There has never been a season like this. Last weekend Wrexham became the 29th team in the top 5 tiers to reach 100 points in a season. This weekend, Notts County joined us. This is the first time two sides in the same division have brought up a century of points in the history of the league pyramid
Furthermore, the most points ever achieved in a season is 106: it would be a genuine surprise if either side fail to overtake that total by the end of the month.
And, of course, there's only one automatic promotion place, so it's likely that the side with second-best season in the history of the oldest league structure in the world will have to enter the lottery of the play-offs.
Most points in a season in the top 5 tiers of the English pyramid.
As if the stakes weren't high enough, Wrexham's advantageous position at the top of the table was compromised by a shock 3-1 defeat at Halifax. By the break Wrexham held a 1-0 lead, having hit the bar and forced Shaymen keeper Sam Johnson into a couple of fine saves. It looked like business as usual, but a remarkable individual performance by Milenic Alli turned the game on its head.
Wrexham didn't appear to pick up any serious injuries, but Phil Parkinson will have to decide whether to exploit his squad depth for the second half of the Easter double-header.
Meanwhile, County were enjoying a confortable 3-0 home win over Wealdstone, with manager Luke Williams able to rest Ruben Rodriguez, Connell Rawlinson and Geraldo Bajrami for the trip to The Racecourse. Williams told NottinghamshireLive that he appreciated the magnitude of the match:
"Two teams are on 100 points with games to spare, two teams with the most goals scored in a National League season, it most certainly has an argument that this is the biggest game the division has ever seen...
"It is tough and we need to analyse the Wealdstone game and what we need to show players the key information from this game and how we transition that into our game against Wrexham.
"We need to ensure we make the correct training because some players need certain things while others may need something else.
"But, hopefully, we will all streamline together for Sunday to prepare for the opposition and train and recover correctly with everybody all together and then travel for the game."
Inevitably, Macaulay Langstaff got one of the goals on Friday, the 7th consecutive match he has scored in. A highly technical penalty area striker, Langstaff has a remarkable 41 goals to his credit in the league this season, following up the 30 he struck in all competitions for Gateshead last season to lead them to the National League North title.
A familiar foe might be absent between the sticks for The Magpies. Sam Slocombe has often been a thorn in Wrexham's side, but he is currently recovering from injury, and his availability has not been revealed. In his absence, on-loan keeper Archie Mair has impressed. The young stopper, who is under contract to Norwich City, has yet to concede in 2 starts, and made a crucial penalty save in the 2-0 win at Altrincham.
LAST TIME WE MET
4/10/22 NOTTS COUNTY 1 (Langstaff 13) WREXHAM 0
NOTTS COUNTY: S Slocombe, A Chicksen, R Brindley, K Cameron, C Rawlinson, M Palmer, A Nemane, Ruben Rodrigues, J O'Brien (G Bajrami, 35), C Scott (S Austin, 79), M Langstaff (K Mitchell, 87) Unused Subs: T Adebayo-Rowling, Q De Castro
WREXHAM: M Howard, M Cleworth (S Dalby, 74), C McFadzean, J Davies (E Lee, 42), A Hayden, B Tozer, L Young, A Forde, J Jones (L McAlinden, 74), O Palmer, P Mullin Unused Subs: R Watson, T O'Connor
Referee: Garreth Rhodes
HEAD TO HEAD
Our last home game against County was Phil Parkinson's first home match as Wrexham manager, and it ended in a 1-1 draw. His side put on a terrific display but failed to cap a threatening first half with a goal and were struck with a sucker punch when Kyle Wootton struck in the final minute before the break. However, The Red Dragons came back strongly: Paul Mullin equalised ten minutes after the break but despite constant pressure, the winning goal wouldn't come.
Our only other home match aganst County in the National League ended in a 1-0 defeat as Jake Reeves' first half goal separated the teams.
We last beat County last season, on their patch in the FA Trophy. Connell Rawlinson scored against his home town club after half an hour to give County a deserved lead, but Wrexham fought back well. An excellent finish by Dan Jarvis pulled us level just before the break, and James Jones struck a dramatic winner with one minute left.
Our most recent home win over The Magpies came in April 2008. Defeat could have condemned us to relegation to the National League, but Neil Roberts struck the only goal of the match to earn what turned out to be a temporary stay of execution.
With four goals, Ken Barnes, Ernie Phythian, Sammy McMillan and Karl Connolly top the list of Wrexham's scorers against Notts County, with Arfon Griffiths, Brian Whitehouse and Don Weston one goal behind.
Our biggest home win came back in March 1963 when two goals from Brian Whitehouse and strikes by Ken Barnes, Phythian and Clive Colbridge earned a 5-1 victory. Fifty-one weeks later Phythian added to that goal by hitting a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory, the only time a Wrexham player has scored three in this fixture.
Wrexham’s worst loss to County at home was a cruel tale from the dark days of the 1980s. With financial problems piling up, Wrexham were struggling in the Fourth Division in 1985 when they drew Third Division County in the second round of the F.A. Cup. Having earned an admirable 2-2 at Meadow Lane through goals by Barry Horne and David Gregory, an already injury-ravaged side lost Jim Steel and Nicky Hencher so manager Dixie McNeil took drastic action, selecting himself as a substitute! At the age of thirty eight, three seasons after injury forced him to retire, McNeil took the field to replace John Muldoon, but could not add to his remarkable Cup scoring record as his side limped to a 3-0 defeat in front of the smallest crowd County have attracted to The Racecourse of 2,645.
Ben Foster’s 525th career appearance.
Paul Mullin’s 400th career appearance.