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07 January 2024 Venue The Croud Meadow Attendance

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Preview | Shrewsbury Town vs Wrexham

Fancy an FA Cup derby?

6 January 2024

Forget Arsenal v Liverpool - this derby with a dramatic recent history is the real tie of the round.

It's been 17 years since Wrexham and Shrewsbury Town went toe-to-toe, but the memory of our two most recent clashes over the border still looms large in the minds of both sets of supporters. The joy of a meaningful win over a rival and the despair of a damaging loss are always at stake in a derby: both Wrexham and Shrewsbury suppoerters experienced those emotions before that hiatus in the fixture. It feels like this forever delayed fixture is the long-awaited best of 3 decider.

THE WREXHAM ANGLE

New Year's Day saw Wrexham put in the sort of performance you'd need to pull off a win away from home against higher division opposition. Barrow arrived with the best defensive record in League Two, on an unbeaten run of 14 league games, but were blown away by the firepower of an attack which, for the first time at The Stok Cae Ras, featured Steven Fletcher in the starting line-up.

Fletcher's performance, after coming back from surgery, was magnificent, and if he is used from the first whistle he will be a potential match-winner.

However, a glance at Phil Parkinson's previous selections makes it clear that second-guessing his selection for an FA Cup tie isn't easy. He sprung surprises in both our matches at Championship clubs last season, rotating and being rewarded with magnificent performances. Four changes at Coventry led to an historic 4-2 win, and before the heroic performance at Sheffield United he switched out 7 players.

His policy of rotation for such huge matches clearly illustrates two important priorities for Parkinson: he wants, first and foremost, to drag his club up the divisions; and he has total faith in his entire squad.

Jacob Mendy will be unavailable as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations, but he won't get a chance to pick up a second cap for Gambia today as their preparation game against Morocco has been cancelled. Long term injured players like Rob Lainton and Ollie Palmer will be absent, but Parkinson's sizeable list of players in the treatment room is starting to dwindle, and the 3 players unregistered with the EFL are eligible for this game.

 

LAST MEETING

THE OPPOSING VIEW

Shrewsbury started the New Year by delivering just what was required. A comfortable home victory over Fleetwood Town ended a worrying series of results, and maintained a 7-point gap from the relegation zone.

In terms of results, it's been all or nothing for The Shrews this season. Only 3 teams in League One have won more home games than them, but only 3 sides have lost more home matches in their division too. 

Their away form is a massive issue though. They've lost the most games on the road in League One, and have scored a startling 3 goals in 13 away games. No team has scored fewer in the top 6 tiers of the pyramid, and the Fleetwood game was just the second time they've scored more than 2 goals in the league this season. 

The win came at just the right time, as a poor run of results had brought pressure onto the team and head coach Matt Taylor. Four consecutive defeats and one goal in 7 away league games fuelled a growing sense of frustration, but Taylor told the Shropshire Star that he had the broad shoulders to take the criticism: 

“You can shout at me as much as you want, but stick with the players. My role and responsibility, and a big part of my job, is to remove a lot of the pressure from the players, I understand football as I have been in it a long time. Football does crazy things to people emotionally. If the fans are looking to blame someone they are going to blame me, and I have no issue with that. 

“I understand it, but the one thing I would say is stick with the players because they are going to need you. 

“I understand their frustration, is it nice to stand there and hear that? No – from a human point of view – but from a football point of view it is part of the job.” 

“You have to have broad shoulders to do this job and that is the reality of it. Am I happy they are screaming at me and not the players? Yes, as I want the players to feel free and the players to perform. 

“We are in a difficult patch of results at the moment, it is difficult because as you stand there as the leader of the group, that is great, what is really difficult is that you cannot step over that white line like you used to as a player. So you cannot directly impact what happens on the pitch. 

“So you have to put trust in your players and the players are the ones who need to step up to the plate now and they are the ones who are missing opportunities and not doing the jobs at set plays.” 

"Don’t get me wrong they’ve got some good players but they’re playing at that level for a reason, I’m a firm believer in that." 

- Shrewsbury defender Tom Flanagan.

At least Taylor's injury problems are beginning to ease. Things have been tricky for Taylor as a succession of players have picked up injuries, capped when top scorer Dan Udoh suffered an injury last week which will put him out for more than a month.

However, his options are starting to widen now as players are beginning to return to action. Tom Bayliss and Jason Sraha made the bench against Fleetwood, while Carl Winchester might be in contention after suffering a calf injury.

Perhaps the widening of Shrewsbury's selection options played a part in defender Tom Flanagan's confident statement about the tie to BBC Radio Shropshire:

"I am big on the respect thing between football clubs, but lets make sure it is known that with everyone talking, that they are a League Two team, they are coming here as a League Two team. 

