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

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Thu 18 Apr 2019

After their promotion back to the National League in 2016, Friday’s fixture will be just the sixth in the league between Wrexham and Sutton United.

The teams first met in an FA Trophy match in 2013 in Sutton, while there have been five league fixtures – with both teams winning two of the six matches in total.

Each team won 1-0 in their home game during the 2016/17 season, while both matches last season were 1-1 draws.

For our best and worst of times against the U’s, however, we will be revisiting our first ever match against them and our most recent.

Best of times: Sutton United 0-5 Wrexham (12/01/2013)

Wrexham’s first trip to Sutton United came in the 2012/13 FA Trophy, when Andy Morrell’s Dragons travelled to South London looking to reach the last-eight for only the second time.

Play-off semi-finalists in the National League South the previous season, Sutton faced the National League leaders knowing the Dragons were short of options up front.

Danny Wright was serving a one-match ban, while injuries to Morrell and Brett Ormerod restricted the player-manager’s striking options.

But, after a slow start, Wrexham eventually ran riot at the end of the first-half to take a step closer to Wembley.

Kevin Thornton made his Dragons debut, while Nick Rushton was back in the team and both got on the scoresheet in a dominant win.

It could have been a very different story, however, had it not been for two smart saves from Jos Mayebi – notably denying Harry Ottway during a spell of early Sutton pressure.

Wrexham’s opener arrived against the run of play on 33 minutes, however – Rushton feeding Thornton, whose shot was turned in by Rob Ogleby.

Seven minutes later, the Reds doubled their lead with a smart save – Neil Ashton feeding Thornton, who released Johnny Hunt, and Rushton met his brilliant cross with a smart diving header to make it 2-0.

With Wrexham in the ascendancy it was 3-0 on 44 minutes, with another flowing attacking move as Ogleby and the impressive Thornton combined to feed Hunt, who swept in.

There was still time for a fourth before the interval too – Thornton again involved on his debut as he squared for Joe Clarke to slot in.

With the result no longer in doubt, Wrexham were able to ease up after the break and rotate their players too.

Thornton nearly capped a fine performance with a goal on 86 minutes but hit the post after picking Simon Downer’s pocket.

But he made no mistake in added time – racing on to Hunt’s pass to score Wrexham’s fifth and seal a dominant victory.

Wrexham would go on to beat Southport in the quarter-finals, before overcoming Gainsborough Trinity in the two-legged semi-final.

At Wembley, Thornton scored from the spot in a 1-1 draw with Grimsby – after Shaun Pearson fouled Dean Keates in the area – before Hunt scored the decisive spot-kick in a 4-1 shoot-out win.

What they said: “There’s a lot to look forward to if you are a Wrexham fan in the final four months of the season.” (The Leader)

Line-ups:

Sutton United: Scriven, Old (Watkins 73), Rents, Stuart, Downer, Riviere, Williams, Beautyman (Murrell-Williamson 74), Kavanagh, Dundas, Ottaway (Boateng 73).

Unused subs: Gwillim, Shaw

Wrexham: Mayebi, Riley, Ashton (Walker 57), Westwood, Alfei, Thornton, Keates (Little 61), Clarke, Hunt, Rushton (Cieslewicz 61), Ogleby.

Unused subs: Colbeck, Harris

Worst of times: Sutton United 3-0 Wrexham (22/09/2018)

Wrexham’s most recent trip to Sutton was just seven months ago, but it may seem much longer given all that has changed since.

Sam Ricketts’ side had made an impressive start to the season, losing just once – away to Solihull – in the opening 11 games.

And they headed to Sutton on the back of a dominant win at home to Ebbsfleet, in which the Dragons ran riot in the first half to claim a 4-1 win.

Sutton, on the other hand, lost 4-0 to Boreham Wood just four days earlier – but the form guide was torn up at Gander Green Lane.

Wrexham initially started brightly, as they had at home to Ebbsfleet, but Rekeil Pyke was charged down one-on-kne with Jamie Butler.

Sutton’s breakthrough came just 15 minutes in, however – Shaun Pearson adjudged to have fouled Jamie Collins in the area, who then squeezed his penalty beyond Rob Lainton.

Charlie Clough’s 26th-minute goal was ruled out for offside, but Sutton had their second on 35 minutes when the Dragons’ defence failed to clear and Kieron Cadogan prodded in.

And a miserable first-half was capped on the stroke of half-time when Luke Summerfield was handed a straight red card for a foul on Jonah Ayunga.

Though Summerfield’s red card was overturned after the game, in the short-term it left the Dragons a man down and two goals down.

And two goals became three just six minutes into the second-half, when Dale Bennett’s cross was headed in by Craig Eastmond.

Wrexham did not roll over – substitute Mike Fondop making a nuisance of himself without really threatening the Sutton goal – but the damage had long been done.

It meant just a second defeat for Ricketts, but the Dragons responded well – keeping three consecutive clean sheets to get back on track and only losing once more before the manager’s departure.

What they said: "A frustrating afternoon ended in defeat and a red card for Luke Summerfield." (Wrexham AFC on Youtube)

Line-ups:

Sutton: Butler, Bennett, Thomas, Eastmond, Collins (Beckwith 79), Clough, Cadogan, Bailey, Brown, Wright (Drinan 72), Ayunga (Bolarinwa 64).

Unused subs: Beautyman, Taylor

Wrexham: Lainton, Roberts, Jennings, Pearson, Lawlor, Summerfield, Walker (Wright 60), Rutherford (Young 67), Pyke, Beavon (Fondop 54), Holroyd.

Unused subs: Dibble, Maguire-Drew

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