
- 6waterfallBooked at 28 minutes
- 22amos24 minutes bookedReplaced bypearsonat 90′protocol
- 18Esteves Sousa
- 28holohanReplaced byRaichyat 102′protocol
- 10McAteeReplaced byAbrahamsat 87′protocol
- 29Taylor36 minutes bookedReplaced byThisuvweat 75′protocol
- Adam Herzzeg
Game ends, Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 5.
Second half extra time ends, Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 5.
Substitution, Wrexham. Daniel Jarvis replaces Tyler French.
Goal! Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 5. Luke Waterfall (Grimsby Town).
Second half extra time begins Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 4.
First half extra time ends, Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 4.
Substitution, Wrexham. Jake Hyde replaces Ollie Palmer.
Ollie Palmer (Wrexham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Substitution, Grimsby Town. Arjan Raikhy replaces Gavan Holohan.
Luke Young (Wrexham) is yellow carded for a bad foul.
Substitution, Wrexham. Thomas O’Connor replaces Max Cleworth.
First half extra time begins Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 4.
Substitution, Grimsby Town. Shaun Pearson replaces Danny Amos.
Second half ends, Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 4.
Substitution, Grimsby Town. Tristan Abrahams replaces John McAtee.
Goal! Wrexham 4, Grimsby Town 4. Jordan Davies (Wrexham).
Goal! Wrexham 3, Grimsby Town 4. Emmanuel Deruvwe (Grimsby Town).
Substitution, Grimsby Town. Emmanuel Deruvwe replaces Ryan Taylor.
Substitution, Wrexham. Liam McAlinden replaces Bryce Hosannah.
Goal! Wrexham 3, Grimsby Town 3. Ryan Taylor (Grimsby Town).