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Feature

Season Preview | Meet the opposition: part two

Membership on sale now – buy to guarantee home match-day ticket priority

6 July 2022

Feature

Season Preview | Meet the opposition: part two

Membership on sale now – buy to guarantee home match-day ticket priority

6 July 2022

With the fixtures now confirmed, the countdown to the new season is well and truly under way!

We’re continuing to take a closer look at the 23 teams we will face in the 2022/23 Vanarama National League season.

And remember, if you want to watch Wrexham in action against any of our old or new foes, 2022/23 members will always have match-day ticket priority over non-members.

With a raft of other benefits in a range of tailored packages available, for further information on memberships, click here, or to purchase a membership for the 2022/23 campaign, visit our eTicketing website here

Now, here’s a closer look at the teams we will be facing next season, or you can catch up on part one here.

Chesterfield 

Once the frontrunners to win the league last season, Chesterfield slipped off the pace with multiple injuries. Their 2021/22 season concluded with a 3-1 defeat to Solihull Moors in the Play-Off Semi-Final.  

The Spireites had to deal with the likes of Kabongo Tshimanga, Manny Oyeleke, Gavin Gunning and Tom Denton - all dealing with major injuries.

The return of Paul Cook to his managerial role at the side, after being sacked by League One Ipswich Town in December 2021, was a move filled with expectations. However, results waned, as Cook and his team could only muster up four wins in the league from the beginning of March. 

A pre-season for Cook and players returning from injury will undoubtedly place Chesterfield as one of the favourites to gain promotion this season, however.

Wrexham fans will be keen to recall the 2-0 victory claimed at the Technique Stadium in February, in what felt a pivotal moment in Wrexham’s rise up the table. A packed-out away end at Chesterfield encapsulates the fond memories of the fixtures last year for the Reds. 

One to Watch: Kabongo Tshimanga 

Before suffering a fractured leg and a dislocated ankle in a draw against Weymouth, Tshimanga was in red-hot form in the National League, recording a mighty 24 goals in 27 games.

He was around 10 goals ahead of any other player on the goalscoring charts at the time of his injury on February 16.

Paul Mullin finished the season as the league’s top scorer on 26 goals, and sat in second place was Tshimanga, with Stockport's Paddy Madden one goal behind having played 16 more games.

As the striker returns to full fitness, all eyes will be placed on him to see if he can recapture his tantalising form from the 2021/22 campaign.

2021/22 meetings 

October 5, 2021 – Wrexham 1-1 Chesterfield 

February 22, 2022 – Chesterfield 0-2 Wrexham 

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Dagenham & Redbridge 

Dagenham & Redbridge were the ones to squash any hope of Wrexham celebrations on the final day of the season. 

A Stockport loss at home to FC Halifax Town and a Wrexham win at Victoria Road would have given the Reds the opportunity to go top on goal difference.

As it was, a comfortable Stockport victory rendered Wrexham’s game with Dagenham as null and void as far as the title went and so the Daggers’ 3-0 triumph was left meaningless – doubly so, as they themselves missed out on the Play-Offs by a single point. 

Nine wins at the turn of March saw the Daggers make their charge for the Play-Offs. Although narrowly missing out as Chesterfield clung on on the final day with a goalless draw against Woking, the late surge will land the side from East London in good stead for the upcoming season. 

One to Watch: Elliot Justham 

The Daggers’ nine wins in their last 15 games were accompanied by nine clean sheets for Elliot Justham. The 31-year-old is going into his sixth season with Dagenham and has long been a respected goalkeeper during their tenure in the National League. 

Justham once again claimed the player of the season award for Dag & Red, overcoming the likes of Paul McCallum who scored 18 goals last season, proving how valued the keeper is to their set-up. 

2021/22 meetings 

September 18, 2021 – Wrexham 1-0 Dag & Red 

May 15, 2022 – Dag & Red 3-0 Wrexham 

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Dorking Wanderers 

Dorking Wanderers were the runners-up of the 2021/22 National League South season, as they amassed 81 points from their 40 games. 

