After our two-match scrap with Marine, and the preceding blank weekend, it'll be good to finally get back to National League duty.
Eighteen days will have passed since the 1-1 draw with Chesterfield when Wrexham's players return to league action at The Hive. We've slipped down to 12th place in that time, although obviously we've games in hand. With a run of games against sides in the bottom half of the table ahead of us, Phil Parkinson will want his side to hit their stride as soon as possible, continuing the winning form they showed on Tuesday.
Rob Lainton, Reece Hall-Johnson, Ryan Austin, Luke Young and Jake Hyde were all absent through injury aganst Marine: hopefully a couple of them will have a chance of returning at The Hive.
As for Barnet, they've certainly improved since their nightmarish 2020-21 season, after a horrible start to the campaign.
There were major problems both on and off the pitch for the first game of the season, a 5-0 home beating by Notts County. Admirably, the club were very open in describing the reasons for the logistical problems they encountered on the day.
The on-field problems were less straightforward to resolve, and The Bees had a tally of just 2 points from their first 7 games, but an emphatic home win over Weymouth sparked a resurgence.
In their last league match they beat Dover 2-1 at The Crabble, taking their unbeaten run to 4 league games. Amidst those matches was an admirable goalless draw away to high-flying Halifax, and they nowhave 10 points from 11 games, leaving them in 17th place.
HEAD TO HEAD
A change is as good as a rest, and Barnet’s change of venue certainly suited us. Our record at The Hive is spectacular – 3 wins and 1 draw – in contrast to how fared before The Bees buzzed off from Underhill.
We lost our first two matches at their old ground. The first was a 2-0 loss in March 1992, but a more notorious defeat came in January 1993.
Both sides were competing for a promotion place, but we had suffered a massive set-back when star striker Gary Bennett suffered an injury looked likely to rule him out for much of the run-in.
South African striker John Paskin (below), who is usually remembered in his role as super sub, backing up the potent strike partnership of Bennett and Steve Watkin, took his place and found the net, but the was disjointed without Bennett and fell to a comprehensive 3-1 defeat.
Thankfully, Bennett’s injury was not as serious as first feared, and he was soon back in the side as we successfully clinched a place in the Third Division.
The following season Bennett was firing on all cylinders for our visit to Underhill in March 1994, and he would make a decisive difference. We fell behind, but Gareth Owen hit a second half equaliser, and Bennett completed the comeback by slamming an injury time winner.
We enjoyed another come-from-behind 2-1 win in March 2007, a terrific result in the circumstances. We were on the second longest run without a win in the club's history, facing the prospect of relegation to the Conference with manager Brian Carey still looking for his first win in his tenth game in charge.
However, the game is famous for its goal celebration. Lee McEvilly (above) had been receiving criticism for his weight, and struck back decisively, slamming in two shots in the space of three minutes and celebrating by rubbing his stomach.
A year later we returned to Underhill desperate for a win as our hopes of remaining in the Football League dwindled. We looked comfortable in the first half but collapsed in the second, conceding twice in six minutes after the break.
Drewe Broughton pulled a goal back, but soon afterwards Barnet went 3-1 up. Still we continued to show heart, with Simon Spender (above) pulling another goal back, but we were unable to avoid defeat.
Our first match at the Hive was a notorious affair, as Bees player-manager Edgar Davids was sent off for slammed his elbow into Steven Wright’s face. Remarkably, the Wrexham man was also dismissed, and it looked like we were heading for a 1-0 defeat, but in the last minute Dean Keates curled in a superb free kick to earn a draw.
The drama wasn’t over yet though. Johnny Hunt, who came on as a substitute in the 89th minute, picked up a straight red card in injury time for a horrible lunging challenge,
We picked up a notable first win at The Hive in February 2015. Robbie Evans scored a long range goal to clinch victory, and he also scoring the only goal in the return match to secure an impressive double over the side which won the league that season.
That win sparked a run of three consecutive wins at The Hive. In April 2019 Bryan Hughes’ side needed a win to keep their push for a play-off spot going. Akil Wright put us ahead in the first minute of the second half, but The Bees equalised with 20 minutes left. However, we were to clinch the win in remarkable circumstances. With 5 minutes left Jermaine McGlashan battled for a loose ball on the edge of the area and got a shot off which took a deflection. The ball was clearly going wide, but the massive amount of spin put on it by the deflection sent it spinning sharply into the net!
Last season we enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win at Barnet, thanks to two fine strikes from the edge of the area by Luke Young and Elliott Durrell.
Ben Tozer's 475th career appearance.