BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES | Wrexham AFC vs Aldershot Town

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 21 Dec 2018

A trip to Aldershot does not bring back the best of recent memories for Wrexham AFC supporters, with just one win in five away games since the Shots’ return to the National League in 2013.

Aldershot Town had originally replaced Wrexham in the Football League, earning promotion in 2008 as the Dragons were relegated.

It means there have been just 11 matches between Wrexham and Aldershot Town, though of course the original – and now defunct – Aldershot FC were regular Fourth Division opponents.

We’ve dived into the archives to pick out two of those 11 matches – one to remember, and one to forget, which in this case show just what a difference a year can make in football.

Best of times: Wrexham 3-0 Aldershot (15/08/2015)

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While Wrexham have a poor record at the Recreation Ground, at the Racecourse it is a different matter – the Dragons have won four from six against their visitors from Hampshire.

The Shots were among the first visitors to the Racecourse for Gary Mills’ first full season in charge, with Wrexham keen to reignite the charge for promotion after an ultimately disappointing 2014/15 campaign.

Away defeat to Bromley meant an inauspicious start to the new season, but Wrexham came from behind to beat Torquay on the following Tuesday night in the first of back-to-back home games.

The visit of Aldershot was the second of those, and the performance and result against the Shots ensured plenty of early-season optimism for the crowd of just less than 5,000.

Wrexham had dominated the early proceedings, getting plenty of balls into the box, and Wes York headed in the opener on 20 minutes when Connor Jennings’ flicked Dom Vose’s corner on.

The pattern of the game had been set, and a long-range Dom Vose free-kick went close to doubling the lead before York hit the post after Omar Beckles’ poor clearance.

In first-half stoppage time, James Gray headed in from Sean Newton’s free-kick, only for the offside flag to deny the Wrexham striker.

Six minutes into the second half, however, he was on the scoresheet – Javan Vidal turned Vose’ cross-shot goalwards and, when Phil Smith saved, Gray headed in the rebound.

Still the home team dominated and, when Kayden Jackson was brought down in the area in stoppage time, Vose stroked the penalty home to cap a fine win.

What they said: “With and without the ball we were brilliant” (Gary Mills, Wrexham manager)

Line-ups

Wrexham: Belford, Vidal, Smith, Fyfield, Newton, Moke, Evans, York (Jackson 89), Jennings, Vose, Gray (Smith 81).

Unused subs: Hudson, Fowler, Royle

Aldershot: Smith, Alexander, Oliver, Beckles, Anderton, Gallagher (Richards 58), Stevenson, Lathorpe, Browne (C.Walker 69), Barnes-Homer (Brodie 58), D.Walker

Unused subs: Saville, Thomas

Worst of times: Aldershot 2-0 Wrexham (13/08/2016)

What a difference a year makes. One year on from that confident, dominant home win against Aldershot, Gary Mills’ side travelled to Hampshire in what proved to be the beginning of the end for the manager.

After eventually not challenging for promotion, despite the bright start to the season, the following summer saw Mills dive into the transfer market and overhaul the playing squad.

Mills’ new look side made a bright start to the season too, drawing on the opening day against Dover before a 3-2 win at Guiseley before this trip to Hampshire.

Instead of building on that win, however, Wrexham slumped to what would be the first of six defeats in 13 games – which ultimately saw Mills sacked in October.

The build-up to the game suggested the rub of the green might be with Wrexham – an injury in the warm-up meaning goalkeeper Mark Smith was drafted in at the last minute for the hosts.

And yet Smith was largely untroubled as Wrexham fell behind early on and lacked the creativity and ideas to ever look like coming back into the game.

Just five minutes were on the clock when Matt McClure released Shamir Fenelon, who slotted past Chris Dunn to put the hosts 1-0 up.

If you need a summation of the rest of the half, Mills made a triple change at the interval – Nortei Nortey, Michael Bakare and Callum Powell all coming on.

But the subs had little impact on the game. John Rooney cleared off the line from from McClure on 53 minutes but Scott Rendell added a second goal five minutes later.

Wrexham’s first meaningful chance – Martin Riley heading at Mark Smith – did not arrive until the hour, as the Dragons slumped to defeat.

They would just four more times under Mills, before the former York City and Gateshead manager was relieved of his duties.

What they said: “Wrexham looked short of ideas and failed to put any sustained pressure on goalkeeper Mark Smith” (Wales Online)

Line-ups

Aldershot: Smith, Arnold, Bellamy, Evans, Fenelon (Kellermann 29), Rendell (Wakefield 86), McClure, Mensah (Allen 78), Alexander, Gallagher, Reynolds.

Unused subs: Straker, Saville

Wrexham: Dunn, Bencherif, Riley, Barry (Powell 46), Rooney, Newton, Carrington, Rutherford, Evans (Bakare 46), McDonagh, Harvey (Nortey 46).

Unused subs: Edwards, Harrad

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