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’ve a score to settle with Dartford tomorrow. While our away record against them is good, with an opening day victory under our belts this season and a five goal thrashing doled out at Princes Park in the last campaign, our home record against The Darts is rather grim. Both times they’ve ventured to North Wales they’ve been considered to be underdogs, but on each occasion they’ve departed by far the happier side.
In September 2012 we went into our clash expecting to impose ourselves on a newly-promoted Dartford side but suffered an early setback when Danny Harris scored in the fourth minute. To their credit, the visitors didn’t sit on their lead but pushed on looking for more and we were able to capitalise on the exciting, open nature of the game and equalise through Danny Wright.
Wright’s goal turned the game in our favour and when Andy Bishop scored his first Wrexham goal just before the break it looked like we were going to push on and claim a comfortable victory. We posed a constant threat going forward, no doubt in part because an early injury to Stephen Wright meant Glen Little was making one of his rare extended cameo performances.
However, we failed to take our chances and were punished when Lee Noble scored in the final minute to earn a 2-2 draw.
Last season things went even worse for us as we collapsed to defeat against The Darts at The Racecourse. Again Dartford got an early opening goal when Andy Pugh opened the scoring after ten minutes, but once more we equalised, this time through Joe Clarke in the twenty first minute, and looked to have regained control of the match.
However, as in the previous season’s clash we failed to kick on, and in injury time at the end of the first half Elliot Bradbrook scored what would turn out to be the winning goal.
Clarke has enjoyed playing against Dartford, it would seem, and the two goals he has managed in this fixture puts him equal top of our list of scorers against The Darts, along with Danny Wright, Brett Ormerod and Wes York, who marked his debut by scoring both the goals when we beat them 2-1 at Princes Park on the first day of the season.
It’s a mark of how much better we’ve fared in Kent than in Wrexham against Dartford that we’ve managed just three goals against them at The Racecourse, but eight at Princes Park.
Defences don’t seem to enjoy this fixture as in five matches both sides are yet to keep a clean sheet. Wrexham have used four goalkeepers in those games – Joslain Mayebi, Chris Maxwell, Andy Coughlin and Daniel Bachmann – but none of them have managed a shut-out!
A repeat of the last time we played on December 20th would do very nicely tomorrow. In 2008 we beat Eastbourne Borough 5-0 on that date, with Marc Williams scoring a hat trick and Neil Taylor curling in a beauty.