"Other League Two teams have been here and we have beaten them, and the expectation is that we beat them. 

"Whether it is a local derby or not, they are a League Two team, who owns them, what they wear, who they are, has no bearing on the game whatsoever.

"Now they’ve made it into the league and fair play they’ve done really well, it took them two goes to do it and they did eventually do it. 

"But coming now, that’s what it is, it’s a League One team against a League Two team and this is where you want to show why you’re a League One player and not a League Two player as such. 

"I have worked with Phil Parkinson before, I know how he likes to play and we are not going to get a chance to get the ball off them in the 18 yard box. 

"The ball will be in our half from the keeper or centre halves, they won't be passing from the back so our game plan will be different."

#DATAANORAK

The data suggests Shrewsbury are one of the more direct attacking sides in League One: only two sides have fewer average passes per passing sequence, and their direct speed in metres per second is the sixth fastest. Having said that, the latter stat needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as there’s a lot of sides which are just behind them on this metric. Only Carlisle and Stevenage have fewer zones of control: Shrewsbury only have more than 55% of touches in their own penalty area and the zone around the D. 

Shrewsbury’s lack of goals is consistent with their xG: in open play, theirs is the 2nd worst in League One, and they’ve had the 3rd fewest shots. However, they are notably more threatening from set pieces, with the 7th best xG in the division, and they’ve also had the 7th most shots from restarts. They’ve struggled to convert those chances as only 4 sides in League One have scored fewer from dead ball situations. 

At the other end they’ve been vulnerable to set pieces, with the 4th worst xG, 6th most shots conceded and behind only Lincoln in set play goals conceded. Despite a solid defensive record, they have benefitted from the profligacy of their opponents, as they’ve the 4th worst xG in open play and allow the 7th most shots. 

 

HEAD TO HEAD
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We have plenty to make up in this derby fixture, as Shrewsbury have won 5 of the last 6 times we've met. Those matches coincide with our slide out of the Football League, and the symmetry of our last two visits to Shropshire show just how high the stakes are when these two sides meet.

In April 2007 we were the opposition as Shrewsbury celebrated their penultimate at Gay Meadow before it was demolished. We were in serious danger of relegation to the National League, and faced two difficult away games before returning for a climactic Racecourse clash with relegation rivals, Boston United. Brian Carey's side handled the pressure of the occasion well and struck dramatically with 11 minutes left when Lee Jones' run from the halfway line ended in a pullback to Michael Proctor. His driven finish into the roof of the net gave future-Wrexham goalkeeper Scott Shearer no chance and sent the massed Wrexham fans below the goal wild.

Off the back of that win we were able to rescue ourselves from relegation on the final day of the season, but it was a very different story when we travelled to Shrewsbury's new stadium at the end of the following campaign. 

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Wrexham put up a limp display as The Shrews gained emphatic revenge, and The Red Dragons were flattered by the 3-0 defeat. Stranded at the foot of the table, it wasn't a result which condemned us to relegation, but it was a clear sign that there would be no escape from a destiny which had looked likely for some time.

Oddly, we've done better at Shrewsbury than The Stok Cae Ras  this century. Since our last home win over The Shrews, in October 1996, we've drawn one and lost three at home against them; our last home clean sheet was back in 1992.

On the other hand, we won three of our last five games at Gay Meadow and have only lost twice at Shrewsbury since 1982  That defeat came in January 2006 when the only goal was scored by Glynn Hurst.

Our best win over The Shrews was a spectacular effort in a high stakes match which was described as "absurdly one-sided" in the papers.  In the 1931 Welsh Cup Final we won 7-0, Tommy Bamford and Tom Lewis getting two each while Samuel Taylor, Jack Mustard and John Hughes also scored.

For our best result at Shrewsbury you have to go back to the first season after the First World War. We won 6-2 in the Birmingham and District League with four goals scored by John Taylor, who would play for both clubs. That win came at a time when we had the upper hand in the rivalry, and Taylor wasn't the first Wrexham player to score four past The Shrews. Thomas Owens had already achieved the feat in a 6-0 home win earlier that season!

Overall we've won twenty-two and lost ten of our forty-three home games against Shrewsbury, but that record is bolstered by a good run in the Birmingham and District League either side of the First World War in which we claimed 15 wins in 24 games. 

Taylor is our top scorer in the fixture, having hit six goals past them in total. One goal behind him is Graham Whittle, and on 4 are Owens, George Griffiths, Gary Bennett and Samuel Taylor, who claimed our only hat-trick against Shrewsbury since we joined the Football League.in a 4-2 Welsh Cup win in March 1932.

