BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES | Wrexham vs Ebbsfleet United

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 29 Mar 2019

Saturday’s opposition, Ebbsfleet United, were among Wrexham’s opponents in the Dragons’ first season in the National League – and, indeed, the first team to beat Wrexham in the FA Trophy.

The match at the Kuflink Stadium will be the 14th between the two teams, with The Fleet having spent two spells out of the league in the intervening period.

Of those matches, Wrexham have won seven – most recently blowing the visitors in a stunning first-half performance at the Racecourse on the way to a 4-1 victory back in September.

Of the other six games, Ebbsfleet have won three – including the most recent meeting at Stonebridge Road.

We’ve revisited that match below, but first a look at another dominant home display in this fixture from the 2012/13 season.

Best of times: Wrexham 4-1 Ebbsfleet United (05/03/2013)

If this season’s dominant first-half display at the Ebbsfleet United – as impressive as it was – seemed a little familiar, that is because Wrexham have done it before in this fixture.

Wrexham went into the Tuesday night fixture in March 2013 level on points with Kidderminster Harriers at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier.

And they put in a display worthy of their league position, blowing away the visitors in an awesome 45-minute spell.

Wrexham flew out the blocks, with new arrival Dele Adebola prodding home his first Wrexham goal after some pinball in the penalty area with just 93 seconds on the clock.

Andy Morrell’s side had gone in front the previous weekend before ending up drawing with Alfreton Town, but this time Wrexham were ruthless up front.

Brett Ormerod doubled the lead on 11 minutes, putting the finishing touches to a neat passing move as he fired in from Joe Clarke’s pass.

Only a great save, under his own bar, by Ebbsfleet stopper Preston Edwards prevented Dave Artell heading in from a corner – already Wrexham’s fourth of the game – on the quarter-hour too.

Ebbsfleet had the odd chance of their own – one route-one clearance from Edwards on 26 minutes releasing Nathan Elder, who could not lift over the onrushing Chris Maxwell.

But Wrexham were three up just three minutes later when Kevin Thornton pounced on a poor clearance and curled into the top corner.

Just like this season’s match, even better was to come on the stroke of half-time too – in-form Robert Ogleby, on as a substitute for Adebola on 30 minutes, handing Wrexham a 4-0 lead at the interval from another slick move.

The Dragons took their foot off the gas at half-time, though Andy Morrell, Thornton and Ogleby all missed chances to extend the lead further.

Ebbsfleet did pull one back, but Elder’s goal – catching the Wrexham defence exposed to beat Maxwell – was merely a consolation with 12 minutes remaining.

With Kidderminster losing on the same night, Wrexham went three points clear at the top with 11 games to play.

Unfortunately, a run of five points from the next five league games – despite winning the FA Trophy in between – ultimately put paid to the title challenge, however.

And while Wrexham would go on to beat Kidderminster Harriers to set up a play-off final with Newport County, the club’s second trip to Wembley of the season would return very different memories to the first.

What they said: “Clinical finishing in the first half paved the way for a comfortable victory over lowly Ebbsfleet United.” (The Leader)

Line-ups:

Wrexham: Maxwell, S.Wright, Westwood, Artell, Ashton, Clarke, Keates (Little 68), Thornton, D.Wright (Morrell 52), Adebola (Ogleby 30), Ormerod.

Unused subs: Cieslewicz, Hunt.

Ebbsfleet United: Edwards, Phipp, Walsh, Lorraine, Saville (Azeez 33), Gwillim, Carew, Barrett, Shitta (Bellamy 46), Envar-Marum (Alabi 66), Elder.

Subs not used: Blake, Menz.

Worst of times: Ebbsfleet United 3-0 Wrexham (10/04/2018)

Wrexham’s last trip to Northfleet was very much one to forget as the Dragons suffered a heavy defeat in what was a must-win match down in Kent.

Going into the game having taken two points from the last three matches, Andy Davies’ side needed to get back to winning ways to keep their play-off ambitions on track.

Ebbsfleet, by contrast, were surging up the table on a good run of form – including eight games without defeat.

After drawing at Eastleigh late on, injured duo Chris Holroyd and Sam Wedgbury dropped out and were replaced by Simon Ainge and Nicky Deverdics from the previous game.

Ainge was straight involved too, as he set up Scott Quigley inside the first minute, and Nathan Ashmore saved comfortably.

Manny Smith then headed onto the bar from Marcus Kelly’s 11th-minute free-kick, before the latter put a deep free-kick straight in on the quarter-hour, only for it to be chalked off for a foul.

The bright start did not continue, however, as Ebbsfleet got a foothold in the game and pegged the visitors back.

Chris Dunn saved well from Luke Coulson on 32 minutes, after he beat Smith in the area, and then gathered at the second attempt when he could only block Sean Shields’ low effort with his legs in the 39th.

The match was still goalless at the break, but Wrexham saw their play-off hopes take a huge battering after the restart.

Corey Whitely broke the deadlock on 51 minutes, finding space in the area and firing under Dunn’s body at the near post.

Wrexham failed to consistently test Ebbsfleet at the other end, though Quigley fired just wide with a low effort from distance on 56 minutes.

The Dragons’ bid to get level saw them become more exposed at the back, however, and Coulson hit the post on 62 minutes.

Marcus Kelly’s acrobatic effort was matched by Ashmore’s fingertip save with 13 minutes remaining.

Wrexham thought they had levelled on 80 minutes, when Ainge flicked James Jennings’ long clearance on and Mackreth prodded in – but the latter had gone too soon and was flagged offside.

But Ebbsfleet seized on a poor Dunn goal-kick to seal victory with six minutes remaining – the ball eventually worked to Kedwell, who fired across goal and into the far corner.

With Wrexham dejected, Coulson then grabbed a deserved goal late in stoppage time – rounding off a counter-attack with an effort that deflected in off Shaun Pearson.

The 3-0 defeat left Wrexham seventh in the table, with Dover and the Fleet within touching distance behind thanks to their games in hand.

And with the Dragons then losing to Dagenham and Leyton Orient, and finishing the season with a goalless draw at home to Fylde, they ultimately finished tenth – three points outside the play-off places and four behind sixth-placed Ebbsfleet.

What they said: “Wrexham were less of a threat on the attack and just could not find a way back into a contest that they really needed to take something from.” (The Leader)

Line-ups:

Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, McCoy, Clark, Winfield, Bush, Whitely (Wabo 74), Powell (Wilson 90), Coulson, Drury, Shields (Weston 86), Kedwell.

Unused subs: Connors, Miles.

Wrexham: Dunn; Raven, M Smith, Pearson, Jennings, Rutherford (Mackreth 67), Wright (Boden 82), Kelly, Deverdics, Quigley, Ainge.

Unused subs: Dibble, Carrington, Franks.

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