Cup of Glee

Wrexham Association Football Club is synonymous with the FA Cup.

Despite our rotten record in recent years the glorious cup runs of yesteryear still brings a warmth to the heart like very little else can.

The fabled run to the 1997 quarter finals, cutting down Birmingham City in style along the way; Steve Watkin mud-sliding Arsenal out in the fourth round; the exquisite technique of Kieran Durkan’s (RIP) volley vs Ipswich Town.

Hell, there were memorable moments even when we didn’t win — Adrian Cieslewicz sending 2k Reds bonkers at the Amex Stadium before Andy Morrell’s howitzer in the replay when Brighton scraped through on penalties.

And the most recent glorious failure — Mark Carrington’s header at Stoke City. For a moment it felt like we were back playing them in League Two, only this time they brought some serious £££ off the bench to win the game.

Since then we have been humiliated by Gainsborough Trinity and Stamford on home soil (the latter in a replay) before we failed to reach the first round proper for a third successive season with a 1-0 loss at AFC Fylde.

And so there was a degree of trepidation when Harrogate Town tipped up at the Cae Ras for a replay under those MASSIVE floodlights.

And we were going into battle without our leader Shaun Pearson, rested because of a minor niggle.

But In Sam We Trust — Kev Roberts put in a great shift alongside Jake Lawlor whilst ever reliable stand-in skipper Mark Carrington was imperious.

So too was James Jennings and the last line of defence Rob Lainton. The Cat produced two exquisite saves in the first half before his opposite number tipped over a JMD free kick.

Wrexham saved their best for the second half and once Akil Wright opened the scoring (click for video celebrations) with a deft finish there was only one winner.

Mike Fondop added more intent up top and he was instrumental in the deciding goal.

His footwork for a big guy is impressive at times. He led the Harrogate defence a merry dance with some tasty touches before picking out the inrushing Luke Young to stroke home a quite classy goal.

It got the 2,515 crowd (minus the 43 away fans) off their feet in appreciation.

A winnable first round tie awaits in Somerset but Sam Ricketts will be taking nothing for granted and will do his homework on National League South strugglers Weston-Super-Mare.

In the meantime, there will be twelve hundred fans descending onto Chestefield this Saturday.

Party time on a proper away day. Let’s turn the place red.