On the other hand, we had an awful time at Gay Meadow in the 1966-7 season, crashing out of both domestic cups and recording the two worst results we've ever suffered at their hands in the process! A 6-1 defeat in the League Cup was followed by a 5-1 loss in the F.A. Cup!

TODAY’S OTHER FIXTURES

Arsenal v Liverpool 

Luton Town v Bolton Wanderers 

Manchester City v Huddersfield Town 

Nottingham Forest v Blackpool 

Peterborough United v Leeds United 

West Bromwich Albion v Aldershot Town 

West Ham United v Bristol City 

Apart from our match, there are 6 other opportunities for upsets today, with Aldershot Town's trip to West Brom an opportunity for The Shots to do something historic against opposition from 3 divisions higher.No non-league team has beaten a Championship team away from home since...oh, us!

POTENTIAL MILESTONES

Paul Mullin's 425th career match.

James Jones' 350th career appearance

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Match Reports

REPORT | Shrewsbury Town 0-1 Wrexham

Tom O'Connor's goal seals another FA Cup scalp on derby day

7 January 2024

Tom O’Connor’s deflected strike proved the difference as Wrexham claimed derby day victory and another FA Cup scalp by winning away at rivals Shrewsbury.

O’Connor – who also scored against both Coventry and Sheffield United in last season’s competition – scored the only goal of the game in the second half.

It means Wrexham take their place in the Fourth Round for a second consecutive season, with the draw to be made on Monday night.

Phil Parkinson named an unchanged Wrexham starting line-up from the New Year’s Day win against Barrow, with Monday’s hat-trick hero Steven Fletcher continuing up front.

With wing-back Jacob Mendy away on international duty, the only changes were on the bench – where Callum McFadzean was among the players to come into an expanded match-day squad with nine substitutes allowed.

Taylor Perry was first to try his luck for the hosts, shooting straight at Arthur Okonkwo in the third minute after Max Cleworth headed Tunmise Sobowale’s cross clear.

Captain Chey Dunkley then had a shot deflected wide from close range on six minutes, when Wrexam were caught trying to pass the ball out from the back.

The Red Dragons’ first sight of goal was in the eighth minute, when Fletcher laid off Paul Mullin, who cut onto his right foot but, surrounded by defenders, fired well over from 25 yards out.

Andy Cannon’s shot was then blocked on ten minutes, after goalkeeper Marko Marosi had only punched Ben Tozer’s long throw-in half clear.

Okonkwo had to be alert on 16 minutes, when Jordan Shipley challenged Cleworth to hook the ball goalwards, but the defender did enough to ensure the shot lacked any venom.

Shrewsbury should have been in front on 26 minutes, when Shrewsbury broke and Malvind Benning whipped a brilliant cross in from the left, but Sobowale somehow shot over with the goal gaping.

That proved the biggest chance of the half, with both sides probing without success from then until half-time.

As with the first half, Perry was first to get a sight at goal after the break but volleyed over from the edge of the box after a cross deflected towards him.

For Wrexham, Anthony Forde found some rare freedom down the right to cross on 54 minutes but, under pressure, Elliot Lee could not generate any power in his header goalwards.

Benning was inches away from putting Shrewsbury in front on 65 minutes, after cutting inside from the left, but he clipped the bar with his shot with the outside of his left foot.

Lee then had a big chance for Wrexham just two minutes later, when McClean crossed low from the left, but he swung a left boot at the ball and shot well over from the middle of the area.

Booth sides took that as their cue for a double change, with Sam Dalby and Ryan Barnett – against his former team – on for Wrexham for Forde and Fletcher. Shrewsbury, meanwhile, brought Roland Idowu and Tom Bayliss on for Benning and Sobowale.

And Wrexham were in front on 72 minutes, with Dalby claiming the assist – the striker receiving George Evans’ through ball and squaring for O’Connor, whose low shot deflected in.

Perry should have equalised for the hosts in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when a deep cross somehow stayed in play on the byline, but shot wide across goal.

Another cross dropped for Perry outside the area a minute later, but again he dragged his shot just wide of the post.

And that proved Shrewsbury's last chance, as Wrexham held on to claim yet another famous FA Cup victory.

