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Match Previews

PREVIEW | FC Halifax Town vs Wrexham

Time for a short trip up the M62 to face an old rival.

22 November 2021

Last Saturday’s goalless draw with Wealdstone was the first game of the season which Phil Parkinson’s team have failed to score in. However, it extended their unbeaten league run to 4 matches, and saw the return from injury of both Rob Lainton and ex-Halifax striker Jake Hyde.

Hyde scored 12 goals for the Shaymen last season, but since moving in the summer has been punctuated by injuries, often acquired when he put his body on the line in combat with centre backs.  He’ll be keen to get back into the starting line-up although Jordan Ponticelli will take some dislodging as his run of 3 goals in 4 games has been augmented by a terrific work rate.

Bryce Hosannah, who had to go off at half time on Saturday following a collision with Wealdstone’s outstanding goalkeeper, George Wickens, will hope to be fit, although Cameron Green showed he’s a more than adequate replacement with a lively second half performance.

Like Wrexham, Halifax are unbeaten in 4 and stand in 5th place with the equal best defence on the division: along with Boreham Wood they've conceded just 12 goals.

They're scoring an average of more than two goals a game at home, and their record is perfect at The Shay apart from an opening day defeat to Maidenhead. They gained a specacular measure of revenge on them in their most recent home game, beating The Magpies 7-4 in the FA Cup!

Since that opening day loss they've reeled off 7 consecutive home wins putting three goals past both Notts County and Stockport.

Wrexham will need to keep an eye on Billy Waters, who has started the season in prolific form. He grabbed 6 goals for Torquay last season, but has reached double figures already for The Shaymen.

HEAD TO HEAD

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Last season’s visit to The Shay was particularly memorable. The recent history of this fixture is characterized by low-scoring affairs, and the clash at The Racecourse between these two sides had ended goalless.

Any possibility of a repeat was swiftly wiped away, though, as Wrexham ran rampage in the first half.

After just 4 minutes Jordan Davies had put us ahead from a corner, and half way through the first period a clever headed assist from Gold Omotayo set up Dior Angus to make it 2-0.

The best was yet to come, though, as Davies caught a defender napping ten minutes later and surged through Halifax’s defence before delicately dinking the ball over the exposed goalkeeper.

For a finale, Davies completed his hat trick with a magnificent volley from outside the penalty area, which won the Steve Edwards Goal of the Season Trophy. In doing so, he became the first Wrexham player to score a hat trick since Chris Holroyd in January 2018, the first to score three in an away game since Rob Ogleby 8 years ago, and became the tenth Wrexham-born player to score a hat trick for the club.

That was the first time we’d won at The Shay since February 2015, when we won an FA Trophy quarter final 1-0. The pitch was thick with mud, but on loan striker Kieran Morris managed to set off on an incredible run through the middle before teeing Neil Ashton up to score.

We also won an FA Cup tie at The Shay, with Wes Baynes scoring the only goal in the last minute, and managed a 2-0 League Cup victory in 1998 through goals by Karl Connolly and Neil Roberts. However, that wasn’t a happy evening for us, as we’d lost the first leg 2-0. Roberts had a shout for a winner denied when his effort appeared to have clearly crossed the line, and we went on to lose on penalties.

To find another league win at Halifax you have to go back to March 1993. Steve Watkin slid in to score from close range to maintain our momentum as we pushed successfully for promotion under Brian Flynn.

The list of our top scorers in this fixture is dominated by some of the great names from the club’s history, as you might expect from a fixture which stretches back to 1922. Billy Tunnicliffe is our equal top scorer alongside another Wrexham legend, Tommy Bamford. They each got six goals against Halifax, with Albert Kinsey and Sammy McMillan level on five and Karl Connolly, Gordon Gunson, Gordon Richards and George Snow behind them on four.

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None of them managed a hat trick though. The only Wrexham player to have put three past Halifax before Jordan Davies was Dick Yates (above), who celebrated his Wrexham debut by scoring half of our goals in a 6-3 win in December 1947, a result which remains our biggest win over Town and also is the highest aggregate score between the two sides.

Yates' career was interrupted by te Second World War, but he manaed plenty of goals wherever he played,most notably Stockport and Chester, and hit 22 in 34 games for Wrexham. He then moved on to New Brighton before dropping out of the Football League to play for a series of teams in North Wales. 

POTENTIAL MILESTONES

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Aaron Hayden’s 175th career appearance.

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Jordan Davies’ 75th career appearance and 50th Wrexham league game.


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