Leader Preview: Wrexham FC v Aldershot Town 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.

Graham Cooper
Graham Cooper

Let’s hope Wrexham can keep up their home record against Aldershot, because it’s extremely impressive.

Aldershot have never won at The Racecourse, having lost thirteen and drawn four games, all in the league. Our record isn’t so good at The Recreation Ground, but overall we boast sixteen wins to The Shots’ twelve.

We got off to a terrific start in this fixture as we won our first seven clashes with The Shots at The Racecourse, and we’ve built on that since. Of the ten clean sheets we’ve kept against Aldershot, eight came at The Racecourse. Indeed, on their seventeen trips to North Wales, the side from Hampshire have only scored more than one goal twice. However, you might argue that they’re coming into form as those two occasions were their last two games here!

In September 1990 we went behind early on when Alan Kennedy put through his own net, but we swiftly took control. Andy Thackeray equalised, Graham Cooper grabbed a couple of goals after the break and Gary Worthington got a fourth in the last ten minutes. A late Aldershot goal was a mere consolation.

The previous season a late Aldershot goal was rather more important. Worthington had scored the only goal of the first half, and in a dramatic start to the second period The Shots equalised only to see Ollie Kearns swiftly put us back in front. However, a young Steve Claridge popped up to hit an equaliser which earned the visitors a draw.

Our best score line against The Shots is 4-0, and oddly we’ve done it three times with a hat trick scored each time! Martyn King  got the ball rolling in October 1964, Sam McMillan repeated the feat almost exactly a year to the day later, and Dave Smallman completed a hat trick of hat tricks in March 1975.

With four goals, Smallman is our top scorer against Aldershot. Joining King and McMillan one goal behind Smallman are Ray Smith and Arfon Griffiths.

This match takes place on the anniversary of perhaps the greatest day in Wrexham’s history, of course. Back on January 4th 1992 we beat Arsenal 2-1 to record a result which, even by our standards, was quite a giant killing. Indeed, it was perhaps the biggest shock the FA Cup has ever seen!

Perhaps a more relevant anniversary for the game against Aldershot is celebrated today though. Seventy nine years ago we registered our biggest ever victory at The Racecourse, beating New Brighton 11-1 in a Northern Section Cup match. Tommy Bamford scored five and Bill Bryant also got a hat trick. We’d probably settle for six goals and just one Wrexham player going home with the match ball tomorrow though; let’s not be greedy!

Having seen his side score five goals at Hyde in his hundredth league game as Wrexham manager, Andy Morrell will hope they commemorate another milestone in style tomorrow as they play their hundred and twenty fifth game under him in all competitions.

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