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 face Aldershot tomorrow eagerly chasing early season points, but at least we can take comfort in the knowledge that our visitors from Hampshire have never relished the long trip north.
Indeed, they have never won at The Racecourse, having lost fifteen and drawn four games, all in the league. We’ve kept clean sheets in more than half our home against them too – ten in nineteen matches to be precise – and The Shots have only scored more than one goal twice in North Wales.
Of course Aldershot went through a terrible crisis in the 1990s and went out of business, forcing the club to reconstitute itself and climb back up the divisions. Since they returned to our level following a twenty two year hiatus, normal service has been resumed as we’ve beaten them both times at The Racecourse.
Mind you/we’ve had to work hard to get the result both times. Two seasons ago we opened the scoring through Joe Clarke but that early goal was soon nullified by Brett Williams. Despite dominating, we couldn’t find the winner until the 87th minute, when Jay Harris smashed in a superb long range goal.
Last season The Shots took the lead at The Racecourse for the first time since an Alan Kennedy own goal in September 1990 put us behind in the sixth minute of a 4-2 victory. when Dan Holman, who had been on loan to us six weeks earlier, scored with a fine effort from the edge of the box. However, we bounced back emphatically. A Mark Carrington goal ensured we went in level at the break, Andy Bishop gave us the lead three minutes into the second half and a Louis Moult penalty sealed a 3-1 win.
There’s a strange symmetry to our best results against Aldershot. Three times we’ve managed to beat them 4-0, and on each occasion a Wrexham player scored a hat trick.
First up was Martyn King, who got three goals in a 4-0 win In October 1964, with Clive Colbridge getting the other one. However, The Shots got swift revenge as exactly a week later we travelled south to the Recreation Ground and were walloped 5-0! In fact, those games were part of a remarkable sequence of high-scoring games Wrexham were involved in. For nine games in a row at least one of the sides scored three goals or more in a series of results which went 2-3, 4-1, 1-4, 4-0, 4-2, 0-5, 4-3, 3-0 and 4-1. You’ll be pleased to hear that the 4-2 win was over Chester!
Almost exactly a year to the day after King’s hat trick, Sammy McMillan repeated the feat, hitting three in a 4-0 win with Dennis Lambourne also on target, Then in March 1975 Dave Smallman stroked home a penalty to bring up his hat trick in a 4-0 win, with Geoff Davies also chipping in with a late one to ensure symmetry and secure a 4-0 win.
Smallman is our top scorer against The Shots, with four goals against his name, one ahead of King, McMillan, Ray Smith and Arfon Griffiths.