Wrexham might have a reputation as giant killers, but will have to be on their mettle to avoid the tables being turned.
Wrexham enter the tie having had a lengthy rest. Eleven days will have passed by the time The Red Dragons take the pitch at Rossett Park since our last match, the 1-1 draw with Chesterfield.
That hiatus wasn’t long enough to bring long term injury absentees Luke Young, Reece Hall-Johnson, Kwame Thomas and Ryan Austin back into the frame, and with the rest of the squad having benefitted from a break between games, Phil Parkinson will be at liberty to either pick a rested, full strength side or rotate to give players like Shaun Brisley time on the pitch.
Marine were the outstanding side in last season’s FA Cup, winning at Colchester United and giving a strong Spurs side a tough time in the 3rd Round before eventually succumbing 5-0.
They’re clearly in the mood to have another cup adventure, and are in terrific form: they lie in second place in the Northern Premier West, 3 points off the top with 2 games in hand. Those games in hand are a consequence of their excellent cup form: they’ve played 6 games in the FA Cup to get to this stage, and won a penalty shoot-out in the FA Trophy last Saturday.
At Rossett Park, Marine’s form is superb. They’ve played 7 games at home this season, and won them all. On Tuesday they enjoyed an emphatic win over Kidsgrove, but it’s somewhat surprising the game took place. They’ve had to contend with an incredible schedule since the season started, squeezing 17 games into 8 and a half weeks, and have picked up injuries as a consequence of the non-stop demands being made of them, with a couple of first-teamers ruled out for the season.
Their hopes that the league would allow them some extra time to prepare for the FA Cup by rearranging the Kidsgrove game were dashed, despite only being scheduled to play one more midweek game in the next four months!
In Neil Young they have a manager with an impressive pedigree, having won three successive promotions with the newly-formed Chester, as well as raising Colwyn Bay a division. He has previous against Wrexham too, having enjoyed a 2-0 win at The Racecourse when the reformed club returned to the National League.
Head to Head
We have played Marine once before, in the first round of the FA Cup. The Racecourse was the venue and the game took place in December 1946. It was the first season of normal league football after the Second World War, although a rather unorthodox version of the FA Cup had been completed the season before, with sides playing home and away over two legs for the only time in the competition’s history.
Wrexham had reached the third round of that unusual competition, beating Crewe and Shrewsbury before losing out to Blackpool, who were a First Division side at the time.
The following season, our new look side started well, regularly attracting crowds of between 9- and 10,000 sport-starved fans to The Racecourse. By the time Marine arrived in November, we stood fourth in the Division Three North table, having lost just three times in our opening 16 games, all away from home.
Key to our strong start was new striker Jack Boothway. He’d only signed from Manchester City at the start of the month, but already had 4 goals under his belt from 5 games, helped by a hat trick against Darlington in only his second game. He was to have a memorable time at the expense of Marine, who had shown they knew the path to goal by winning their 4th qualifying round tie at home to Haydock Recreation 7-0.
With massive floodlights yet to be installed at The Racecourse, the game kicked off at noon, and Boothway immediately took control, scoring two by the 25th minute. Left winger Roy Brown added a third just before the break.
The second half saw Boothway pick up where he left off, scoring two more to set a club record: he was the first Wrexham player to hit four goals in an FA Cup match. His was also the 50th hat trick scored for the club.
All the goals Boothway had scored for Wrexham at this point had come at The Racecourse, so his tally stood at 9 in 3 games after the Marine match. His prolific home form continued, as he would score in each of his first 5 games in North Wales, accumulating a total of 12 goals in the process.
Jordan Ponticelli's 75th career appearance.
Christian Dibble's 50th game for Wrexham.