Ryan Reynolds Watches His Soccer Team Score Epic Win

Wrexham AFC team poised for promotion after penalty kick saved in final moments
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2023 12:05 PM CDT

When actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought fifth-tier Welsh soccer team Wrexham AFC in 2021, they frankly stated their main goal was promotion—meaning elevation to a higher division. On Monday, "the Hollywood stars moved a big step closer to their dream" as the team moved to the top of the National League table with a three-point lead over Notts County and a game still in hand, the AP reports. The game, which began with the two teams even at 100 points and 106 goals each, may very well go down in Wrexham club history, per Sporting News' Brad Cox. It was back and forth until Elliot Lee scored in the 78th minute to put Wrexham up 3-2. Then Notts County was awarded a penalty kick for a hand-ball offense in the final seconds of play.

In a stunner, former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster blocked Cedwyn Scott's shot and brought down the house. "You don't have to feel connected to lower-tier English soccer to know that's a moment," writes Chris Branch at the Athletic, noting "genuine joy" was evident on the faces of the owners, both of whom were in the stands. Reynolds threw a fist into the air before embracing McElhenney, per the AP. "That was the most dramatic thing I've ever seen in my life," he said in the aftermath, per CNN.

"I can't remember playing in many better football matches myself," said Foster, who played eight games for England's national team. "That moment gives you goose bumps. It's as good as it gets." The win "will go down in club history" if Wrexham achieves promotion to the English Football League, three tiers below the Premier League, per Cox. But the owners' impact on the team and its community, including through the Welcome to Wrexham documentary series, has already been felt. McElhenney and Reynolds accepted the Freedom of Wrexham award earlier Monday, per the BBC. "I know that we are here so that you guys can thank us for some reason, but I feel like it is the other way around," said Reynolds. "I'm so touched I get to be a part of this story." (Read more soccer stories.)

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