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March To The Arch Continues!

Wrexham       vs                  

 

On Saturday, we have one of the biggest matches in the club’s history when we visit The Racecourse Ground to play Vanarama National League Wrexham for the first time in our history in the Fourth Round of this seasons Buildbase F.A. Trophy, kick-off 5:30pm. Don’t forget if the tie is level after ninety minutes, it will go straight to penalties as there is no extra time nor replay.

 

Apart from being drawn at home, this was one of the most attractive draws we could have had, playing away against the best supported club in the National League, however, a day after the draw was made, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, made the devastating announcement that supporters would be barred from attending sports events in Wales.

 

With the assistance of Wrexham, who we wish to thank for their cooperation, the kick-off time has been changed to 5:30pm, so that the game can be streamed to allow as many of our supporters as possible to see the game, if you wish to do so, please register here for your Free WrexhamPlayer account:

www.wrexhamafc.co.uk/news/2022/january/live-stream--wrexham-afc-vs-folkestone-invicta/.

You’ll then be able to buy your match pass. It will be a four-camera, multi-angle live stream, with instant replays.

 

Alternatively, if you would like to join other Invicta supporters, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a screening of the game at Bar Invicta. The proceeds of the stream will be split between the clubs in the absence of gate receipts, and so admission for the screening will be £10.00 per person. To book your place please message Bar Manager Matt Norris (or call between the hours of 9:00am-4:00pm ONLY) on 07738 809 829.

 

Onto the game, whilst we’ve played four ties to get this far, beating Hendon and Faversham Town, both 2-1 at home, before winning 2-0 away at Hartley Wintney and then coming back to the BuildKent Stadium to defeat Uxbridge by the same score. As Wrexham are in the National League, they came in at the Third Round stage of this season’s competition and so have only played one game which resulted in a resounding 5-0 against Gloucester City, a side we knocked out of the Emirates F.A. Cup this season with a 1-0 home win. The Wrexham goalscorers in the game against Gloucester City were Jordan Davies, who got two, Max Cleworth, Kwame Thomas, and substitute James Jones.   

 

Formed in 1864, Wrexham Association Football Club (or Clwb Pêl-droed Cymdeithas Wrecsam, if you speak Welsh) are the oldest club in Wales and the second oldest professional football team in the World, behind Notts County who were founded in 1962. Of all the teams currently in the National League, ‘The Dragons’ are the club that have been there the longest, having been relegated out of the Football League at the end of the 2007/08 season when they finished bottom of League Two, and so ended 87 years as part of the ‘92’. During their time in the National League, they’ve been in the Play-offs four times, at the end of the 2010/11 season they lost 5-1 on aggregate against Luton Town in the Semi Final, in 2011/12 they again lost to ‘The Hatters’ in the Semi Final, this time 3-2 on aggregate, a season later having beaten Kidderminster Harriers 5-2 on aggregate in the Semi Final, they lost 2-0 against Welsh rivals Newport County in the Final at Wembley. Their last appearance was in the 2018/19 season when they went down 1-0 at home, after extra time, against Eastleigh in the Quarter Final.  

 

Following the takeover in November 2020 of Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and American actor Rob McElhenney, through the RR McReynolds Company LLC, which was agreed and completed in February 2021 after receiving the backing of 98.60% of the 2,000 members of the Wrexham Supporters Trust, hopes are high that the club will soon be back in the Football League.

 

In July 2021, they appointed Phil Parkinson as Manager. Parkinson has managed a number of clubs within the Football League, including Hull City, Charlton Athletic, Sunderland and Bradford City, where he still remains the only Manager to take an English League fourth-tier club to the Final of a major cup competition at Wembley Stadium, leading Bradford City of League Two to runners-up in the 2013 League Cup, when they lost 5-0 against Swansea City, who were then in the Premier League, having beaten two other clubs from the same Division in Arsenal and Aston Villa in the Quarter and Semi Finals respectively. Much of his playing career was spent at Reading (although he started his career at Southampton, without making a First Team appearance, before moving onto Bury), and when ‘The Royals’ had a supporters vote for their best ever XI, he was voted their best central midfielder with 60.30% of the vote.

 

Vanarama National League Table

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

G/D

Pts

FC Halifax Town

23

14

5

4

38

18

+20

47

Chesterfield

20

12

7

1

38

16

+22

43

Boreham Wood

20

12

6

2

29

13

+16

42

Notts County

21

12

5

4

40

25

+15

41

Bromley

22

12

5

5

38

25

+13

41

Dagenham & Redbridge

23

12

3

8

45

29

+16

39

Wrexham

22

11

6

5

39

23

+16

39

Stockport County

21

12

3

6

39

24

+15

39

Solihull Moors

22

10

6

6

29

23

+6

36

Grimsby Town

21

10

3

8

32

23

+9

33

Yeovil Town

21

9

4

8

22

22

=

31

Torquay United

23

9

4

10

36

37

-1

31

Eastleigh

21

9

4

8

26

31

-5

31

Woking

22

9

1

12

36

36

=

28

Barnet

21

7

6

8

25

32

-7

27

Altrincham

23

7

5

11

36

42

-6

26

Aldershot Town

23

7

4

12

28

37

-9

25

Southend United

21

6

4

11

19

32

-13

22

Wealdstone

20

5

6

9

19

30

-11

21

Maidenhead United

20

5

4

11

21

39

-18

19

Weymouth

21

4

3

14

23

42

-19

15

King's Lynn Town

21

3

2

16

19

45

-26

11

Dover Athletic (-12)

