After the frustration of losing a two-goal lead on Tuesday, Wrexham face a couple of cup ties before looking to get back on track in the league.
The 2-2 draw at Harrogate came at a cost: Arthur Okonkwo took a blow to the jaw which forced him off at half time. However, Phil Parkinson has plenty of strength in depth in goal, and might well have been planning to rotate between the sticks anyway.
We will check him out. I don't think it is too serious but he was a bit dazed at half-time so the medical team felt it was the right thing to bring him off.
I am not a physio, I have got to go with their judgment.
Luke McNicholas played in the two most recent Bristol Streets Motors Trophy matches, and looked extremely impressive, while we all know that Mark Howard, who stepped in seamlessly in the second half on Tuesday, is literally a safe pair of hands.
Elsewhere, Parkinson is likely to make use of his squad across the two cup ties, although the FA Cup is liable to take precedence. Paul Mullin will want to keep his place, as last season's highest scorer in the FA Cup will be keen to add to his terrific record in the competition. He got off the mark in the first round, scoring at Mansfield, and has scored in his last 6 games in the competition. Furthermore, in his last 9 starts he has scored 12 goals!
Yeovil’s renaissance this season has been remarkable. When they were relegated at The Stok Cae Ras in the penultimate game of last season, they were in a sorry state, but the way they have recovered from that low point has been magnificent.
A decent start to the campaign ignited in early September, when a 3-2 win at Weston Super Mare sparked an incredible run of 14 consecutive wins. That wonderful run means the Glovers are currently 8 points clear at the top of the National League South, and are also top scorers with 39 goals in 19 matches.
The run ended with a 2-1 loss in the FA Trophy to Torquay, and since then they have had a minor wobble, winning 1 point from 6. A 1-1 draw at Chippenham was followed by a surprise 4-1 loss last Saturday at Welling, who are currently in the relegation zone.
The disappointment in such a poor performance ws expressed by striker Alex Fisher when he spoke to BBC Somerset after the match: “You’ve got to give Welling credit for how they performed today and how they took the moments of importance so professionally, but I do think there’s an element that we allowed certain things to happen that we haven’t been doing for all season. It’s not just taking anything away from their achievement today, but there are some home truths that we’ve had in the changing rooms about keeping standards high and we’ve got to hit our next game with all that in mind.
“Once they got their advantage, they felt like they played an extra man. Once you give a team confidence at any level, that that can happen to you. I think the results haven’t been great in the last three games for us, but in the grand scheme of the season, if you take our winning run, that’s 31 points out of a possible 36."
Yeovil boss Mark Cooper told BBC Somerset he was unhappy about the ease with which Tristan Andrews scored an 11-minute hat trick for Welling: “With his ability, he should be playing a lot higher…today he made our centre-backs look like Under-12s players.
“Welling deserved to win. If you take the first 20 minutes out of it where we controlled it and we looked really dangerous, we ran hard, got the goal, but after that they ran harder, they jumped higher, sprinted faster, competed more and that’s why we lost.
“There’s no excuse. We have to compete, and that’s what we’ve done so well, we’ve competed against teams. If you take for granted, we didn’t run hard enough today. We can talk about tactics and talk about selection, all our big guns ended up on the pitch and they were better than us until the last 10 minutes when we changed the shape, got an extra man on the pitch and solidified in the middle a bit, put two up and then we started to play a little bit, but up until then they were miles better than us.”
“But listen, our players have been fantastic, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of what they’ve done, I’ll take the blame for today. Maybe I’ve got the selection wrong.
We need to back the players, we need to give them all the support and encouragement we and be ready for a really exciting, really tough game at Wrexham.
-Mark Cooper, Yeovil manager
“At 1-0 we were not in really any danger and then we make a mistake in the middle of the pitch and let the ball bounce and the lad has scores a good strike.
“We’ve played 19 (league) games, which means we have got another 27 to play and we have just got to keep going. It was never meant to be easy and I think it’s important we don’t lose sight of what we’ve done and we stay focused.”
Yeovil have already enjoyed a lengthy cup run, having got through four rounds to get this far. In the process they’ve already pulled off a couple of upsets, beating National League opposition in Southend United and Gateshead.
