Thanks to all the Wrexham fans for the constructive criticism regarding this article. 😉 Please bookmark this page and return on Sunday for *live* match photos.
Two and a half years ago I attended just my second ever RDFC match (living in Ireland I don’t get over much). The game, Rushden 0-2 Wrexham, was just one result in an incredibly poor run of form for the Diamonds. In the 13 games prior to the Wrexham loss, Rushden had won just once, and totted up just 4 points (from a possible 39). The match has more than likely been forgotten by the majority of the two-and-a-half thousand fans there (and understandable so – it was crap, even for Wrexham fans I would imagine), but for me it sparked off a bitter and unrequited hatred of all things Welsh.
We went on to finish bottom that year, with Northampton gaining promotion – a poor combination on anyone’s reckoning. Despite being 8 points off safety I always attributed the relegation to the Wrexham defeat – Christ, they only finished 12th, they didn’t even need the three points that day, I thought.
Two seasons later, the Welsh ended the season in a similar position: bottom, eight points from safety, with Welsh rivals Swansea City enjoying a promotion season. Wrexham were relegated to the Conference, for the first time in their history, and the secretive RDFC/WFC grudge match – known only to a select few – was on the cards.
Of course, even ignoring the debatable importance of the game in January 2006, Sunday’s game is already set to be a corker. Wrexham are somewhat of a bogey-team for the Diamonds, us having never beaten the Robinsat all in our 6-game history with the club. Rushden have drawn twice, but lost the other four encounters.
Wrexham have had an intriguing start to the season. Being outplayed for much of their opening game, they still managed to score five and beat Stevenage, much to the surprise of their fans, and manager, Brian Little. “We must keep it in perspective a little” he warned after the game. Sure enough, the club came back to earth with a bump, failing to score in their next match and losing to York City. This time it was the fans who had everything to say:
“You can defend brilliantly for 89 minutes, but if you can’t score at the other end, it only takes one lapse in concentration and you go home with nil points!”
“We were rubbish, no midfield and a carthorse up front. And the return of the hoof.”
“Let’s hope we can get back on track at Rushden, there’s no reason why we cant get at least a draw if we play like we did against Stevenage in the 2nd half, which would be a good result.”
A large-enough crowd is expected on Sunday, with upwards of 350 Wrexham fans expected to make the trip. With Sunday being one of the “big games” this year, and with RDFC having enjoyed a successful start to the season, the crowd may well break the 2000-mark for the first time this term.
Incidentally, the match will be the 900th in Rushden’s history. The milestone match will not be played on Saturday at 3pm as God intended, but on a Sunday, thanks to Wrexham’s complaint of the short gap between their games (yet we didn’t complain when we played 8 games in 16 days – or something – last year). It will be Andy Burgess’ 250th league game, which will move him into 2nd place in the all-time League appearances list.
Rushden, surprisingly, are favourites for the game, with odds of 6/5 to Wrexhams’ 2/1 (courtesy of Blue Square). Both clubs have odds of 13/2 to become champions this term.
As always, RDFC Blog will supply live match photos.