FROM THE ARCHIVES | Wrexham AFC And All-Welsh FA Cup Ties

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 30 Nov 2018

Wrexham’s FA Cup second round clash with Newport County will mark the first time the two teams have met in the competition – and it is the Dragons’ first all-Welsh FA Cup clash for 22 years.

Newport will follow Swansea and Colwyn Bay in heading to the Racecourse for an FA Cup tie, while Wrexham have also faced Rhyl Athletic, Bangor City and Cardiff City in the competition’s history.

Saturday’s match, which kicks off at 8pm in front of the BT Sport cameras, will be the tenth all-Welsh match in the FA Cup ‘proper’, with only three of the previous nine not involving Wrexham.

The Robins’ first all-Welsh clash was one to forget back in December 1926 when, after seeing off New Brighton in a replay in the first round, Wrexham lost 3-1 at non-league Rhyl Athletic five days later.

Wrexham enjoyed a cup upset the following year, however, when second division Swansea Town visited the Racecourse – the Swans having reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals in the previous two years respectively.

Wrexham, playing in Division Three (North), had to beat Durham City, via a replay, and Carlisle to reach that stage but beat their South Welsh visitors 2-1 to reach the fourth round.

Though defeat to Birmingham City ended the run in the following round, it was the furthest the Robins had ever got in the FA Cup at that stage.

The next all-Welsh tie was not for another 32 years, however, when Bangor City won through four qualifying rounds to earn a North Welsh derby – and won the tie 1-0.

Fast-forward to 1977 and the next all-Welsh tie in the FA Cup saw Wrexham travel to Cardiff City – in front of the BBC TV cameras – for a fourth-round match in the capital.

The Robins had already beaten Gateshead, Goole and first-division Sunderland to reach the fourth round and a mouth-watering clash against the second division side.

It lived up to its billing too, with 28,953 crammed into Ninian Park to watch David Giles open the scoring for the hosts on 20 minutes and Peter Sayer add a second 11 minutes into the second-half.

Graham Whittle pulled one back on the hour for John Neal’s Wrexham and Billy Ashcroft looked to have earned a home replay when he levelled with one minute to go.

Cardiff had other ideas, however, and Scottish midfielder John Buchanan finished low from close-range to snatch a dramatic Cardiff win.

Wrexham have only played one all-Welsh FA Cup tie since – back in 1996 against Colwyn Bay.

That season, of course, has become famous for the giant-killing of West Ham and incredible run to the quarter-finals, before defeat to Chesterfield, but it started in inauspicious circumstances.

With Andy Marriott ruled out with a broken jaw, Mark Cartwright played in goal for Wrexham at the Racecourse (switched from Colwyn Bay at the Seagulls’ request).

And it was Wrexham’s back-up stopper who kept the non-league side out as the below-par Robins failed to come to the party.

Lloyd Williams’ got his feet tangled for the Bay on 66 minutes, however, and the ball broke for Graham Roberts to smash high into the net in front of the Tech End.

Bryan Hughes headed in from a corner in front of the Kop with 14 minutes remaining though, to extend Wrexham’s unbeaten run to 13 games and salvage a replay.

Later in the cup run, boss Brian Flynn confessed, “We equalised late on and were glad of a replay.”

The replay was staged ten days later and 21-year-old Hughes ensured a more comfortable evening for the hosts – scoring both goals in a 2-0 win.

Yozzer would go on to score six times in the competition that year in total, as Wrexham beat Scunthorpe in a replay and then took Premier League West Ham to a replay in the third round (Hughes scoring in a 1-1 draw).

Kevin Russell’s last-minute winner earned a trip to Peterborough for the fourth round, where Rooster scored twice more in a 4-2 win, before another big cup upset away to Birmingham – Hughes, Tony Humes and Karl Connolly earning a 3-1 victory.

The run was to end in the quarter-finals, however, with defeat to Chesterfield – with the Colwyn Bay fixture the last time Wrexham faced another Welsh team in the FA Cup (if you discount King Karl’s two goals in a 2-0 win on the Flintshire border the following year, of course) until now...

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