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.
We travel to Haig Avenue knowing we’ve always had a good record there, and recent results have only enhanced that fact!
Last season we enjoyed a last-gasp 2-1 win at Southport. We fell behind in the fourth minute but David Artell scored his third and last Wrexham goal ten minutes later. Three goals wasn’t a bad tally for a centre back but Joe Anyinsah’s winner was also the last time he scored for us, and frankly his tally of four is rather less impressive for a striker! At least it was a bit special; a fine shot from the edge of the area with three minutes left.
Our biggest win at Southport came two seasons ago. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much at Haig Avenue that day that we went back two and a half months later and fell just short of matching the 4-1 scoreline!
The margin of victory didn’t tell the whole story though. We trailed at the interval, but caught a lucky break ten minutes into the second half when Godfrey Poku picked up a second yellow card offence. Before Southport could adjust to their loss, Jay Harris had turned the free kick Poku conceded into an equaliser, and although the ten men battled hard, we eventually wore them down. Simon Grand’s own goal in the seventy eighth minute was swiftly followed by goals by Chris Westwood and Rob Ogleby as we scored three in eight minutes to seal our best win in forty two visits to Southport.
Our swift return trip there was for an FA Trophy quarter final, and again we found goals easy to come by. Joe Clarke started the ball rolling and Westwood got a second just before half time. The centre back must have enjoyed Southport’s hospitality as apart from the two goals he grabbed against them, he only ever scored one other for us!
Just before the hour Harris also grabbed his second goal at Haig Avenue of the season, and although ex-Wrexham winger Shaun Whalley pulled one back from the spot, we coasted into the semi-finals.
We’re unbeaten in our last nine matches against Southport, winning seven. Overall we’ve a comfortable upper hand over the Sandgrounders, with forty two wins to set against their twenty four. Our recent successes at Haig Avenue have helped boost our record there too, as we’ve returned unbeaten in twenty five of our visits, winning twelve and losing seventeen.
Our last defeat there was a 1-0 reverse on Boxing Day 1966 but we’re unbeaten in six games at Southport since. Hopefully we’ll be able to avoid the misfortune we suffered there in October 1926, when we crashed to a 6-0 loss which remains our worst result at Haig Avenue. That sparked a particularly bad patch of results there, as the following season we lost 4-1 and went down 5-3 two years later.
Tommy Bamford got a couple in that last match, and he’s our top scorer against Southport with eight, two ahead of another couple of names from the distant past, Archie Burgon and George Burditt.