By our standards, these have been a couple of poor results, but with the added context of those points we’ve had a very good spell and we know we need to get back on track.
Yeovil striker Alex Fisher
Yeovil's side has an experienced spine, and up front they can call on Rhys Murphy, who scored a hat trick the first time The Glovers played in Wrexham, and one of Phil Parkinson's first Wrexham signings. Jake Hyde's season at the Stok Cae Ras was severely hampered by injury, but his whole-hearted commitment to the cause was never in doubt.
Hyde signed a two-year contract in 2021 and struck up a promising partnership with Paul Mullin in pre-season. He continued in the same vein when the campaign began, scoring both goals in his second game for the Red Dragons in a 2-0 win at Eastleigh. A further goal at Grimsby made it 3 in his first 6 games, but that match at Blundell Park signalled a decisively turning point in his time in North Wales. He had to go off after 76 minutes, having picked up the first in a series of injuries which seriously affect his season.
He would only hit the net one more time for Wrexham - and that wouldn't count as the match was abandoned as heavy rain rendered Aldershot's pitch unplayable. In total he'd miss 35 games through injury, and although he was able to contribute at the very end of the season, his luck wouldn't change. He came off the bench to score in the FA Trophy final, only to be denied by a marginal offside decision, and a simlar late attempt to rescue the promotion play-off semi-final against Grimsby would be equally frustrating.
He spent the next season on loan at Southend, and left Wrexham last Summer when his contract expired. He never scored at the Stok Cae Ras in a red shirt; ironically he scored more in North Wales for Barnet than us! How he'd love to show Wrexham's fans what he's capable of by scoring for The Glovers this weekend.
HEAD TO HEAD
Yeovil’s last match at The Stok Cae Ras held massive significance for both sides. Only two matches remained after the clash last April, and the result would define each club’s fate.
The Glovers needed to win their last three matches to avoid relegation, while Wrexham knew required two wins to clinch the National League title.
The tension of the occasion was clear, and Yeovil put up impressive resistance as the first half ended goalless. Wrexham imposed themselves in the second half, though, and Anthony Forde opened the scoring after an hour with a fine finnish. James Jones doubled the lead and a cushioned header by Paul Mullin completed a 3-0 win, setting up the dramatic clash with Boreham Wood which would see us win the title.
The season before, Yeovil claimed all three points from their visit to North Wales, albeit in controversial circumstances. A drab match burst to life when Liam McAlinden received an extremely harsh red card in the 35th minute for jumping into a defender in an attempt to win a header.
Wrexham battled bravely with ten men, but Town ultimately took advantage of the situation, and won 2-0. The defeat was Phil Parkinson’s first at The Stok Cae Ras, and it would be the last he experienced until MK Dons beat us on the opening day of this season, 47 games and 22 months later!
In May 2021, Wrexham enjoyed another 3-0 win over The Glovers. This game took the opposite pattern to the 3-0 we enjoyed last season, as it was essentially settled in the opening half hour. Shaun Pearson struck after just 10 minutes, and the goals continued to follow in neat increments of 10 minutes: Luke Young scored with a typical strike in the 20th minute, and 10 minutes later Jordan Davies completed the scoring with an absolute beauty of his own.
Yeovil’s first visit to North Wales came in November 2019, and it was a memorable affair. Rhys Murphy opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, and gave The Glovers the lead again after Akil Wright equalised half way through the first half.
Paul Rutherford struck a minute before the break, and a minute after the interval Bobby Grant gave us the lead. However, in the 66th minute Murphy completed his hat trick to clinch a 3-3 draw.
Wrexham have faced Yeovil once before in the FA Cup, but it was a disheartening experience for the Red Dragons. The first round tie took place in November 2003 at Huish Park, and our humiliation was transmitted live on TV to make matters even worse. We withstood Yeovil’s pressure until the 39th minute when Kevin Gall, who would sign for us 5 years later, opened the scoring. The floodgates opened after the break and 3 goals in 20 minutes ended the game as a contest. Chris Armstrong grabbed an 88th minute goal but it was no consolation.
George Evans’ 250th career appearance.
Jacob Mendy’s 50th Wrexham appearance.