22

0

4

18

18

51

-33

-8

 

Usually at this time of the season things are very busy on the field, but both clubs are in the unusual position of having not played since the New Year weekend, when Wrexham lost 3-1 at Notts County on January 2nd, whilst we beat Leatherhead 3-0 on the 3rd. In view of this, ‘The Dragons’ Manager Phil Parkinson has indicated he will field a strong side to prepare for the forthcoming League games, although leading scorer Paul Mullin is being rested as the club continue to investigate his hamstring injury, and Harry Lennon is suspended having received a red card in the County game. Several of their fringe players had a much-needed run-out against Burton Albion in the week, which they lost 4-1.        

 

I spoke to Neil earlier in the week and before we got onto the game, he looked back at the last couple of weeks:  “I can honestly say, with Covid sweeping through the squad, I think this has been two of the most difficult weeks I’ve had as a Manager, I never knew when the phone was going to ring with the next player saying he had it. “It was a shame that we had to call off the Horsham game as after our good win against Leatherhead we wanted to keep the momentum going, but we had very little choice as we were down to a very small number of fit players, we didn’t want to do it as it now means we have to travel to Sussex midweek rather than on a Saturday when travelling is usually a bit easier. “I would also like to add that Horsham were very helpful and sympathetic to our cause, probably because the same thing had happened to them around Christmas.”

 

Moving onto the game: “Again through no fault of our own or Wrexham we have had the added complication of supporters not being allowed into the game, but we have managed to get the kick-off moved so that they can stream the game which will allow our supporters to either watch at home or at the Invicta Bar, again thanks to our opponents for their help with this. “As far as the squad is concerned, and it’s perhaps a strange thing to say, but the break may have helped and we may even be at full strength as hopefully all the players will have recovered, although as at Tuesday we were still waiting for a couple to produce a negative test, and hopefully those that have knocks will have taken advantage of the two week rest, although conversely, we haven’t been able to train or play games so match fitness may have suffered a bit.”

 

Looking to the day, he added: “It’ll be a long day, but the chance to play a club as big as Wrexham doesn’t happen very often to teams at our level, we’ve booked in at a hotel near to the ground so that the players can have a break and something to eat before the game, so we’ll be preparing as well as we can. “I can assure all our supporters, that once we get to the ground, we’ll all be raring to give it a go, we ran Eastleigh close in the F.A. Cup earlier this season, hopefully we can do the same with Wrexham on Saturday.”

 

F.A. Trophy - Last Five Seasons

The below shows both clubs’ recent records in the F.A. Trophy, as they are a Vanarama National League side, Wrexham entered the competition at the First Round Proper stage, but as you can see, like ourselves, they haven’t had much of a run in the last few seasons and in fact have only scored in one game in the last five seasons (excluding the penalty shoot-out). They have however reached the Final twice and both times penalties were needed to decide the winner. In the 2013 Final they beat Grimsby Town 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time, whilst in the 2015 Final they went down 5-4 on penalties against North Ferriby United after the game had finished 3-3 after extra time.

 

Season

Round

Folkestone Invicta

Result

Wrexham

Result

2016/17

1st Qual 

Cheshunt (A)

3-1

   
 

2nd Qual 

North Leigh (H)

2-3

   
 

1st Round

   

Tranmere Rovers (H)

0-1

           

2017/18

1st Qual 

Leiston (A)

1-1

   
 

1st Qual (Rep)

Leiston (H)

1-1 (5-6p)

   
 

1st Round

   

Harrogate Town (H)

0-2

           

2018/19

1st Qual 

Leatherhead (H)

5-1

   
 

1st Qual (Rep) 

       

 

2nd Qual

Didcot Town (H)

3-0

   
 

3rd Qual

Woking (A)

0-2

   
 

1st Round

   

Boston United (H)

3-0

 

2nd Round

   

Leyton Orient (H)

0-1

           

2019/20

1st Qual 

Lewes (H)

2-0

   
 

2nd Qual

Maldon & Tiptree (A)

3-4

   
 

1st Round

   

FC Halifax Town (A)

0-4

           

2020/21

3rd Qual

Walton Casuals (A)

1-2

   
 

1st Round

   

Leamington (H)

0-0 (5-6p)

 

 

 

Fixtures – Saturday 15th January

The majority of the clubs are playing Premier Division games, but two, Invicta and Cheshunt, are still involved in the Buildbase F.A. Trophy Fourth Round Proper.

 

Premier Division

Bishop's Stortford

vs

Brightlingsea Regent

Bognor Regis Town

vs

Horsham

Bowers & Pitsea

vs

Carshalton Athletic

Cray Wanderers

vs

Corinthian-Casuals

Haringey Borough

vs

Enfield Town

Kingstonian

vs

Wingate & Finchley

Lewes

vs

Merstham

Margate

vs

Hornchurch

Worthing

vs

Leatherhead

 

 

 

F.A. Trophy Second Round Proper

St. Albans City

vs

CHESHUNT (P)

 

Wrexham

vs

FOLKESTONE INVICTA

(5:30pm)