Leader Preview: Kidderminster Harriers v Wrexham FC

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.

wrexham-celebrate-kidderminster

Wrexham return tomorrow to the scene of our best away performance last season. The 3-1 win at Aggborough last April in the second leg of the play-offs earned us a second trip of the season to Wembley and maintained the recent all-or-nothing nature of this clash.

The last eight meetings between the sides have ended in victory for one team or the other, the last draw coming in 2010, and looking back even further, only two of the last seventeen editions of this fixture have ended level!

Since we dropped into the Conference and renewed acquaintances with the Harriers, who we first met all the way back in 1905 in the Birmingham and District League, honours have been pretty even, with five victories stacking up against six defeats.

However, it was Kidderminster who had the upper hand in our earliest encounters after relegation from the Football League, winning our first three meetings, and in fact we failed to win any of our first five clashes against the Harriers at this level. We’ve come back strongly though, and are looking to win a third consecutive match against them for the first time in twenty five years.

That play-off game saw us triumph 3-1 thanks to goals from Brett Ormerod, Joe Clarke and Neil Ashton to coast through to Wembley 5-2 on aggregate. It was our biggest win at Aggborough since March 1921 when, in our last match against Kiddy before we went up into the Football League, we triumphed 4-2 with Bert Goode grabbing two goals.

That result started our most successful sequence of results at Kidderminster, but there’s no point in looking for any continuity between the four consecutive wins we managed at Aggborough from that point. The games were spread over eighty two years, with the final win seeing Lee Trundle grab both goals in a 2-0 win.

We lost the league fixture there last season, going down to a 2-0 defeat shortly before Christmas, but managed a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Aggborough the season before, thanks to an Andy Morrell goal in the forty-ninth minute of the first half.

We’ve got a good record in Kidderminster, winning ten and drawing one in twenty two visits. Not that it’s all been plain sailing though.  We suffered a 6-1 thrashing there in 1909, but five years later did even worse as we collapsed to a 6-0 defeat which is still our worst result there.

For our most prolific goal scorers in this fixture you have to go back to our time in the Birmingham and District League, when clashes with Kidderminster were a regular occurrence. Goode managed six goals past them, but he is eclipsed by Alfred Smith, whose total of seven goals includes the only hat trick scored by a Wrexham player against the Harriers, in a 3-3 home draw in March 1908.

In a week of milestones for him, Andy Bishop follows up Tuesday’s hat trick by making his three hundred and seventy fifth league appearance tomorrow.

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