Let’s hope there’s no repeat today of our last trip to Maidstone, when the referee took centre stage. Sam Allison’s erratic performance had a massive influence on a day when almost everything went wrong for Wrexham.
Our problems began before the match when Chris Dunn injured himself in the pre-match warm-up, so Christian Dibble was dramatically thrust into his Wrexham debut.
Despite the disruption, we took an early lead through an Alex Reid header, but within five minutes United were level when Dibble was beaten to a free kick into the box.
Just after the half hour we were behind through a cruel deflection, and there was little sign of a fightback when, just over twenty minutes left, Mister Allison intervened. Manny Smith was harshly penalised for a tackle in the box, and shown a straight red card. When Mark Carrington pointed out that the referee had interpreted the triple jeopardy red card rule incorrectly, Allison sent him off too!
Dibble saved the penalty to cap a string of excellent stops he’d pulled off, and the nine men rallied bravely, but couldn’t avert a 2-1 loss. At least Smith won his appeal!
That was our first loss at Maidstone since our first ever game against The Stones, back in October 1989. They played their home games at Dartford then, and beat Dixie McNeil’s team 2-0 after a fraught journey which contributed to his decision to resign as manager.
We’ve won two of our five away games against United, both at Dartford. Our most recent, and biggest, win over them was in February 1992, with Lee Jones, Mel Pejic, Andy Thackeray and Gareth Owen getting the goals.
Luke Young makes his 250th career league appearance today.
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.