Day: December 3, 2011

Wrexham’s Cup Win Sets Up Another Fans United Day

Twenty years ago in January, Wrexham AFC managed one of the great FA Cup surprises of all time. They had finished the previous season at the bottom of the Football League and had only been spared relegation to the Football Conference on account of the League expanding its size, while their Third Round opponents in that competition, Arsenal, had ended the previous season as the champions of England. On a cold January Saturday afternoon at The Racecourse Ground, Alan Smith gave Arsenal the lead but, in an extraordinary final ten minutes, Mickey Thomas brought the home side level with a free-kick before Steve Watkins swept the ball over the goal-line to send the champions out of the competition. Wrexham have had success in the FA Cup since that day – they reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 1997, before losing to Chesterfield – but of late such days must have started to feel a long way away. Yesterday afternoon, however, the club had the perfect end to a perfect week. With the take-over of the club having been finally secured during the week, the team, which had stayed top of the Blue Square Premier thanks to a narrow win against Darlington during the week, travelled to League One club Brentford for their FA Cup Second Round match yesterday afternoon and won by a single, first-half goal from Jamie...

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Kettering’s Season Goes From Bad To Worse

The last time we reported from Kettering Town, the club was at the point of being on its knees. With the whole team having been put on the transfer list, they lost five players on loan deadline day, only to see three replacements having their transfers to the club cancelled after the club was placed under a transfer embargo. A new low, however, was reached for the club this afternoon with a trip to York City that began with manager Mark Stimson only able to take two substitutes to Bootham Crescent and ended with a seven goal thrashing and the club sitting just one place above the relegation places, with the second worst goal difference in the Blue Square Premier. There is a definite fatalistic air around the club at present, with the club’s supporters forum now openly discussing what form a phoenix club should take whilst others, stuck rather more in the present, are wondering aloud whether they should cancel the direct debits that they have set for their season tickets. Some still chose to make the trip up to North Yorkshire, but it didn’t take long for the goals to start raining in. The first came after just seven minutes, and York were four to the good at half-time. To add insult to injury, York’s final goal of the day was scored with thirteen minutes to play...

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Match Of The Week 1: Newcastle United 0-3 Chelsea

The sound of sharpening knives is in the air at St James Park this afternoon, but they’re not for Alan Pardew. Newcastle United arrive here for the final match of the trilogy that will go some way towards determining whether their early season league position was due to the order of their league fixtures. The first two of this trilogy saw them beaten by Manchester City and picking up a draw at Old Trafford. Today, though, is perhaps their real acid test. If ambitions of winning the Premier League title are a little over-stated, a Champions League finish at the end of season still doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable possibility and a win against Chelsea will further cement the belief that this team is capable of such an achievement. For Andres Villa Boas, however, it never rains but it pours. Chelsea were beaten at home by Liverpool in the League Cup during the week, a result which, whilst it might not have been the club’s highest priority of the season, might at least be considered a disappointment. Chelsea, still in the Champions League, in fifth place in the table, are not in crisis by any reasonable definition, but the pressure is building and the autocratic nature of Roman Abramovich’s history of running the club – and in particular his hiring and firing of managers – would tend to...

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