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.
Halifax arrive in fine fettle, and they’ll be encouraged by happy memories of North Wales.
It’s thirteen years since The Shaymen came to The Racecourse, and their last trips here were fruitful for them. They claimed a 1-0 win in an LDV Vans Trophy match on their last visit, in December 2000, and were also victorious the previous time they played in North Wales, in a League Cup first round match.
There was a great deal of excitement surrounding the tie as the previous weekend Ian Rush had made his debut for Wrexham amidst great fanfare, and the side responded with an impressive 3-0 win over Reading. Halifax’s subsequent visit was seen as a foregone conclusion, but nobody bothered to tell the visitors!
Town were in League Two then, a division below Wrexham, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. Geoff Horsfield gave them an early lead, from which Wrexham never recovered, and in the end the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the second leg. Wrexham improved for that match, taking the game to penalties, but Town triumphed in the shoot-out.
For our last home win over Halifax you have to go all the way back to February 1992, when two second half goals in the space of ten minutes by Lee Jones and Gareth Owen earned a 2-0 victory. That was our only win over Halifax at The Racecourse in our last five attempts.
As you will have already worked out, recent matches between the two sides have tended to go in Halifax’s favour. In fact, they’ve won thirteen of the last twenty three games between the sides, stretching back to 1985, and we’ve won consecutive matches against them just once in that time.
We’ve only kept two clean sheets in our last eleven home games against them too, yet our early domination of this fixture, means that we still have a superior head-to-head record to Halifax, having won forty seven games, drawn twenty one and lost forty two.
The list of our top scorers in this fixture is dominated by some of the great names from the club’s history. Billy Tunnicliffe is our equal top scorer alongside another Wrexham legend, Tommy Bamford. They each got six goals against Halifax, with Albert Kinsey and Sammy McMillan level on five and Karl Connolly, Gordon Gunson, Gordon Richards and George Snow behind them on four.
None of them managed a hat trick though. The only Wrexham player to have put three past Halifax was Dick Yates, who got half of our goals in a 6-3 win in December 1947, a result which remains our biggest win over Town and also is the highest aggregate score between the two sides.
Our worst home result against Halifax came in the Third Division North in March 1936 when a goal from Charlie McCartney was a mere consolation in a 3-1 loss which was watched by a crowd of 946, the smallest to turn up to see the two sides clash at The Racecourse.