BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES | Wrexham vs Barnet

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 12 Apr 2019

Wrexham travel to The Hive to face Barnet away for the first time since 2015 – the last time the Bees were in the National League.

Matches between the clubs have been rare, with this just the 18th ever competitive meeting between the two teams.

The Dragons have won each of the last three matches 1-0, with Stuart Beavon scoring the only goal of this season’s match at the Racecourse just before half-time.

In total, Wrexham have won eight of the 17 previous matches between the two teams, while Barnet have won six.

There have also been three draws, perhaps most notably a bad-tempered 1-1 when Wrexham first travelled to Barnet’s new stadium back in 2013 – a match which saw former Dutch international Edgar Davids and Wrexham duo Stephen Wright and Johnny Hunt all sent off.

Barnet have also been the opponents at notable junctures in Wrexham’s history too – good and bad – and we have revisited one of each below.

Read on for a home defeat that signalled the end of an era for the Dragons, but first a much-needed away win that changed Wrexham’s fortunes in 2007…

Best of times: Barnet 1-2 Wrexham (03/03/2007)

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To say Wrexham badly needed to win this match at Underhill would be an understatement.

Since beating Darlington at home in their final before Christmas, Wrexham had gone 12 league games without a victory – taking just four points from that spell.

Brian Carey, preparing for his 11th game in charge of the Dragons, was still looking for his first win as manager.

The previous week had seen Wrexham lose 3-1 at home to Shrewsbury, in a match which saw Steve Evans sent off, and Carey rang the changes for the trip to Barnet.

A Times article before the match had described Wrexham’s plight as slipping from ‘dangerous to desperate’ after the derby defeat.

Michael Ingham returned in goal for the game, while Shaun Pejic, Mike Williams and Lee McEvilly were also brought into the starting XI.

But if things were desperate before the game, the task became even harder after 27 minutes when, after Barnet had made a better start, they were rewarded with the breakthrough.

Oliver Allen had already been denied once by Ingham, as had Jason Puncheon, with Wrexham struggling against the slope, before the former fired Barnet ahead.

Liam Hatch raced clear from an incisive counter-attack and, though his shot was blocked, Allen was on hand to tap in the rebound.

McEvilly went closest to an equaliser before the break, when Ross Flitney turned his free-kick onto the bar and over on 34 minutes.

But Wrexham turned things around after the break, not just in the context of the game but in terms of the whole season.

After a dominant first half, Barnet could maintain that pressure as Wrexham played down the slope after the break.

McEvilly got the equaliser on 58 minutes, receiving the ball from Chris Llewellyn some 25 yards out and rifling in Wrexham’s first of the afternoon.

Two minutes later, he doubled his tally – again assisted by Welsh winger Llewellyn. This time, McEvilly looped a header in to earn Wrexham a vital three points.

Carey’s first win in charge lifted Wrexham out of the drop zone and proved the catalyst for the stunning charge for survival.

Wrexham would end up taking eight points from March, losing just one of their five matches, and though they lost twice over Easter, four wins in the final five games – including the 3-1 defeat of Boston on the final day that relegated the Pilgrims instead – would ensure Football League survival.

What they said: “The North Wales club who hung on for their victory.” (The Chronicle)

Line-ups:

Barnet: Flitney, Hendon (Cogan 82), King, Yakubu, Gross, Puncheon, Bailey, Sinclair, Graham (Hessenthaler 74), Hatch, Allen (Vieira 79).

Unused subs: Grazioli, Warhurst.

Wrexham: Ingham, Roche, Pejic, Danny Williams (Gareth Evans 29), Mike Williams, Mark Jones, Garrett, Whitley, Llewellyn, McEvilly, Roberts.

Unused subs: Ruddy, Done, Barron, Carvill.

Worst of times: Wrexham 0-1 Barnet (22/02/2014)

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Andy Morrell’s spell in charge of Wrexham brought a second-place finish in the Conference with 98 points and, the following year, FA Trophy success and a play-off final.

No manager has got closer to taking the Dragons back into the Football League since, but less than a year on from the Wembley defeat to Newport County, Wrexham were floundering in mid-table.

A home defeat to Dartford followed by a goalless draw at Cambridge meant Wrexham had failed to carry good form in January into the next month.

And a frustrating 1-0 home defeat proved to be Morrell’s final game in charge of the Dragons.

Wrexham had their chances at the Racecourse – Joe Clarke denied from close range within the first few minutes, when Mark Carrington’s deflected cross dropped to him in the area.

Joe Anyinsah took the ball past Barnet keeper Nick Jupp moments later but his shot was blocked, while the Bees’ stopper did well to save Clarke’s header from Elliot Durrell’s free-kick.

Captain Dean Keates then curled a free-kick wide after Andy Yiadom’s handball and, from the skipper’s corner on the half-hour, Danny Livesey’s header was blocked on the line.

But a dominant first-half counted for nothing as Wrexham failed to make their chances pay before Barnet grew into the game.

Jake Hyde’s flicked effort was cleared off the line by Carrington on the hour as the hosts were forced deeper and deeper.

And the pressure told on 78 minutes, when Neil Ashton was disposed and Yiadom whipped in a right-wing cross for Hyde to turn in.

Less than 3,000 fans were inside the Racecourse for the game, but the boos that rang out on the final whistle were audible for all to hear.

Morrell stepped down as manager two days later, ending a two-and-a-half-year tenure at the Racecourse.

What they said: “Wrexham struggled to create anything in reply and boos rang around the Racecourse as Morrell’s men left the pitch.” (Wales Online)

Line-ups:

Wrexham: Coughlin, Tomassen, Livesey, Ashton, Harris, Keates, Carrington, Anyinsah (Ormerod 63), Clarke, Durrell (Thornton 80), Bishop (Ogleby 70).

Unused subs: Artell, Hunt

Barnet: Jupp, Stephens, Gjokaj, Johnson, Weston, Cadogan, Adams (Garcia 82), Yiadom, Byrne, Marsh-Brown (Lopez 67), Hyde (Mengerink 90).

Unused subs: Vilhete, Abdullah

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