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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Wrexham vs Accrington Stanley

The run-in beckons as Wrexham look to maintain our home form.

1 March 2024

Match Previews

PREVIEW | Wrexham vs Accrington Stanley

The run-in beckons as Wrexham look to maintain our home form.

1 March 2024

Wrexham suffered a chastening afternoon at Accrington in November, and need to avoid a repetition as they return home from three long journeys in eight days.


Paul Mullin's late penalty rescued a point at Forest Green on Tuesday as a gruelling series of trips south came to an end. Now, Phil Parkinson's team must look to return to the winning rhythm they've enjoyed at the Stok Cae Ras over the last few seasons.

The home league table for this season shows that, despite a wobbly start (5 of the 10 points we've dropped were in our first 3 home games), we've still got the best home record in League Two:

  P Pts
Wrexham 16 38
MK Dons 18 37
Stockport County 18 35
Crewe Alexandra 17 34
Mansfield Town 16 33

That's a continuation of Wrexham's fine form at the Stok Cae Ras under Parkinson:

Season P Pts @ Pts per game Pts dropped
2023-24 16 38 2.375 10
2022-23 23 67 2.91 2
2021-22 22 51 2.31 15

Having had the best home record in the country last season, we're currently sitting in 4th place in the top 4 divisions in terms of points per game. We've scored the most goals at home too!

    P W D L GD Pts @ Pts per game
1 Liverpool 13 11 2 0 26 35 2.69
2 Leeds United 17 13 4 0 26 43 2.53
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 22 32 2.46
4 Aston Villa 13 10 1 2 20 31 2.38
  Manchester City 13 9 4 0 20 31 2.38
  Wrexham 16 12 2 2 22 38 2.38
7 Leicester City 17 13 1 3 23 40 2.35
  Ipswich Town 17 12 4 1 17 40 2.35
9 Portsmouth 17 11 4 2 12 37 2.18
10 WBA 17 11 3 3 14 36 2.12

Eoghan O'Connell's injury on Tuesday continued the incredible series of set-backs our centre backs have suffered this season, but at least Will Boyle returns from his two-match ban.




Despite two significant gaps in this fixture - between 1961 and 2006 after Accrington went out of business, and Wrexham's National League years from 2008 to last November - Accrington are a club we've come across 75 times. Our records are fairly even, with Stanley having the better of our most recent matches. Indeed, they come into this match on their best run of results at The Stok Cae Ras, having won their last 2 games here in the brief period in the 2000s when our paths crossed.

Goals have flown in from all angles since we first met Accrington back in 1921, our first season in the Football League; in fact there has never been a goalless draw between the two sides.

Furthermore, one of the sides has hit four or more goals no fewer than seventeen times in those games, so once every four games one of the keepers gets a backache!  In total 235 goals have been scored in this fixture at a rate of more than three a match.

This fixture also has a history of the dramatic, not to mention the bizarre!  For example, Archie Longmuir scored hat-tricks against Stanley in consecutive home fixtures, which ended 5-6 and 5-0! The 5-6 defeat in October 1925 was only the start of it!  Wrexham played Accrington two more times that season, the return game in the league and an F.A. Cup tie, and conceded thirteen goals in total.  The cup match ended 4-0 to Stanley, who also won the return league fixture game 4-2!

Two more hat-tricks have been scored by Wrexham players in this fixture, both by the legendary Tommy Bamford, but even then there was something odd about them.  There's nothing surprising in the fact that when Bamford stuck four past the Stanley keeper in September 1930 as we thrashed them 6-1 in our biggest win over Accrington.  Yet remarkably, like Longmuir his other hat-trick came in a defeat.  It happened in December 1932, and we lost 5-3!

Unsurprisingly Bamford and Longmuir are the top two in the list of scorers against Accrington, on eleven and nine goals respectively.  Behind them come Tommy Bannan and Ron Hewitt on six apiece, while Ted Regan has four. 

Our worst home defeat in this historically high-scoring fixture came in October 1955 when we crashed to a 4-1 defeat, Gordon Richards' goal a mere consolation.  We met two other times at Accrington's old Peel Park ground that season, and lost them both 3-1.


Accrington have slipped to 15th place as a consequence of consecutive defeats, but in the congested queue to leap into the play-offs they are just 5 points of the top 7. Victory over Salford in January put them 2 places off the play-off spots, but they've won just 2 of their subsequent 9 games. Injuries have been a significant factor in theirindifferent form, and although they are hopeful ex-Wrexham winger Shaun Whalley and young midfielder Alex Henderson will return at the Stok Cae Ras, Norwich loanee Brad Hills, who was outstanding against Wrexham in November, is suspended, skipper Seamus Conneely appears to be out with an abductor tear and could be absent for 4-6 weeks.

