Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
The good news as we travel to Tamworth is that our record there has improved lately. The bad news is that we’ve yet to go there and enjoy an easy ride!
Our trip there last season was also an early season visit, and we’d be delighted with the same outcome. We emerged with a victory, although the circumstances were a little fortuitous as we won 1-0 courtesy of a eighth minute own goal from the head of Duane Courtney, who deflected a Johnny Hunt free kick past his own goalkeeper.
We were further aided by the first half sending off of Tamworth striker Tommy Wright and we really ought to have won by a greater margin. Neil Ashton missed a penalty and, as the home side left gaps in their pursuit of a late equaliser, we constantly cut them open only to spurn the chances we created. Most memorable was a incredible miss by Danny Wright, who sprinted through the defence, rounded the goalkeeper, but then failed to hit the target when presented with an open goal!
That was our second consecutive win at The Lamb, as the season before we came away from a bad tempered match with a 2-1 win. Both sides went into the match on the back of FA Cup heroics the weekend before, as Wrexham had drawn at Brighton and Tamworth had put up a brave showing in losing 2-0 at Everton.
The Dragons got off a perfect start when a trademark strike from outside the area by Jamie Tolley gave us a fifth minute lead, and our advantage was doubled when Jake Speight, who had been engaged in a running battle with Tamworth’s right back and the crowd for the first half hour of the match, had the last laugh with a neat finish.
Tamworth pulled one back in the second half, leading to a frantic conclusion as they threw the kitchen sink at Wrexham, but the visitors held out. Not that the action was totally over though, as tensions simmered over outside the changing rooms after the final whistle!
Our two matches at Tamworth before those victories were less successful. Despite taking an early lead through Gareth Taylor in August 2009, we lost our first match there 2-1, and the following season it took a late Dean Keates goal to rescue a 1-1 draw.
In all, we’ve won four of our eight matches against Tamworth, drawing three and losing just once.
There are plenty of personal records to record this week. Andy Bishop plays his three hundred and seventy fifth career league game tomorrow, his impressive tally of one hundred and fifteen goals coming at a rate of just under one every three games. Also, if fit, Mark Creighton will play his two hundred and seventy fifth league match
The milestones were racking up at Halifax on Tuesday night too. Joslain Mayebi played his seventy-fifth game for Wrexham, and Jay Harris played the two hundred and fiftieth game of his career.