PREVIEW: Wrexham AFC v Altrincham 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.

Prepare yourself for action tomorrow as Altrincham’s recent visits to The Racecourse have been characterised by a series of red cards.

Last season ended nine against ten as the match turned dramatically just before the break.

Wrexham were coasting at that point. Elliott Durrell and Louis Moult had put us ahead and Altrincham were down to ten men after Scott Leather had been dismissed for a wild tackle.

However, a controversial straight red card shown to Moult in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half, turned the match on its head.

Ten minutes into the second period Andy Bishop followed Moult down the tunnel and Kevin Wilkin opted to park the bus. Under constant pressure, Wrexham finally cracked and conceded three goals in nine minutes as Altrincham managed to grab a memorable win.

Tom Kearney

Tom Kearney

We also paid the price after a sending off in March 2010 when The Robins arrived for a league match. We’d gone ahead early on through Wes Baynes but the game took on a fractious air as we failed to capitalise on our initial superiority.  The match turned in Altrincham’s favour when Frank Sinclair was dismissed for a wild challenge which broke the leg of ex-Wrexham captain Tom Kearney.

We failed to recover from the loss of the centre back and were punished with eight minutes left when Greg Young struck to earn Altrincham a draw.

As you might have deduced, our home record against Altrincham isn’t great. In fact, it’s considerably better on their patch, where we’ve run up a couple of convincing victories.

The last time we beat them at The Racecourse was in February 2011. It was a tight scrap though, as Altrincham put late pressure on us to earn a draw. Andy Morrell gave us the lead just before the break and we looked home and dry when Adrian Cieslewicz put us 2-0 up with five minutes left. However, Alty immediately pulled one back and we had to dig in to clinch the points.

Our only other home win over Altrincham came back in November 1963, when we clashed in the first round of the FA Cup. We’d had to work hard to avoid an upset in at Moss Lane initially, emerging with a goalless draw, but were more comfortable in the replay. Mickey Metcalf scored two and Tecwyn Jones got the other in a 3-0 win.

Sunday marks a notable anniversary in Wrexham’s history, as it is will be 43 years to the day since our first match in Europe. Such continental adventures might seem a distant notion now, but in 1972 we travelled to Switzerland to line up against FC Zurich in the European Cup Winners Cup. We fell behind shortly after the break, but Albert Kinsey equalised a minute later to earn a 1-1 draw.

Wrexham and Zurich take the field.

Wrexham and Zurich take the field.

Back at The Racecourse a fortnight later John Neal’s side finished the job, coming from behind once more to win 2-1 through second half goals from Billy Ashcroft and Mel Sutton.

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