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.
Clashes with Kidderminster tend to be feisty affairs, and merely adds to the mix. the return of Adrian Cieslewicz
We’ve been vulnerable to conceding goals by our ex-players this season as we’ve let three in already, and all at The Racecourse to boot. Chris Westwood netted at The Racecourse for Alfreton on Boxing Day, Jake Speight also got a goal for Alfreton, scoring from the penalty spot in November when they visited for an FA Cup tie and Paul Linwood. who made nine appearances for us in 2005 on loan from Tranmere, and opened the scoring for Chester in the derby last August.
Our home record against the Harriers since we dropped out of the Football League isn’t impressive, although it has improved recently. Admittedly we lost the league match at The Racecourse last season, although there were extenuating circumstances as Andy Morrell selected a second string side against title-chasing Kidderminster as we looked to rest our players before the play-offs. Even them we gave a good account of ourselves, but Danny Wright’s goal wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat.
However, Kidderminster have been to The Racecourse subsequently and suffered defeat in a game which, for us, had much higher stakes. The first leg of the play-off semi-finals last May was a controversial affair as Dave Artell’s ban for a red card at Mansfield was overturned and he opened the scoring with a header from a corner in the closing moments of the first half. A late Neil Ashton penalty secured a 2-1 victory and we went on to seal a place in the final in emphatic manner at Aggborough.
Overall, since dropping into the Conference we’ve played host to Kidderminster seven times. Winning three and losing two. However, those three wins have come in the Harriers’ last four trips to North Wales, so recent results have gone well. Having said that, apart from the play-off win we also beat them at home in the FA Trophy in December 2010. Our record in Conference home games against them is less impressive, as we’ve won one, drawn two and lost two. If you take away games into account as well, then our record in the Conference against them is poor, with just two wins and six defeats from ten games.
To find the Wrexham players who have excelled in this fixture you have to go back a long way. Our top scorer against Kidderminster is Alfred Smith, whose seven goals were scored in the first decade of the Twentieth Century.
Another player from the early part of the Twentieth Century, Bert Goode, is in second place a goal behind him and nobody else has scored more than three goals past the Harriers. The most successful current player in this fixture is Neil Ashton, who scored a penalty in each of our last two clashes.
There are a couple of milestones to record tomorrow as Jay Harris makes his two hundred and fiftieth career league appearance and Steven Wright makes his fiftieth league appearance for Wrexham.