Wrexham’s battle with Notts County’s for EFL return reaches critical point
Wrexham and Notts County’s thrilling Vanarama National League title battle is reaching its critical point with both teams set to break a host of records.
Wrexham, owned by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, are three points clear in the sole automatic promotion place and have a game in hand, meaning they could take a potentially decisive lead with victory in Easter Monday’s meeting against the Magpies at the Racecourse Ground.
Head to head
The title rivals have lost only two games apiece in the league this season, Wrexham with 31 wins and seven draws compared to 29 and 10 for County. