Neither Wrexham nor Barnet will be happy with their starts to the season, so this feels like a key clash, even this early in the season.
After three consecutive defeats, Dean Keates demanded his side be "bang at it" from the start of the game, while Barnet, beset by an outbreak of COVID-19 at the club, have been described by manager Peter Beadle as "Jekyll and Hyde".
Barnet invested heavily in a squad designed to earn a return tothe Football League last season, and failure to achieve that aim, along with the financial impact of lockdown, meant that a number of first team players were allowed to leave in the Summer.
They started their seaspn disastrously, losing 5-1 at home to Eastleigh despite being level at the break, However, they bounced back with an away win against Dagenham and, although they lost 4-2 at Notts County, they put up a gutsy performance, fighting back from three down.
Their first home win of the season followed, as Weymouth were overwhelmed thanks to a Wesley Fonguck goal, before the virus fully took hold, forcing the postponement of their next league game, against Hartlepool.
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There was a real danger that they would be unable to play their FA Cup tie last Saturday at Leiston, but despite lacking ten players and their manager, they scraped a side together and showed real heart to beat Leiston 3-2.
HEAD TO HEAD
JJ Hooper will be leading the line for Branet against his old team, hoping to start the game as he did last season. When the sides met at The Racecourse in August 2019, the home side got off to a flying start. Hooper hit the net after just three minutes and it looked like they would sweep the Bees away. However, the visitors were able to strike back quickly, and the game petered out into a 1-1 draw.
We’ve enjoyed the upper hand over Barnet in recent years, and that draw last year ended the best winning streak we’ve managed against them.
The previous season, a goal by Stuart Beavon was enough to secure all three points at The Racecourse, and our late-season win at The Hive was secured by a bizarre Jermaine McGlashan goal, which was going wide but span back into the net, after Akil Wright had opened the scoring.
We also did the double over them in 2014-15, despite Barnet going on the become champions. Robbie Evans scored spectacularly in both those 1-0 wins, meaning over a quarter of his goals for Wrexham came against the Bees!
Evans isn't far off the top of the list of our scorers in this fixture. Gary Bennett is two goals ahead, while Mark Jones is on three.
Our winning streak might have ended, but we're currently enjoying our longest unbeaten run against Barnet, as we haven't lost in our last five clashes.
WREXHAM 1 (Hooper 3) BARNET 1 (Sparkes 8)
Wrexham C Dibble, M Chambers, J Barnum-Bobb, S Pearson, J Jennings, L Summerfield (A Barton, 82), L Young, P Rutherford (B Tollitt, 66), D Redmond (L Mcintosh, 78), J Hooper, M Harris Subs not used: R Lainton, M Carrington
Barnet S Loach, H Taylor, C Alexander, R Santos, C Rowan (M Elito, 62), J Taylor (A Boucaud, 73), J Dunne, C Adams, D Sparkes, S Akinola (E Mason-Clark, 51), S Coulthirst Subs not used: R Matrevics, J Walker
Adi Yussuf’s 275th career game.
Rob Lainton plays in his 150th career match.