Lee Trundle

Memory Match – 13-10-01

Throughout the 2017/18 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.

This is the third successive season that I have been writing the Memory Match column. Indeed, when I have written a Memory Match for every Football League season I would like to compile all the columns into a book that will reflect the rich history of my beloved football club.

13-10-01

Wrexham v Queen’s Park Rangers

League Division Two

Racecourse Ground

Result: 1-0

Wrexham: Rogers, Whitley, Holmes, Ferguson, Hill, Roberts, Gibson, Faulconbridge, Trundle, Blackwood, Thomas

Goalscorer: Blackwood (43)

Queen’s Park Rangers: Day, Bignot (Perry), Bruce, Palmer, Forbes, Askar, Bonnot, Connolly (Wardley), Griffiths (M’Bombo), Thomson, Rose

Attendance: 4,474

After parting company with Brian Flynn and his assistant Kevin Reeves, there was a new man in charge as we prepared to face Queen’s Park Rangers at the Racecourse Ground. Denis Smith was given the responsibility to end a dismal run of only one win in the opening 8 League games, including the 5-0 humiliation at Prenton Park that signalled the end of the Flynn era.

Smith, who had managed York, Sunderland and Oxford, was delighted with his appointment. “I think you’ve got something here to be proud of. It’s exceptional here. I’ve been at other clubs and never had training facilities like these. From a manager’s point of view, that’s where I do my day to day work and to have something like Colliers Park, and a stadium like the Racecourse, is brilliant. There’s no money, and I don’t think that’s a secret, so what we have got to do is either generate it, or I’ve got to use the contacts I’ve got. Very rarely in my career have I had money to spend. I’m here for football, and finance doesn’t come into it.”

Wrexham gave debuts to Jim Whitley and on-loan Keith Hill from Cheltenham Town, who was partnered at the heart of defence by Steven Roberts in the absence of Captain Brian Carey. Rangers included a familiar face in former Reds favourite Karl Connolly.

Both sides created few clear cut openings in the first half as Hill and Roberts looked a particularly strong unit at the heart of the defence.

Lee Trundle’s tenth minute effort was well kept out by Hoops goalkeeper Chris Day while at the other end Kristian Rogers saved from Leroy Griffiths.

The 43rd minute winner came when Blackwood ran onto Stephen Thomas’ neat through ball and he calmly side footed past Day. It was a crucial time to score and we hung on to this lead in the second half despite being reduced to 10-men just after the hour mark when Thomas was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.

Denis Smith said: “I hope the fans can match my passion. I think they would be insulted if I claimed to have more passion than them and I doubt that I have.

“I’m very pleased. I thought we deserved to win. We worked hard, we defended well, our goalkeeper had very little to do and we created chances, so you can’t ask a great deal more than that.

“But it’s just a start of a very hard battle ahead. We’ve won one little skirmish and there’s a lot of work to do in the future. We can’t say, we’ve won one game let’s retire. There’s a lot of work to be done.

“The back four were superb and Michael Blackwood, apart from scoring, had worked so hard. He did things today I didn’t think he was capable of, but he has got to go out and do it again next week.”

Referring to Steve Thomas being sent off he said: “The first booking was unlucky because it was a 50-50 ball, but for the second he was standing on the ball and you can’t do that.”

***

Wrexham finished the season in 23rd position and were relegated despite a 5-0 victory on the final day of the season against bottom of the pile Cambridge United. This was a memorable afternoon for Lee Jones who scored all five goals – only the second Wrexham player to achieve this feat. The other was Tommy Bamford against Carlisle United on 17th March 1934.

It was also a poor show in the Cups with first round defeats against Hereford United (1-0) at Edgar Street in the FA Cup and Hull City (2-3) at the Racecourse in the Worthington Cup.

Memory Match – 19-04-03

Throughout the 2015/16 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.

19-04-03

Kidderminster Harriers v Wrexham

Nationwide League Division Three

Aggborough

Result: 0-2

Kidderminster Harriers: Brock, Smith (Foster), Stamps, Bennett, Hinton, Scott, Flynn, Williams, Bishop (McAuley), Parrish, Shilton

Wrexham: Dibble, Whitley, Carey, Ferguson (Barrett), Roberts, Lawrence, Edwards, Green, Morrell, Trundle, Edwards

Goalscorer: Trundle 37, 64

Attendance: 3,689

Our first-ever League trip to Aggborough gave Denis Smith’s men the opportunity to gain revenge for a highly eventful defeat at the Racecourse in December 2002. Before that game, goalkeeper Paul Whitfield was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Kristian Rogers. On 63 minutes, Darren Ferguson was sent-off for allegedly stamping on Sean Parrish and after 84 minutes former Wrexham player Danny Williams was booked only a minute after coming on as substitute. It was a wretched performance by the home side and we slumped to a 0-2 defeat.

By the time we turned up at Aggborough the team had tapped into a rich vein of form and were on the promotion trail. Now would be the perfect time to avenge that defeat and extend our unbeaten run to ten games.

Kidderminster still had a play-off position to play for, but Denis Smith’s side overwhelmed their opponents with a scintillating performance in front of 1,400 travelling fans. Midfielder Scott Green – on loan from Wigan Athletic – had an early opportunity, but he couldn’t find the net after good work from leading scorer Andy Morrell.

The match was played in difficult conditions with a swirling wind causing all manner of problems, including a stoppage of ten minutes in the first half after scaffolding blew onto the pitch. This disruption didn’t stop Lee Trundle from concentrating on the job in hand and putting Wrexham ahead with an excellent goal eight minutes before half-time.  Trundle ran with the ball and, despite having options, he found the bottom of the net from 25 yards with his left foot.

It was all one-way traffic in the first half, but three minutes after the break captain Darren Ferguson picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Paul Barrett. Still, this did not stop the charge of the Red Army. On 64 minutes the confident visitors doubled their lead when Brian Carey was on hand to meet a cross – though his header was somehow kept out by Stuart Brock in the Kidderminster goal and Trundle was on hand to convert the loose ball from close range.

In the latter stages of the match Dennis Lawrence had a header saved by Brock and although dominant Wrexham did not add to their tally, neither did they look like conceding. This was the Red Dragons’ fourth consecutive victory of an eight game winning streak as they eased to promotion in style – albeit they still only finished in third position on 84 points behind champions Rushden and Diamonds, and runners-up Hartlepool United. However, we did end up ten points clear of the fourth placed club, AFC Bournemouth.

***

Andy Morrell scored 34 league goals in the 2002/03 season, making him top scorer in all four divisions that year, having only scored two goals the entire previous season. This impressive haul set a new post-war scoring record for Morrell as he eclipsed Gary Bennett’s total of 32 in the 1993/94 season.

Denis Smith said: “I’m delighted for Andy. He’s had a superb season. Every club I’ve been at we’ve produced goal scorers. You’ve got to be there to finish them off and Andy does that brilliantly. He gets good service and I’m delighted for the lad.”