After being beaten to the title and the only automatic promotion spot by Maidstone United by six points, they would be forced to battle for promotion to the National League the hard way; through the Play-Offs. 

A 3-0 victory against Oxford City would see the side from Surrey coast into the final against Ebbsfleet United. Craig Tanner then thought he had won the final for Ebbsfleet in the 94th minute, but a late, dramatic equaliser from Luke Moore in the 100th minute sent the match into extra-time.

The Wanderers sealed promotion via Alfie Rutherford in the last 30 minutes of the match, as the side formed in 1999 completed their rise to the top tier of non-league football.  

Ones to Watch: Alfie Rutherford and Ryan Seager 

Totalling an impressive 30 goals in 35 games, with an extra two crucial goals in the Play-Offs, Alfie Rutherford was the National League South’s top scorer.

New signing, Ryan Seager, from Play-Off runners-up Ebbsfleet, was third in the charts after picking up 27 goals for his side in the league.

Dorking scored 101 goals in the league last year and with the added threat of Seager, they will be tipped to apply the same attacking ethos to the National League this season, as they hope to at least maintain their position in the league. 

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Eastleigh 

Six points obtained over Eastleigh during the 2021/22 campaign landed them as favoured opposition, but it wasn’t without a dramatic comeback in April at the Racecourse to avoid defeat. 

As Wrexham were hunting down Stockport County in top spot, dropping points was not an option for the Reds. However, a Danny Whitehall brace left us 2-1 down with 15 minutes left on the clock.

‘Super’ Paul Mullin lived up to his name and fired us level in the 78th minute before rifling home a penalty in the 98th minute of the match in what was one of many outlandish comebacks. 

Eastleigh finished their season in 19th position, but comfortably clear of the drop. However, only three points separated them from Aldershot Town and with the returned four relegation places pulling teams down, they will be keen to better challenge teams in the league after only winning four times in 2022. 

One to Watch: Christian Maghoma

Following an impressive first half to the Eastleigh campaign, defender Christian Maghoma recently joined Eastleigh on a permanent deal from Gillingham.

Maghoma netted twice in 22 outings for the Spitfires. The former Tottenham youngster will be firmly in Lee Bradbury’s plans to help shut up shop, as the Spitfires hope to concede far fewer than 74 goals this campaign. 

2021/22 meetings 

August 28, 2021 – Eastleigh 0-2 Wrexham 

April 9, 2022 – Wrexham 3-2 Eastleigh 

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FC Halifax Town 

FC Halifax Town were in the minds of every Wrexham fan on the final day of the season, as the Reds were relying on the Shaymen to overcome Stockport County.

The dream did not come into fruition and for Halifax, the ending to last season was disappointing, after such a consistent high-performing year. Losing to struggling Chesterfield in the Quarter-Finals of the Play-Offs was not what supporters at the Shay had in mind. 

Finishing fourth in the table, Halifax had the best defensive record in the entire league, but this also contrasted with them having the worst offensive record in the top eight, only scoring 62 goals. 

The theme of late comebacks was rife throughout Wrexham’s campaign and Paul Mullin’s 91st-minute strike, accompanied by hysteria in the stands of the Shay Stadium’s away end, was the catalyst of these fightbacks. 

James Jones started this comeback in November and he also scored the third goal in a home 3-1 tear-down of the Shaymen in March. Scoring five goals against the best defensive side in the league is no easy feat and the Reds will be hoping for all six points once again this season. 

One to Watch: Matt Warburton 

Matt Warburton is an attacking midfielder who played 42 games for Halifax last season, amounting 13 goals in 42 games.

Every single one of his goals were scored in a win for the Shaymen, so his goalscoring boot is a lucky omen for the Shaymen.

As goals were on the shorter side compared to the rest of the promotion parties, Halifax will be hoping Warburton can go even further and carry on his impressive goal scoring form of the second half of the season. 

2021/22 meetings 

November 23, 2021 – Halifax Town 1-2 Wrexham 

March 22, 2022 – Wrexham 3-1 Halifax Town 

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