PREVIEW: Stockport County v Wrexham FC

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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Stockport are one of our most regular opponents, having faced us one hundred and seventeen times since our first meeting in 1891. The Hatters have had comfortably the upper hand though, with fifty two wins to our forty three.

Stockport are no strangers in cup competitions, having met them in nine ties in various competitions, and the record in knock out games is rather closer. Stockport have prevailed in five ties whereas we’ve gone through in four.

We’ve tried to redress the overall balance lately, winning three of the last four clashes between the two sides, but before that sequence of results Stockport beat us five times in a row. Those three wins were emphatic though, as we scored ten goals in the process of chalking them up.

The last time we played at Edgeley Park, in October 2012, we notched our first win there since 2005 in dramatic circumstances. We came back from behind through an own goal and took the lead through a Neil Ashton penalty.

When Ashton struck again from the spot with eight minutes left it looked for a moment like victory was assured, but the left back was immediately shown a second yellow card for his celebration and a late County goal meant we had to cling on for a 3-2 win.

Our best win at Stockport was that victory in 2005. We went north on the penultimate Saturday of the season knowing that relegation was virtually assured but went about the task of gaining the win required to keep our hopes alive with gusto.

After a quarter of an hour we were 3-0 up, and the game ended in a 4-1 victory, with Juan Ugarte grabbing the fourth hat trick – all scored away from home – of a remarkable season and Carlos Edwards getting the other.

Our last cup tie against Stockport was an LDV Trophy tie at The Racecourse in November 2004 and it ended in a 2-0 win for Wrexham thanks to goals from Dennis Lawrence and Danny Williams.

Chances are there will be a winner after ninety minutes tomorrow as there hasn’t been a draw in the last thirteen matches between Wrexham and Stockport.

The loss at Stoke ended Kevin Wilkin’s unbeaten cup record as Wrexham manager. It was his seventh cup tie, and up to that point he’d won three and drawn one FA Cup matches while his FA Trophy record is one draw and one win.

Now here’s a slightly surprising statistic. The defeat at The Britannia Stadium last Sunday was the first time we’ve conceded three goals in an away game this season. As our victory at Southport was our first away win in eleven games and three months, it’s rather unexpected to find our defence has held tight so often away from home, especially as Gateshead, Altrincham and Dartford have al managed to score three at The Racecourse.

An impressive milestone was brought up on Sunday as Andy Bishop made the four hundred and seventy fifth appearance of his career at Stoke.

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