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.
Things have taken a turn for the better against The Silkmen recently. Two years ago I’d have started off by writing about how badly we’re been faring against them, but we’ve turned things around pretty spectacularly since then.
We’re unbeaten in five games against them, our last loss coming in November 2013 when we suffered a 3-2 injury time defeat at Moss Rose.
It’s tempting, if simplistic, to suggest that our upturn in fortunes owes a lot to one man switching sides! Connor Jennings has certainly been a pivotal figure in this fixture in recent years. He scored a hat trick as well as winning a first minute penalty, in that 2013 defeat, but he switched sides last season and started dishing our punishment on his old team!
In the last campaign we played The Silkmen four times and Jennings scored in three of them – he missed the other as he’d picked up a suspension for receiving a yellow card, naturally against Macclesfield!
We drew three of those four games last season, but the exception was a spectacular success. The FA Cup Qualifying Round replay ended in a 5-2 victory, with Andy Bishop helping himself to two goals and Johnny Hunt, Joe Clarke and Nick Rushton scoring the others. Lucky for Macclesfield that Jennings was suspended!
Jennings’ scoring feats put him second in the list of our top scorers against Macc. In fact, until last season Sammy McMillan was the only Wrexham player to have scored more than once against Macclesfield since the Nineteenth Century, having got both his goals in a 2-1 away win in the 1964 F.A. Cup.
There tend to be goals when the two sides meet, and in thirty two matches there has been just one goalless draw, a particularly dull affair at The Racecourse in April 2013. Ironically, the crowd of 4,351 is the biggest to attend this fixture. In six matches since then only one clean sheet has been kept by either side, in a 1-0 win at The Racecourse in April 2014 which saw Hunt score the only goal.
We’ve lost two league matches at home to Macclesfield: one of them was a 3-1 defeat on New Year’s Day 1993, with Lee Trundle scoring our goal but the bad start to the year wasn’t a sign of things to come as we were promoted at the end of the season. The other loss was the very first clash between the two teams, back in March 1891 in the Combination League, but the 2-1 defeat had extenuating circumstances as we turned up with just ten players!
Wes York plays his 75th game for Wrexham tomorrow. It’s natural to judge a winger by his end product, and a tally of fourteen goals and thirteen assists in those games is a decent return: it means on average he’s involved in a goal slightly more than once every three games. His pace certainly seems to be particularly effective against tiring defenders as his last five goals have come in the second half.