We’ve played Newport County before in the FA Cup, but it didn’t go well. The first time we ever met our South Walian rivals was in the sixth qualifying round of the cup, in December 1921. An impressive crowd of 8,693 saw us draw 0-0 at The Racecourse, and we lost the replay 3-0.
Apart from two Welsh Cup wins over Newport in the mid-1920s, we didn’t meet again until the late 1950s, after the end of the regionalisation of the Third Division. Our initial league record against them was poor, but in more recent years we’ve had the upper hand, to the extent that we boast 18 wins in this fixture, against 10 draws and 14 defeats.
At home we’ve certainly had the better of Newport, with 12 wins, 6 draws and 3 losses. Our best victory over them came in the 2003 Welsh Premier Cup Final. Newport were clawing their way back up the pyramid after the financial problems which saw them drop out of the Football League, and were unfortunate to come across a Wrexham side in rare fine form.
We’d not only clinched promotion from League Two, but stood on the verge of history. We needed a win against Newport to match the club record of ten consecutive victories.
It didn’t take long to secure the record, and the trophy, as by the 21st minute goals from Dennis Lawrence, Andy Morrell, and Jim Whitley had put us 3-0 up! Lee Trundle chipped in with a couple and Shaun Pejic, no doubt feeling that if Whitley could score, he could too, also got one as we ended a memorable season with a 6-1 win.
Just to put the rarity of those goals into context, Whitley scored twice in 162 appearances for Wrexham, and Pejic got the same amount in 209!
James Jennings makes his 75th Wrexham appearance tonight.
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.