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PREVIEW | Aldershot Town v Wrexham

Red Dragons look to bounce back against the Shots

1 October 2021

Wrexham look to bounce back from defeat at Stockport with a trip to a side whose lowly league position might be misleading.

Aldershot have suffered a disappointing start to the campaign, but hope to show signs of recovery after an early change of manager, and will be keen to maintain their recent good record at home to the Red Dragons.

The Shots are languishing two places off the bottom of the table, and reacted to their poor start to the campaign swiftly, replacing Danny Searle with former player Mark Molesley.

"I'm delighted to be back at a club that is very close to my heart," he told the BBC on his appointment.

"My dream came true when I became a professional footballer at this club and I would be lying if I never thought of going back to the club as a manager."

The task that faces him is to turn around the form of a side which has lost all its home games this season. To be fair though, they’ve faced stiff opposition so far, as Chesterfield, Yeovil, Solihull and Halifax have all emerged with three points from the Recreation Ground.

On the road they’ve shown glimpses of better form though, not least when they beat Southend at Roots Hall a fortnight ago.

Still, improving their home form is a massive priority. They ended last season by losing their last three home games, so come into this match desperate to end a sequence of seven consecutive home defeats, conceding 16 goals in the process. Last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Halifax was the first time they’ve conceded less than once in that run of home games: they must turn things around urgently to avoid being mired in a relegation scrap.

They’ll face a Wrexham side which ought to be virtually free of injuries. With Jake Hyde and Jordan Davies available again, only long-term absentees Kwame Thomas, Reece Hall-Johnson and Ryan Austin should be absent from Phil Parkinson’s options.

Wrexham have scored in each of their last ten away games, scoring 21 goals in the process, although the prolific conclusion to last season contributed 13 of those in five games.

HEAD TO HEAD

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When Aldershot dropped down into the National League, we immediately began a period of domination, winning four of our first six encounters while losing just one. Things have changed drastically since then, though, as we’ve won just two of our last ten clashes, losing five.

Last February we suffered a chastening experience at the hands of the Shots, losing 3-0 at the Recreation Ground. That result continued a dismal run of results there, as it was the fifth game consecutive game at Aldershot in which we’d failed to score. We lost four of them, and our last goal there was scored by Wes York in November 2015, 477 minutes ago.

Before their relegation, we didn’t face The Shots for twenty-two years.

That final Football League match, in March 1991, saw us fall behind early on and never get back on terms despite strikes by Gareth Owen and Geoff Hunter as we went down to a 3-2 loss.

That defeat merely added to the overall trend of our trips to Aldershot, as we’ve lost 16 of our 25 matches there, winning just four times.

Our first win there came in September 1969, when Albert Kinsey opened the scoring and Arfon Griffiths secured a 2-0 win with a penalty.

Our other two successes in the Football League were more dramatic. In September 1974 we fell behind early in the first half but recovered to win 2-1 through goals in the last quarter of an hour from Mickey Thomas and Dave Smallman.

The following season Mel Sutton gave us the lead but The Shots equalised before half time, only to see us once more take control with a couple of goals around the 75th minute mark. Brian Tinnion and Graham Whittle scored within two minutes of each other and although Aldershot swiftly pulled one back, we survived a nervous last ten minutes to clinch a 3-2 win.

We’ve won once at the Recreation Ground in the National League, in November 2015, courtesy of the Wes York strike I mentioned earlier.

Our worst experience there came in October 1985, when we crashed to a 6-0 defeat. It must have been a horrible experience for the fans who travelled from North Wales to watch the match, although there couldn’t have been many of them as the attendance was the lowest to see Wrexham play at The Recreation Ground: a mere 1,165.

David Smallman is our top scorer against The Shots, with four goals, three of which came in one game in March 1975. A goal behind him are Arfon Griffiths, Ray Smith, Sam McMillan and Martyn King, the last two having scored the only other hat tricks in this fixture.

POTENTIAL MILESTONES
Jake Hyde’s 375th career match.

Jordan Ponticelli’s 75th career match.

 


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