Braintree v Wrexham FC Preview

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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Taking a moment to consider Wrexham’s record against Braintree Town is a sobering indication of how far the club has fallen in recent years. Braintree’s progress in recent seasons has been admirable but those of us who recall Wrexham’s glory days will be depressed by the fact that the Essex club have gradually got the better of us as we’ve become better acquainted.

Last season they did the double over us, a feat we’ve never inflicted upon The Iron, and they scored three goals in each match too. We also have to go back to our first match with them back in November 2011, six clashes ago, to find our last clean sheet against them. After a bright start to the fixture, with back-to-back 5-1 wins, we haven’t beaten Town in three games.

That clean sheet came in a goalless draw at the Amlin Stadium which we ought to have won as they ended the game with ten men after Aswad Thomas’ dismissal for a foul on Curtis Obeng. The right back, who had been marauding up the right flank throughout, then put in an injury time cross to Danny Wright who somehow contrived to the free header plant straight at the keeper from close range.

To be fair to Wright, he went on to fill his boots against Braintree, his three goals being the most any Wrexham player has managed in this fixture. He got two the following November as we won 5-1 with Brett Ormerod, Nick Rushton and Adrian Cieslewicz getting the others.

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Our unbeaten record at The Amlin was emphatically shattered last season as we suffered a 3-0 defeat under caretaker manager Billy Barr. The players did little to assist Barr’s chances of claiming the job permanently as they capitulated in the second half of a match which was most memorable for Danny Reynolds nearly becoming the youngest scorer in Wrexham’s history on his debut. Dan Holman got one of the home side’s goals, which was more than he managed in a month with us earlier this season.

Tomorrow’s game occurs on an auspicious day in Wrexham’s history as perhaps the greatest player ever to pull on a red shirt made his debut for us on November 15th 1958. Arfon Griffiths went on to play more games for us than any other player in the club’s one hundred and fifty year history, not to mention then going on to manage the most successful side in our history. His first match for us came in humble beginnings though, as he lined up in a 2-1 defeat at Darlington three months after his seventeenth birthday.

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A less memorable anniversary also crops up tomorrow, as it will be seven years since Brian Little was appointed as our manager. As the man who presided over the club’s slide into non league football it’s fair to say his managerial record at Wrexham was over shadowed by that of Griffiths!

Mark Carrington makes his 175th career league appearance tomorrow while Andy Bishop played his 425th league game last Wednesday.

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