PREVIEW: Wrexham AFC v Barrow AFC

Wrexham need to get back to winning ways in the league after seeing their interest in the FA Cup end so disappointingly last Saturday.

The defeat to Gainsborough Trinity ended a run of seven unbeaten cup ties at The Racecourse, and that last defeat was to a Football League club: Oxford United beat us 2-1 in December 2013 in the FA Cup despite Joe Clarke giving us a half time lead.

To give the rarity of Saturday’s defeat further context, the loss to Oxford was the only time we’ve lost a home cup tie in fourteen games before the Gainsborough match. Furthermore, it was the first time we’ve lost at home to a lower division side since December 2011, when Andy Morrell responded to the danger of a fixture back log by selecting a reserve team for an FA Trophy match and saw them lose 2-1 to Hinckley Town.

The result also meant that, having started the season with five consecutive home wins, since then we’ve had a run of five home games without a win.

In fact, it’s the longest we’ve gone without a win at The Racecourse since April 2009, as our first season in the Conference petered out badly, when we suffered six home games without success.

At least we have good recent home form against The Blue Birds. The last two times Barrow have come to North Wales we’ve enjoyed comfortable victories. Jay Harris’ spectacular strike was the highlight of their last visit, in September 2012, as Andy Bishop and Rob Ogleby also struck in a 3-0 win, and six months earlier Danny Wright and Jake Speight scored in a 2-0 win.

Barrow have only won four times at The Racecourse, the most recent instance coming eighteen matches ago in December 1953, when we lost 2-1 despite Ron Hewitt’s goal. Our worst home defeat came in August 1951 when we crashed to a 4-2 loss.

On the other hand, we’ve beaten Barrow 5-0 three times at home, and on each occasion a home player went home with the match ball. In September 1956 Hewitt scored a hat trick with Gren Jones and Thompson also chipping in, Albert Mays got four in January 1929 with Gordon Gunson rounding off the scoring, and the season before it was Gunson who stole the headlines as he grabbed three with Roland Woodhouse and Archie Longmuir getting the others.

A fourth Wrexham player has also scored a hat trick against the Blue Birds. Brian Whitehouse got one in an FA Cup tie in November 1962 with Arfon Griffiths and Ron Barnes securing a 5-2 scoreline.

None of the hat trick heroes are our most prolific scorers in this fixture as Tommy Bamford got nine goals against Barrow.

Scoring is the norm in Wrexham-Barrow games. There were four goalless draws between the sides in their first ten meetings, but only two in the subsequent sixty-four.

Sean Newton plays his three hundredth career league match against Barrow, while Mark Carrington makes his seventy-fifth league appearance for Wrexham tomorrow.


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