Few fans of either Notts or Wrexham will forget the last meeting between these clubs, coming as it did on a sunny Easter Monday at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground. In a match that will live long in the memory, Wrexham won 3-2, a game that culminated in a stoppage-time save by Wrexham goalkeeper Ben Foster from Cedwyn Scott’s penalty. It was a result that all but confirmed Wrexham’s automatic promotion back to the EFL, at the same time ‘condemning’ Notts to the play-offs. Ultimately, though, it did Notts a favour, providing the platform for an unforgettable Wembley play-off win and allowing Scott to earn penalty redemption.
That Easter Monday fixture was a clash of ‘1st v 2nd’; remarkably, just six months later, on Saturday at Meadow Lane, the same two teams compete in a ‘2nd v 3rd’ contest in League Two.
Both teams come into the game in good form. Notts have recorded two consecutive, impressive wins in the last week, whilst Wrexham have taken 13 points from their last 5 matches. So the scene is set for another fascinating clash between Notts and the team which is fast becoming their major rivals. As polite as Wrexham’s famous American owners have been about Notts in recent months, the visitors will be as keen as Notts to get a vital win on Saturday.
Notts manager Luke Williams will again have to shape his side around his team’s injury problems, but the performance against Newport on Tuesday night of fringe players like Junior Morias (making his first league start) and youngster Lewis Macari will give Notts fans cause for optimism. So too will the performances of Jodi Jones and Macauley Langstaff, the latter of whom scored the only goal of the game to give Notts victory in the corresponding fixture to this last season.
Wrexham though will be buoyed by the fact that, though not playing particularly attractive football at the moment, they are grinding out results (particularly against teams in the top half of the League table). Their victory against Sutton on Tuesday night was a bit of a slog, but two long-range wonder strikes from Paul Mullin and Elliot Lee secured them a late win. Mullin was last year’s goal scoring hero for Wrexham, and, although injury has kept him much quieter this season, there are signs that he is returning to last season’s form. Steven Fletcher is highly effective as a substitute for Wrexham, but there are still concerns amongst Wrexham fans about whether Lee and Jordan Davies can both play in the same midfield. Add in to the mix that Ryan Barnett and Eoin O’Connell both went off injured on Tuesday night, and it’s easy to see why Wrexham will approach the game with some nervousness.
Notts’s measured but impressive progress under Luke Williams may not be the stuff of TV documentaries, but a win for Notts on Saturday will be just the sort of Welcome for Wrexham that Notts fans will wish for.