It’s the Phil Parkinson derby again.
From Wrexham AFC
After both sides enjoyed rousing wins in midweek, the Phil Parkinson derby is set up nicely, with the managerial namesakes both getting a tune out of their squads.
Wrexham’s victory over Halifax Town, coming hard on the heels of the impressive draw at Boreham Wood, confirmed a lot of the positives the team has shown this season. They showed resilience to bounce back from a poor opening half hour and dominate the remainder of the game, tactical flexibility as they changed shape to pose the visitors new problems, and goal power as their pressure inevitably led to the dam bursting and the goals pouring in.
The result maintained Wrexham’s 100% record at The Racecourse – the only other teams to still have perfect home form in the top 7 tiers of the pyramid are Manchester City, Arsenal and Plymouth Argyle.
Altrincham, meanwhile, enjoyed a 1-0 home win over Oldham Athletic which continued their good run of recent form. Indeed, their season so far has been very similar to that of last Tuesday’s opponents: they started poorly but have had a good October.
A heavy defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge in mid-September dumped them at the foot of the table, and Parkinson admitted that his job was on the line.
“I know I’m clinging on for dear life”, he admitted to the Sale and Altrincham Messenger after the game, “because a manager’s job is all about results. The board have been superb with me, but I’m under no illusions that we need to start winning to stay in the job.
“But I believe in this group of players, and the performances have not been far away.
“Bar this game and the one at Solihull Moors, we have absolutely been in every one so far.
“My biggest job now is to make the players aware of what they need to do better while still keeping them positive, but I’m completely confident we can turn the corner and make it work within this full-time model.
“The fans have got to buy into it as well. I know it’s difficult when we are losing, but we really need the fans to be on board, along with everyone else connected with the club.”It seems the message was heeded, because since then things have improved considerably, propelling the Robins to 15th place. Three wins and a sole defeat to league leaders Notts County have come from their subsequent 5 matches, and they really ought to have won 4 of those games, but a remarkable game at Torquay ended 4-4 despite Alty deservedly leading 2-0 at the break. An equaliser in the 7th minute of added time thwarted Altrincham’s ambition of victory.
Alty boss Parkinson was delighted after the Oldham victory, which he saw as a vindication of the faith he has placed in a young, talented squad
“It’s all about consistency, but they can achieve whatever they want to in this division,” he explained to The Messneger.
“The sky’s the limit for this team, but they are young and still learning. There will be more really exciting nights like this ahead, but we need to stay behind them and keep giving them the support they need.”
“When I look back to when we took over and were playing teams like Barwell in our first season, I didn’t think I’d be standing here now, reflecting on a game against a team who were in the Premier League not all that long ago.
Phil Parkinson – Altrincham manager.
With 4 goals in those 5 games, Marcus Dinanga has hit excellent form up front, having turned his Altrincham career around impressively. A Summer 2021 signing, last season went badly for him and he ended up on loan to Kidderminster and Dartford having failed to merit a place in Alty’s squad. However, Parkinson showed faith in him and has been rewarded by improved form and a new-found eye for goal.
It’s not all been plain sailing since the Dagenham defeat though. While league form has improved, Parkinson was disappointed by elimination in the FA Cup by Gateshead.
WREXHAM’S RECORD AGAINST ALTRINCHAM
Last season we enjoyed our biggest win over Altrincham, triumphing 4-0 at The Racecourse. In truth, the margin of victory could have been wider, as we completed the scoring ten minutes before the break!
Jordan Davies struck in the third minute, and although the excellence of Alty keeper Tony Thompson meant they nearly held us at bay until the half hour, Paul Mullin struck twice in four minutes and Ollie Palmer rounded off the scoring. With a demanding run-in to follow, we clearly coasted through the second half
That concluded the first league double either side has enjoyed in this fixture, as earlier in the season goals from Aaron Hayden and Bryce Hosannah secured a 2-0 win at Moss Lane.
We’re on a run of three consecutive wins over The Robins, our best against them, although we actually lost at The Racecourse when they visited us in December 2020. Wrexham looked comfortable until Alty took a first half lead, and with the game being played behind closed doors, there was no crowd to rouse the team out of the lacklustre performance which followed.
Alty have a good record at The Racecourse: they also won a remarkable game in 2014 when three red cards shaped the game. Andy Bishop and Louis Moult picked up two of them as we surrendered a comfortable lead to lose 3-2.
They also triumphed in April 2009, a 1-0 win marking their first league visit to The Racecourse.
We’ve enjoyed successes in this fixture too. During Gary Mills’ impressive start as manager we won 3-1 in September 2015, with Blaine Hudson, James Grey and an own goal proving decisive.
We also won 2-1 in February 2011, through goals by Andy Morrell and Adrian Cieslewicz.