Line-ups

Shrewsbury (5-4-1): Marosi, Bennett, Feeney (Pierre 90), Dunkley, Anderson (Sraha 78), Benning (Idowu 68), Perry, Sobowale (Bayliss 68), Kenneh, Shipley, Bowman (Mata 79)

Subs: Burgoyne (G/K), Winchester, Loughran, Whitney

Wrexham (3-5-2): Okonkwo, Cleworth, Tozer, O’Connor, Forde (Barnett 68), Cannon (Jones 77), Evans, Lee (J.Davies 90+4), McClean, Mullin, Fletcher (Dalby 68)

Subs: McNicholas (G/K), McFadzean, Young, Boyle, Bickerstaff

Referee: Andrew Kitchen

Attendance: 9,304 (1,659 away)

Bookings

Shrewsbury: Bowman (57), Anderson (60)

Wrexham: McClean (57), Tozer (88)

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Ticket News

TICKET NEWS | Shrewsbury Town (A) FA Cup tickets on sale from 10am today

Tickets for Emirates FA Cup Third Round clash on sale today

18 December 2023

Tickets for our Emirates FA Cup Third Round away fixture against Shrewsbury Town will go on sale to Season Ticket holders and Club members from 10am today (December 18).

As in line with our previous away fixtures, Season Ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase tickets from 10am, followed by Club members at 2pm.

We have been allocated 1,655 tickets for the match, and supporters will be situated in the DM Recruitment Stand.

There will be no online queuing system in place for supporters purchasing tickets, so all you will need to do is log on to the e-ticketing website at the appropriate time.

How To Purchase Tickets

Tickets can be bought via our eTicketing website, at the below prices, with both Season Ticket Holders and Members being limited to one ticket per account, and a maximum of 6 tickets in one transaction (applicable for both online and in-person purchases).

For instructions on how to ensure you have activated your eTicketing account and have the correct privileges attached, please see this guide.

While we appreciate our fans wish to support the team, we urge supporters without a ticket to not attend the game. 

Anyone who attempts to buy tickets in the home end will be ejected, and no refund will be given.

Any tickets, should they remain, will be released for general sale at 10am on Tuesday 19 December.

Ticket Collections

Shrewsbury have very kindly offered a collection facility for our supporters from Croud Meadow; however, this should only be used as a last resort.

To avoid lengthy queues on the day of the game and ensure that you can make it into the stadium for kick-off, we strongly advise fans to collect from the STōK Cae Ras in advance.

Tickets can be collected from the STōK Cae Ras, where you will have to provide proof of purchase through your booking reference. We cannot accept postcodes or any other information for collections.

Should anyone wish to collect on behalf of another supporter, as outlined above a booking reference will be required.

Tickets cannot be collected from 90 minutes before kick-off on a matchday.

All uncollected tickets will be taken to the Croud Meadow, but reprints must be requested via the Ticket Office by 5pm on Friday, January 5.

Ticket Delivery 

We have listened to supporter feedback over recent weeks and for this match you will have the option of collecting tickets from the STōK Cae Ras or through tracked and signed delivery.

For future away fixtures there will be the option of collecting your match ticket from the STōK Cae Ras or through tracked delivery.

Should you select the tracked postal delivery it will cost you an additional £8 for the service – regardless of the number of tickets which you purchase as a network for the fixture.

Ticket Pricing

DM Recruitment Stand

Adult: £24

Concessions (65+/Students): £17

Under-24: £17

Under-19: £10

All disabled tickets are priced at £17, with one carer ticket provided free of charge.

Accessible Tickets

The Club have been allocated a small number of Accessible and Wheelchair tickets for the fixture at Croud Meadow.

Accessible tickets can now be purchased online for this game, speeding up the ticketing process for supporters.

All users who are eligible have already had their ticketing accounts updated with the required information and required number of companions.

As such, users will simply need to login to their accounts and it will automatically pick-up whether they are an ambulant disabled customer, or wheelchair user and allow them access to select the area which meets their requirements.

Users will only be able to select the number of companion tickets required in accordance with their eligibility criteria (i.e. a user eligible for one companion ticket will only be able to select one companion ticket).

Companion tickets will be auto-allocated to their own "companion" account which has already been created for each eligible user, will not affect the “one ticket per member” policy, and must be purchased with an accessible ticket (companion tickets cannot be purchased on their own).

Supporters requiring additional support with accessible tickets should contact Wrexham AFC Disability Liaison Officer Kerry Evans, on kerry.evans@wrexhamafc.co.uk.

Away Travel

Official supporter travel will also be available for this game, via our eTicketing website. Coaches will depart from Mold Road at 11:30am and be priced at £12 for Adults, and £10 for Under 16’s.

Away travel will go on sale at 10am, in-line with the ticket policy.

Please note, the buses will depart at 11:30am, and there will be no provisions for those who arrive late. Supporters must make note of their designated coach on the ticket and only board the coach they’ve been allocated to.

All under-14s must be accompanied on official supporter travel, and alcohol is strictly prohibited by law.

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