Leader Preview: Wrexham FC v Barnet 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.

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Tomorrow’s match is a chance for Wrexham to improve a less than impressive home record against our visitors from North London.

We don’t have the best home form against Barnet, having won three and lost two of our six matches at Racecourse. It’s three home games since we beat them on our own patch and four since we kept a clean sheet against them, so tomorrow would be a good time to improve our fortunes in this fixture.

We suffered a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to The Bees the last time they travelled to North Wales, in October 2007. The match was a seventh defeat in eight home games and formed part of a horrible run of eleven losses in thirteen games. No wonder we were relegated to the Conference at the end of the season!

That defeat saw Barnet keep a rare clean sheet against us, although we have an equal amount of trouble shutting them out at the other end. In twelve games there have been no goalless draws and just two clean sheets apiece, so put your money on there being a few goals tomorrow.

Since the sides first came together in the 1991-2 season, with both teams winning their home games and keeping clean sheets in the process, the goals have flown in at an average of over three per game.

Steve Watkin set the ball rolling when the sides first met, in November 1991, scoring the only goal at The Racecourse, but it was the man who was to establish himself as Watkin’s deadly strike partner who would go on to profit most from matches against The Bees.

Our biggest win in the fixture was a 4-0 triumph in September 1993, with Gary Bennett scoring two and Jonathan Cross and Barry Jones getting one each. Bennett clearly enjoyed playing against The Bees, as he scored an injury time winner in the return fixture. With four goals, he’s our most prolific player in this fixture, one ahead of Mark Jones and two in front of Lee McEvilly.

Bennett also hit the net in Barnet’s most impressive result at The Racecourse. In September 1992, at the start of a season which would see both sides promoted, Barnet managed their first win in North Wales. Despite Bennett’s strike and another from Mickey Thomas, we had no real answer to Gary Bull, who within a couple of minutes of the start of the second half had registered the only hat trick scored by either side in this fixture.

The full list of Wrexham’s scorers against Barnet reveals some eclectic names though. Paul Warhurst, who was briefly with us on a short term contract, hit his only goal for us against The Bees, securing himself a place at number thirteen in the list of the oldest scorers in the club’s history and also earning himself a move…to Barnet! Also, on-loan strikers Robbie Foy and Matt Derbyshire struck against the side from North London before their career trajectories diverged significantly.

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