After victories in the league and FA Cup, we continue our three-pronged pursuit of glory with an awkward FA Trophy Fourth Round tie away at Altrincham. The match on Friday (January 13), which will be streamed live on WrexhamPlayer, kicks off at 7.45pm local time.
It's been a gruelling week for Wrexham, and a rare Friday match means we'll have played three games in seven days when the final whistle blows at Moss Lane. Phil Parkinson will surely take the impact on such a hectic sequence of games into consideration when selecting his team.
Fortunately for him, the squad depth he worked hard to develop in the last six months is bearing fruit. James Jones and Sam Dalby transformed the Bromley game from the bench, with Jones scoring the winner and Dalby following up his star turn at Coventry with another impressive display.
Wrexham enjoyed an impressive victory when the sides met earlier in the season, running out 4-0 winners. However, their results have picked up considerably since that clash at the end of October.
Altrincham lie in 13th place in the National League table, five points off the play-off places. Their solid league position has its foundations in an impressive home record: only two sides outside the play-offs have won more home games than them.
The Robins haven't played since New Year's Day, having been frustrated by last Saturday's postponement of their scheduled home clash with Bromley. The enforced lay-off is a real frustration to the club, as their form was excellent in the last six weeks of 2022. An eight-game unbeaten run ended in impressive festive performances against Halifax Town, with a home victory being followed up by a 2-2 draw at The Shay.
Of particular interest to Wrexham fans will be the presence of Connor Jennings in the Robins' line-up. One of Wrexham's finest servants in recent years, Jennngs is on loan from Stockport County, and has already got off the mark with a goal against Maidstone United. He extended his stay at Alty by a month during the week, while Wales Under-21 left back Eddy Jones made a successful loan spell permanent, signing from Stoke City.
However, there seems to be a major departure on the cards, as Ryan Colclough, who has impressed consistently during his time at Altrincham, is on his way to Chesterfield according to the Derbyshire Times.
HEAD TO HEAD
We go into this game having enjoyed an unprecedented four-game winning streak against The Robins. Indeed, our last two games against them were our two biggest wins in this fixture, as we enjoyed back-to-back 4-0 home victories.
We faced them in knock-out matches three times at Moss Lane, and have emerged with a win, a draw and a loss.
The defeat was the most recent visit. That came in December 2009, although the FA Trophy tie initially paired us at The Racecourse. However, a drab goalless draw in front of just over a thousand fans sent the tie to a replay at Moss Lane.
That match was equally grim, and the freezing weather contributed to a remarkably small crowd. Just 407 fans, the fewest to attend a game between the sides, turned up to see another dull affair decided by a second half Greg Young header as we crashed out of the competition at the first hurdle.
Perhaps through novelty as much as anything else, we attracted more fans to Altrincham in November 2008 for our first match in the short-lived Setanta Shield, but not many! A crowd of 537 saw Marc Williams give us the lead, but a second half equaliser took the game into extra time. It nip and tuck until Jefferson Louis struck to earn victory.
The first clash between the clubs came in 1963, when we were drawn together for an F.A. Cup tie which would turn out to be a most peculiar affair, played out in thick fog.
Wrexham took an early lead but then lost goalkeeper Albert Dunlop to injury after a collision. There were no substitutions in those days so centre forward Ernie Phythian had to go in goal as Wrexham were reduced to ten men. Wrexham held out under extreme pressure, and the wounded keeper returned to the pitch five minutes later, but ironically he then conceded an equaliser. It became clear during the break that Dunlop could not continue in goal, so he tried to make a nuisance of himself by limping around on the right wing while Phythian returned between the posts.
Again, Phythian held firm and Wrexham took the lead through Arfon Griffiths in the 65th minute. However, 11 minutes later the fog made further play impossible and the match was abandoned. The rearranged game was a goalless draw, and Wrexham knocked Altrincham out with a 3-0 win in the replay with Micky Metcalf scoring twice.
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