As strange as it seems, we won’t see any football from our beloved dragons at the Racecourse for another two months, but before we say goodbye why not pop into our little time machines and relive the 2013/2014 season….I know I don’t really want to either!
This time last year we were gearing up for the play-offs as we beat Kidderminster Harriers to reach the final at Wembley in what really felt like ‘our year’. But of course a 2-0 loss to Newport and the rest as they say is history.
As we went into pre-season there were some major ins and outs in the transfer market. The departures of Chris Westwood and Martin Riley our main defenders who were so key to a succesful season in 2012/2013 it was a huge loss, as was the departure of wise head and fan favourite Glen Little. Many fans will say the biggest loss was Danny Wright to Conference rivals Forest Green Rovers, his goals were huge the previous season and would go on to be missed the following year. But some big signings were also made, Andy Bishop had a superb short loan spell in September 2012 and joined on a permanent basis in the summer, a really exciting signing for the reds fans. Other additions included Junior N’Tame who was recommended by goalkeeper Joslain Mayebi whilst Steve Tomassen returned from a successful loan at Airbus and was ready to play a huge part in the season and Joe Anyinsah was added in mid-August.
After a win against League One side Tranmere Rovers, a slim loss to Wolves and superb 1-1 draw with Championship Blackburn Rovers and 1-0 defeat to a full strength Premier League Stoke City. Wrexham also managed a trophy win in Scotland with Andy Bishop showing off his goal scoring prowess. It seemed all set and ready to take on Welling United on the first day of the season, and to no surprise, the top 5 favourites ran out 2-1 victors.
But it was a surprise when newly promoted FC Halifax Town managed a 2-3 win at the Shay, which lead to a six game winless streak, including of course a 2-0 home loss to Chester, but the less said about that the better. One major occurrence at the end of August was the departure of young 17 year old Bradley Reid, who earned a move to Wolves.
As September rolled by we saw a couple of new additions, as Mark Carrington joined he would go on to contend for player of the season, whilst former loan defender Dave Artell joined on a permanent basis. A 2-0 defeat at Nuneaton opened September and as the pressure mounted on player-manager Andy Morrell, the BT Sport cameras were in town for a fixture with an old enemy, Luton Town. Theo Bailey-Jones was handed a debut and shone for the reds, as he set up Andy Bishop for his first goal of the season. Johnny Hunt also got his first of the season, who’d have known that a genie was being let out of the bottle when it came to the young scousers goal tally.
The following Tuesday a 3-0 win over Gateshead at the Racecourse, which looked like the season being back on track, but astonishingly Wrexham went on a run of four games without a win as we rolled into October. The month ended an era of goalkeeping, as a huge error by Joslain Mayebi handed the ball to Cambridge United striker Kwesi Appiah who tucked the ball away to share the points. The following game away to Salisbury saw Andy Coughlin between the sticks. A 1-0 home win over Southport saw Wrexham go unbeaten in four and show some promise, ending the month in 17th after a torrid string of results.
November came around and the ever growing voice of the fans were calling for Morrell’s head, a 2-3 loss to Macclesfield was a bitter bow as Joe Anyinsah’s goal where he damaged his kidney was cancelled out as Connor Jennings hit the back of the net in the 90th minute to claim all three points. In the coming weeks the Dragons would take six points from nine and progress in the FA Cup, beating Alfreton in the 1st round. This was also of course the month where Cieslewicz’s ghost goal occured, a video which saw half a million people watch on amazed at the Conference fixture, which Wrexham lost 3-1. The game everyone was looking forward to was at home to Forest Green Rovers, as some bad blood between the club and Danny Wright would come to take eachother on, and to the chant of “Danny what’s the score” rung around the ground as Andy Morrell hit a volley that Ronaldo would be proud of, as well as Johnny Hunt bagging his 4th of the season. The following week we began our defence of the FA Trophy as we beat Gresley 2-1 at the Racecourse, the game being of significance as towering Mark Creighton played his last match for Wrexham in the tie, injury ending his career on twenty minutes, the problem having tormented him for over a year.
December saw the departure of “Mayebi’s mate” Junior N’Tame who after not playing as much as he’d like, had him contract terminated by mutual consent. The month began with a huge FA Cup 2nd round match against Football League opposition, as Oxford United, then top of League 2 took on the reds at the Racecourse. Wrexham took the lead to the amazement of the fans and onlookers watching on BT Sport, as Joe Clarke’s sweet volley beat the keeper. But ex Portsmouth winger Ryan Williams hit a double in less than three minutes in the second half to knock the reds out of the Cup. The following week we were knocked out of the FA Trophy as Luton Town beat the reds at Kenilworth Road, the tie ending 2-0 to the Hatters. Wrexham failed to beat Alfreton and Welling before ending the year with a 5-2 win at Hyde’s Ewan Fields.
January saw a change in the side as Polish winger Adrian Cieslewicz departed the club for Kidderminster Harriers, whilst Hednesford Town’s Elliott Durrell joined the side. The first game of 2014 saw defeat to Alfreton Town, followed by our first home game of the calender year, a 2-1 win over Aldershot, a screamer from Jay Harris earning the points. Seven points from nine were then collected in January.
As we arrived in February it seemed to be the worst yet as Wrexham earned just one point at Cambridge, dropping the remaining eleven. The sorry month was ended as player/manager Andy Morrell stepped down from his role, with assistant Billy Barr taking charge as the hunt for a new manager took place.
The Barr era began on the last game of the month at Luton, a 5-0 loss seeing a new low for the club. But Barr took the side to Hereford in March, a 2-0 win restoring some faith at Edgar Street. A 0-0 draw with Kidderminster Harriers and the calming of any Adrian Cieslewicz attack was followed by a 3-0 loss to Braintree Town, and the decision on Barr’s application was shredded. A 3-1 loss to Grimsby Town and 2-0 home win over Hereford were taken by Barr before the announcement of Kevin Wilkin as the new manager of Wrexham Football Club.
Wilkin’s first game ended in a 1-1 draw at home to Salisbury and ended the month with a 1-2 loss away to Woking in a month where Kevin Thornton, the FA Trophy hero left to join Tamworth on loan, whilst Theo Bailey-Jones joined Colwyn Bay on loan. Returning was Bradley Reid, the youngster making his second debut in the loss at Woking.
April came and the final month of a dreadful season was upon us. It began at home to Grimsby Town, and a low strike from Patrick McLaughlin inflicting more pain on Wrexham supporters. In his fourth attempt, Kevin Wilkin managed his first win as Wrexham manager, a 1-0 win over Macclesfield curtsy of a Johnny Hunt goal. And back to back wins were secured for the first time since January, as Wrexham beat Wilkin’s former club Nuneaton after a superb second half. This of course lead to a Cross Border Derby, where Wrexham seek revenge. An end to end fixture ended 0-0 and would prove to be the downfall of Chester who would go on to be relegated. The final home game saw a 0-1 defeat to Lincoln in a poor performance for Wrexham, almost the story of the season. Finally the reds took on Forest Green Rovers on the final league game of the season, as a game which was meant to be a title decider at the beginning of the season, was a mid table formality, an early Rovers lead was cancelled out by a Johnny Hunt 90th minute penalty. A late goal showing signs of promise next season?
In all honesty this season has been a write off, a hangover from last years play-off final. But manager Kevin Wilkin is set to undertake a major overhaul of the side, dead wood is to be shifted and new blood added, the 2014/2015 season will be very very interesting.