PREVIEW: Wrexham FC v AFC Telford United

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.

joe_clarke_jay_harris_Telford

We have a perfect record against Telford, having met them five times and won on each occasion.

Considering our close proximity it’s perhaps surprising to find that we’ve clashed so few times, and it wasn’t until 2011 that we encountered them for the first time in a league match. Before then the only time the two sides had met was in an FA Cup tie which was more significant for its consequences than its content.

The tie, in the second round of the competition in December 1991, was hard fought as United battled away in the hope of causing an upset. It was until nineteen minutes from the end of the match that their resistance was finally breached when Steve Watkin popped up to score the only goal of the match and that strike would prove to be remarkably significant not only for the club but also for the locally born striker.

In the next round we were given a home tie against league champions Arsenal and Watkin, who scored the historic winner, was certainly glad he’d put paid to Telford in the round before!

Our two home league matches against Telford, which were both played in 2012, each saw us score four goals past them.

On New Year’s Day, in front of a bumper crowd of 5,812, we were made to wait for our breakthrough thanks to a spirited rearguard action from the visitors. However, their resistance was broken in the most frustrating manner in the 34th minute when Shane Killock put the ball past his own goalkeeper.

That calamity opened the floodgates and a minute later United were two goals down as Mark Creighton came up for a set piece to slam the ball home.

To their credit, Telford continued to battle away though, and it wasn’t until the final quarter of an hour that they fully caved in. Jake Speight made it 3-0 and then Adrian Cieslewicz popped up to complete the scoring four minutes from the end.

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Telford seemed to be opposition perfectly suited to Cieslewicz’s speciality of making a late impact as he scored two goals past them in total, and both came in the last five minutes of matches.

In Boxing Day that year Telford arrived again. Wrexham weren’t quite as strong a side as they’d been the previous season, but were still pressing for a play-off spot and settled their nerves with an early strike as Brett Ormerod opened the scoring in the second minute.

However, once more the pattern of stubborn Telford resistance was repeated and again it wasn’t until the late stages of the game that Wrexham were able to cash in on their domination.

nick rushton

Nick Rushton added a second on the hour before a flurry of goals saw Danny Wright and Ormerod each strike within three minutes of each other, only to see Telford go straight down the other end and score a consolation goal a minute later to complete a 4-1 scoreline.

Jay Harris makes his 275th career league appearance tomorrow.

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