It’s a long trip to Torquay, but at least we’ll have memories of what happened there last season to keep us going!
Our last trip to Plainmoor was the most memorable we’ve made, of course. We travelled there for the second leg of the FA Trophy semi-final with a place at Wembley at stake and a 2-1 first leg lead in our pocket.
There was an edgy feeling that, in letting The Gulls pull a goal back at The Racecourse when we appeared to be coasting to victory, we’d opened the door to them for the second leg, but that nervousness disappeared as Kevin Wilkin’s side put in a ruthless display to punish the home side’s sloppy defending.
Louis Moult helped himself to the opener and Kieron Morris, on loan from Walsall, showed a keen eye for the crucial goal-he also got the winner in the cross-border derby against Chester of course- as he grabbed two for himself in a 3-0 win.
That victory was our biggest ever at Plainmoor in twenty visits, and our 3-1 win against The Gulls at The Racecourse at the start of this season means we head to Devon looking for a fourth consecutive win on this fixture for the first time, having managed runs of three wins in a row in the early 1970s and the mid-1980s.
In general we’ve done fairly well at Torquay. Last season’s win was our sixth, although we’ve lost there ten times as well as managing four draws. Our last league win there came in November 1985, and the identity of one of our scorers made it a remarkable occasion.
Neil Salathiel was hardly one of life’s natural goal scorers. He played in three hundred and two games for Wrexham, but hit the net just three times! However, the burly right back scored his first career goal in this 3-1 victory at Plainmoor, with Jim Steel and an own goal rounding off the scoring.
His other goals, bizarrely, came in the same match as a year and a half later he struck twice in a 3-0 win at Southend!
Funnily enough, his son nearly added a remarkable Wrexham scoring feats too! In the last league game of the 2010-11 season he came on to make his only league appearance for the club and nearly scored with a diving header. If the ball gone the other side of the bar he’d have claimed Craig Morgan’s record for the club’s youngest ever scorer!
Our worst loss at Torquay was also memorable. On the opening game of the 1987-8 season we were confident that we were set for a good campaign as Dixie McNeil had brought in a number of key new signings.
Four of them made their debuts that afternoon and one of them, Mike Carter, opened the scoring. However, we were behind by half time and ended up losing 6-1!
Our new keeper Rhys Taylor makes his one hundred and seventy fifth career league appearance at Torquay, while skipper Connor Jennings plays his seventy fifth game for Wrexham tomorrow.