Korede Adedoyin returned to the squad last week, but Rosaire Longelo, who socred the second against Wrexham, has been out for a time and another enforced absentee with will Red Dragons striker Jake Bickerstaff! Bickerstaff has started all 6 games since his loan move to Stanley, but one of the stipulations of his contract is that he's prohibited from playing in this fixture.

Young players have been filling the gaps for manager John Coleman, who is proud of their efforts.

"Our team are doing wonders, being able to stay in games so long. We haven't been beaten by two goals for a while and the fact that in late February we are still in a positive goal difference shows you how hard the lads are working to try and protect our goal.

"We would like to score more goals but it's not all doom and gloom and you have to take it on face value - the players are working extremely hard and are performing way above my expectations and I have high expectations of them all. The way we have adapted to so many changes in personnel, I can only take my hat off to them for their efforts.

"I would love to have more wins for our fans, ourselves and the team and we will be trying to go out and get more wins between now and the end of the season."

"There is a feel-good factor around Wrexham which is good to see, you want to see clubs flourishing. I have no envy of that. They have had an influx of money, have spent it wisely, and they have great players."

-John Coleman, Accrington Stanley manager

The loss at Walsall, who have been going great guns recently, was frustrating for Coleman as his side scored first and were unhappy with the nature of the two goals which pierced their dogged rearguard action.

“The disappointing fact is we’ve conceded from two identical corners and it’s two fouls on the keeper,” Coleman told the Lancashire Telegraph. "On the balance they made more chances than us, we were hanging on at times, they missed a couple of sitters and you think it’s going to be your night. But that’s about the fifth time we’ve been leading with about 25 minutes to go away from home and not won, which is disappointing.

“I’m not making excuses as Walsall deserved to win but we deserved a level playing field – what wasn’t a foul for us was a foul for them, there was just no balance, it got painful to watch. But with how many injuries we’ve had, the fact we’re still competing against an in-form team shows how hard our lads work – I can’t knock their effort.

“We’ve got 18 fit players – injuries are an occupational hazard but it’s an unusual amount. If you take the top seven or eight earners out of any team, it’s a massive setback.”

Stanley are led by one of the wiliest of managers in Coleman, whose legendary status at the club is unchallenged. He is a massive part of the club's rebirth and spectacular return to the EFL, where they have comfortably re-established themselves for close to two decades. His loyalty is remarkable and he knows how to wring every tiny hint of advantage out of a situation for his team. That's certainly been the case this week as he resurrected last November's 2-0 win over the Red Dragons in the hope of that match weighing on Wrexham's minds.

"You play the occasion and the football team", he told his club website, "There were a lot of things said after our game, I think they were on a really good run. They have had some unbelievable success and we played them in the middle of that feel-good factor and we beat them. I think they felt slighted that they were beaten by 'little Accrington Stanley.' But we have proved throughout the last 12/15 years that we are no longer 'little Accrington.'

"We might be in terms of monetary value and what we can pay etc, we live within our means, but we are rich in spirit and we have proved that time and time again that we are not the little club. It's not a shock when we do well and beat so-called bigger teams. We beat them and it will still be hanging over their fans in my opinion and I think their players will be wanting to win for that reason.

We have got to talk to our players and remind them about their roles and responsibilities on the pitch. They have proved they can handle things, let's hope they can handle Wrexham on Saturday.

-John Coleman

"Lots of teams will feel they have a chance of the Play-Offs. It's just mini-runs teams get on, you get on them and it's how long you can stay on them to get yourself into a position. Barrow went on an unbelievably good run, got themselves into the automatics, then just dropped off a little bit. Harrogate went on an unbelievable run, got themselves into the Play-Offs, had a little bit of a stutter but have responded well. Morecambe have been on a cracking run. We had a mini-run where we won four on spin earlier this season and it's as if loads of people want to get in Play-Offs and promoted but no one wants to do anything about it.

"It feels like we have been a floating ball inbetween 13th and 10th, we keep floating there no matter what the result is. We have got to try and get a couple of wins and get out of the vacuum we are in and go up rather than down. We just want to get better, we have to be offensively better and that’s what we have concentrated on this week."


AFC Wimbledon v Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City v Notts County
Colchester United v Stockport County
Crawley Town v Barrow
Crewe Alexandra v Morecambe
Grimsby Town v Forest Green Rovers
Newport County v Mansfield Town
Salford City v Gillingham
Swindon Town v Harrogate Town
Tranmere Rovers v Sutton United
Walsall v Doncaster Rovers
For obvious reasons, AFC Wimbledon hosting MK Dons takes top billing today, but keep an eye on Blundell Park. Forest Green's renaissance under Steve Cotterill and Grimsby's 7-game run without a win means a Rovers victory will leave both sides equal on points as an unexpectedly tight relegation battle develops.


FGR-A-GT-102.jpgJames McClean's 575th career match in club football.

Luke Young's 450th league match.

FGR-A-GT-087.jpgArthur Okonkwo's 75th career appearance.

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