You don't need me to explain the link between Wrexham AFC and giant-killing, but this match is a chance for the tables to be turned. Farnborough might be a mid-table team from the division below the Red Dragons, but they have cup fighters written all over them.
Phil Parkinson will know that he needs to be wary ahead of this second round FA Cup tie. With the potential glory and riches of the third round on the horizon, this is no time for slip-ups.
With players beginning to return from injury, a top of the table position to protect and a terrific momentum achieved at home, it might be tempting to rotate his side to give players pitch time. However, Parkinson is wise enough to be aware of the pitfalls of giving in to such temptation. Farnborough have giant killers written all over them.
The Yellows might be 15th, essentially equidistant between the promotion and relegation spots, but their form is terrific. There's no question that, after a shaky start, long-serving manager Spencer Day has got his team on a sharply upward trajectory.
They lost seven of their first ten matches this season, but since then are unbeaten, with five wins from eight games. It wasn't an easy run of games either: Weymouth were the only side in the bottom half of the table that they came across, and wins were recorded over Oxford City, Worthing and Dartford, who were each in the top six. Last week they went to another promotion contender, Braintree Town, and emerged with a goalless draw.
Their capacity to resist opposing attacks is the solid foundation upon which the side is built. They've only conceded two goals in their last six games, and boast the fourth-best defence in the division, conceding an average of a goal a game.
Admittedly, goals have been an issue at the other end. Only four sides have scored fewer than Boro in The National League South, all of whom are below them with three of them in the relegation zone. They've been prolific in the cup competitions, though. To get to the first round of the FA Cup they knocked out Hayes & Yeading before scoring five at Swindon Supermarine and then seven against Biggleswade.
In fact, they've scored more in five FA Cup matches this season than they have in 17 league games! You can throw in a 7-2 FA Trophy beating of Cove for good measure if you want, too, and last weekend they enjoyed a 1-0 win at Hampton & Richmond Borough in the competition.
There's no question that their most spectacular result of the season came in the last round of the FA Cup though. A 2-0 win at League Two Sutton United was a superb result, secured through late goals by Michael Fernandes and Francis Amartey.The duo came on together in the 81st minute, and five minutes later Fernandes had opened the scoring. Amartey would follow suit in the sixth minute of added time.
WREXHAM VERSUS FARNBOROUGH...AT LAST
We’ve never played Farnborough before, although we nearly faced them in what would have been an historic occasion for both clubs!
After beating Arsenal in the third round in 1992, we had to wait to discover our opponents at the next stage. That was because Farnborough were busy pulling off an upset of their own: indeed, they deserved a great deal more praise and attention than they got, but our beating of Arsenal stole the limelight.
They weren’t given much of a chance when the third round draw paired them with top division opposition. A home tie against West Ham United was a difficult assignment, and bringing the Irons to their own patch didn’t turn out to be feasible.
Farnborough had to forego home advantage and swap Cherrywood Road for Upton Park in order to cope with anticipated crowd. They would get even more of a cash bonus than they’d anticipated!
Farnborough were flying high: they had already beaten Torquay United, and as they strode onto the Upton Park pitch they stood in third position in the Conference. They also boasted Simon Read, the top scorer in that season’s competition.
It was Dean Coney who would be the hero though. The ex-Norwich player had retired from professional football eight months earlier through a knee injury, but his moment would come with 8 minutes left.
Farnborough battled heroically in front of a superb following of 3,000 travelling fans, holding out until the 66th minute when Julian Dicks put the Hammers ahead. Boro would not be denied, though, and Coney won an 82nd minute penalty when his goal-bound shot was handled on the line. He stepped up to beat Ludek Miklosko and earn a memorable draw.
The usual FA Cup ritual followed, as Farnborough’s fans and players gathered to hear which side they would face, should they come through the replay, which again would be played at Upton Park. The draw threw up a potential clash of the giant-killers, as they were paired with Wrexham at home in the fourth round.
There was a real chance the tie would have been played at The Racecourse, as Farnborough manager Ted Pearce suggested before the Upton Park replay that Cherrywood Road wouldn’t be able to host the fixture, and they’d probably ask Wrexham to switch venues.
That debate was moot, as it turned out. Farnborough performed heroically once again but would suffer a cruel fate when Trevor Morley pounced to score the only goal of the match in the 89th minute.
Farnborough’s heroics didn’t end in triumph, and they didn’t get a chance to come to The Racecourse. Thirty years later, they finally get to make that trip.
Aaron Hayden’s 225th career game.
Ollie Palmer’s 50th Wrexham appearance.