PREVIEW Eastleigh v Wrexham AFC

Each of the four games we’ve played at Eastleigh has ended in a draw, although we’ve constantly come closer and closer to emerging with all three points, and never came as close as we did last season.

Our first visit, in March 2015, saw us take the lead twice through fine strikes from Louis Moult and Neil Ashton, only to see The Spitfires manage two equalisers, the second from a controversial free kick award.

The following season Sean Newton’s goal saw us enter the latter stages of the game on a level footing, only to see Connor Jennings squander a chance to secure all three points when he missed a penalty.

The final game of the 2016-17 season was a farcical, half-hearted affair, but again we would have come away with all three points if Eastleigh hadn’t found a late reply to Jordan White’s header.

And then came last season’s painful affair. As our promotion push crumbled after the departure of Dean Keates, we desperately needed to emerge from the Silverlake Stadium with all three points, and it looked like Scott Quigley’s penalty had done exactly that, especially as a red card had reduced the home side to ten men half way through the second half. However, in the 4th minute of added time ten-man Eastleigh won a corner. The keeper went up and hurled himself at the ball, and in the confusion which ensued, they managed to scramble in the equaliser.

Kevin Roberts makes his 375th career appearance tomorrow, having played in his 325th league match at Maidenhead on Tuesday, while skipper Shaun Pearson plays his fiftieth Wrexham match.

The clean sheet last Saturday equaled a club record. It meant we’d shut out our opponents in each of our first three games of the season for the first time since 1973. Incredibly, we started the 1972 season in the same way, and the only other time we started a campaign with three clean sheets was in the Combination League in 1900.

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.

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