BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES | Wrexham vs Stockport County

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 30 Aug 2019

After the Hatters’ promotion back to the National League, Wrexham and Stockport County are set to go head-to-head for the 111th time.

In 110 previous fixtures Stockport have the better head-to-head record, with 48 wins to Wrexham’s 40. The Dragons’ are unbeaten in the last four, however – including a 6-1 thrashing in the FA Trophy on the way to Wembley in 2015.

That was not the only goalfest in this fixture’s history either, with only one of the last six matches between the two teams producing less than four goals.

With Wrexham enjoying the better of this fixture, our Best of Times revisits one of the more recent meetings at the Racecourse.

Our Worst of Times steps a little further back in time, however, to a match which featured both current managers – Bryan Hughes and Jim Gannon – as players.

First, however, a day to forget for a former Wrexham man as the Dragons ran riot at the Racecourse...

Best of times: Wrexham 4-0 Stockport County (15/10/2011)

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Stockport’s first trip to Wrexham as a Football Conference team was one to forget for fans who made the short trip over from Cheshire, and for former Dragons’ man Chris Blackburn in the Stockport defence.

While they had endured a difficult start to life in the fifth tier, under manager Dietmar Hamann, they were actually unbeaten away from home going into this game.

Andy Morrell, after an early wobble at home to Mansfield, had got Wrexham ticking since taking over as manager from Doncaster-bound Dean Saunders, meanwhile.

The Dragons had won their next three matches, at home to Ebbsfleet and away to Gateshead and Hayes & Yeading with Nat Knight-Percival – sent off in the Mansfield defeat – a goalscorer the previous week.

And the big defender was to play a big part in this win too, as Wrexham flew out of the blocks and were 1-0 up inside three minutes – Knight-Percival slamming home from close-range after Jamie Tolley’s free-kick.

Mark Creighton’s header was cleared off the line shortly afterwards and Morrell, Adrian Cieslewicz and Tolley had all missed chance to double the lead before the second went in on 23 minutes.

Morrell was the goalscorer, heading in from Dean Keates’ corner to double the lead.

Stockport were perhaps fortunate to go in at half-time just 2-0 down – Creighton seeing another shot blocked before, on 37 minutes, Keates’ effort was tipped over.

But Wrexham ensured they would not be ruing those misses when they again flew out of the blocks after the restart.

This time, Mathias Pogba’s effort was deflected behind within a minute of the restart and Creighton hit the bar from the resultant corner.

Neil Ashton kept the ball alive, however, and crossed for Knight-Percival to power in his second of the game.

Wrexham took their foot off the gas a little thereafter, but substitute Jake Speight reinvigorated the hosts and added a fourth on 75 minutes.

Mathias Pogba made the goal, charging a clearance down, and the ball ran through for Speight, whose deflected effort looped in.

Speight continued to torment the Stockport defence, with Blackburn’s claims he was better at the back than in midfield where Wrexham had used him, looking questionable at the least.

Speight tormented Blackburn – cousin of current goalkeeping coach Michael Oakes – again with four minutes left, spinning away from the defender.

This time, however, goalkeeper Matt Glennon did just enough to charge the shot down and Daniel O’Donnell to keep the score to four.

Morrell would be handed the Wrexham job on a permanent basis two weeks later, while Hamann’s tenure at Stockport would only last a week longer than that.

What they said: “Five stitches in a wound above his right eye were the only unwanted souvenir of a red-letter day for Nat Knight-Percival on Saturday when he marked his 50th appearance for Wrexham with two goals in a 4-0 mauling of Stockport County.” (Daily Post)

“Wrexham produced one of their best performances of the season as they easily beat Stockport County 4-0 at The Racecourse to remain top of the Conference table.” (The Leader)

Line-ups:

Wrexham: Mayebi, Obeng, Creighton, Knight-Percival, Ashton, Harris (Clarke 78), Keates, Tolley, Cieslewicz, Pogba (Wright 76), Morrell (Speight 64).

Subs not used: Maxwell, Hunt.

Stockport County: Glennon, O’Donnell, Blackburn, Piergianni, Edwards, Sheridan (Whitehead 46), Nolan, Chadwick (Elliott 53), Paton, Miles (Routledge 46), German

Subs not used: Ormson, McCann

Worst of times: Wrexham 2-3 Stockport County (26/12/1996)

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While the 1996-97 season will be forever remembered for each team’s respective cup exploits, Wrexham and Stockport were both among the promotion contenders in the Second Division too.

Stockport were already through the League Cup quarter-finals when this fixture took place – they would eventually bow out in the semi-finals to Middlesbrough.

Wrexham, meanwhile, were soon to face West Ham United in the FA Cup third round, in a run which would eventually lead to the last eight.

In the league, meanwhile, both teams were in the play-off positions ahead of this festive fixture at the Racecourse.

Three straight away defeats had hampered Wrexham slightly, but Brian Flynn’s side were unbeaten at home in the league and had just seen off Bristol City for a seventh win in eight home league games.

Flynn opted for an unchanged starting line-up to face the Hatters, in front of a Boxing Day crowd of 6,736.

That included Steve Watkin, a goalscorer against Bristol City, continuing up front alongside Steve Morris in Karl Connolly’s absence.

And both strikers were on the scoresheet as Wrexham stormed into a 2-0 lead to put them well on course for yet another home win.

But then it all unravelled. First Alun Armstrong pulled one back, before future manager Jim Gannon levelled proceedings.

It got worse too, as Tony Dinning sealed victory by converting a penalty – a result which saw Wrexham drop out of the play-off spots.

It was a transformative result in each team’s league campaigns. Bad weather and cup commitments meant Stockport’s season was squashed into the last few months but they only lost four more games and eventually went up as runners-up.

Wrexham, meanwhile, after dropping out of the play-off positions did not return to the top six again – eventually finishing four points short of the play-offs in eighth place.

What they said: “Stockport moved level on points with Bury and Millwall with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Wrexham.” (Independent)

Line-ups:

Wrexham: Marriott, McGregor, Humes, Jones, Hardy (Williams 59), Chalk, Hughes, Owen (Roberts 87), Ward, Watkin, Morris

Subs not used: Russell

Stockport County: Jones, Connelly, Todd (Ware 88), Dinning, Flynn, Gannon, Durkan, Marsden, Cavaco, Angell, Armstrong

Subs not used: Jeffers, Mutch

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