BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES | Notts County vs Wrexham AFC

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Sat 17 Aug 2019

After Notts County’s Football League stay was ended last season, Wrexham make their first trip to Meadow Lane in more than a decade on Sunday.

The two clubs met each other 48 times in the Football League, between 1958 and the Dragons’ relegation 50 years later. There was also an FA Cup tie, that went to a replay, in 1985, and one match in the LDV Vans Trophy.

The latter was the last time Wrexham won at Meadow Lane, kick-starting the club’s run to Millennium Stadium success in 2005.

In total, Wrexham have beaten Notts County on 17 occasions, with 15 draws – meaning the Magpies edge the head-to-head record with 19 wins.

We’ve revisited Wrexham’s most recent away win in Nottingham below, as well as some last-minute heartbreak at Meadow Lane a year later…

Best of times: Notts County 2-3 Wrexham (28/09/2004)

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While seemingly quite infrequent, Wrexham wins against Notts County have at least tended to hold some positive longer-term consequences.

Take the Robins’ 3-1 win at the Racecourse in 1978, for example. It was just Wrexham’s second home win of the season and included the final home goal of Mickey Thomas’ first spell with the club, but it was also the first of six consecutive home victories as Arfon Griffiths’ side established themselves in the second tier.

A year before this fixture, transfer-listed substitute Hector Sam had popped up with a second-half winner at Meadow Lane, kick-starting one of his best seasons in a Wrexham shirt.

The Trinidad & Tobago striker had been dropped to the bench for this LDV Vans Trophy first-round fixture the following season, however.

Denis Smith’s side had been hit hard by injuries too – Andy Dibble, Dennis Lawrence, Chris Armstrong, Darren Ferguson and Carlos Edwards all ruled out of the trip to Nottingham.

Brian Carey was rested too, and Sam dropped to the bench with Dean Bennett a surprise replacement up front.

Nevertheless, Wrexham were in front on 20 minutes – Steve Roberts heading a corner back across the danger area for Shaun Pejic to volley in the opener.

It was from another Wrexham corner that County levelled, however – Yousseff Sofiane beating Alex Smith to Craig Pead’s long ball and beating Matt Baker in goal on 24 minutes.

Notts County, buoyed by the goal, then finished the half strongly – Julien Baudet had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside, while Chris O’Grady’s effort was saved by Baker’s legs.

Sam was introduced at half-time, but for much of the half was frustrated up top and County took the lead on 71 minutes – Glynn Hurst racing onto another long ball and beating Baker.

Luck was on Wrexham’s side, however – and it was never more evident than in the equaliser with 11 minutes to play.

Sam turned well in the area to feed Chris Llewellyn, whose six-yard shot somehow hit defender Emmet Friars on the line, only to rebound back into the Welshman and loop in.

Llewellyn and Sam then combined brilliantly in the 87th minute, with a slick passing move ended with the Trinidad & Tobago international slotting in.

There was still time for Notts County to push for an equaliser, and Baker denied substitute Gavin Gordon in the closing moments.

Wrexham’s 3-2 win earned them a place in the hat for the next round, before wins against Stockport, Chester, Hereford and Oldham – with Juan Ugarte on fire – booked a trip to Cardiff.

There, of course, Ugarte and Ferguson scored Wrexham’s goals in a 2-0 defeat of Southend United after extra time as the Dragons lifted the trophy for the first time.

What they said: “That third goal was a joy to watch.” (Denis Smith, speaking to the Leader after the game)

Line-ups:

Notts County: Henderson, Wilson, Friars, Baudet (Scully 81), Whitlow, Pipe, Gill, Pead, Sofiane (Gordon 90), Hurst, O'Grady.

Subs not used: Deeney, McFaul, McIntyre.

Wrexham: Baker, Roberts, Morgan, Pejic, Whitley, Smith, Jones (Crowell 73), Williams, Holt, Llewellyn, Bennett (Sam 45).

Subs not used: Spender, Mackin, Evans.

Worst of times: Notts County 1-0 Wrexham (09/08/2005)

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Back in the fourth tier after the ten-point penalty for entering administration had cost Wrexham their League One place, Dragons fans hoped for another quick return.

A win on the opening day of the 2005-06 season at home to Boston did nothing to dispel those hopes either.

Reality kicked in on a trip to Meadow Lane three days later, however – with the hosts snatching victory in dramatic circumstances.

A sloppy first-half set the tone for a frustrating evening, and Mike Ingham pulled off three key saves in the final 15 minutes of the half.

The Northern Irishman was at full-stretch to turn Lewis McMahon’s effort wide, and then twice denied Kevin Wilson as the Wrexham defence failed to clear a corner.

Ingham then denied McMahon again on 62 minutes, parrying clear his close-range effort, before Wrexham finally began to exert their own dominance.

Control in midfield did not lead to chances for Jonathan Walters and Lee McEvilly up front, however.

The latter did set Mark Jones away in the 70th minute, and he was pulled back on the very edge of the area, by David Pipe – who somehow escaped even a booking.

Andy Holt hit the free-kick at the wall, however, and further efforts from Jones and Walters were saved an held by Kevin Pilkington.

And then the killer blow. With Dennis Lawrence on the floor injured, substitute Stacy Long – on his Football League debut – rounded Ingham to slot in a 90th-minute winner.

It was the first of five games without a win for Smith’s side, extinguishing any hopes of a promotion challenge before the first month of the season was even done.

Wrexham did recover to finish 13th – seven points clear of 21st-placed Notts County – but the Dragons have still not finished higher since.

What they said: “Wrexham went down to a controversial last-minute goal at Meadow Lane to ruin what to that point had been a gutsy performance, and left them regretting their inability to make the most of their second half dominance. (Daily Post)

Line-ups:

Notts County: Pilkington, O'Callaghan, Baudet, Wilson, Ullathorne, Pipe, Mike Edwards, Mike Edwards, McMahon, Palmer (Long 74), White (Gill 88), Scoffham (Hurst 81).

Subs not used: Deeney, Martin.

Wrexham: Ingham, Bayliss, Lawrence (Mackin 90), Pejic, Roche, Mark Jones, Ferguson, Williams, Holt, McEvilly (Bennett 75), Walters.

Subs not used: Michael Jones, Smith, Spender.

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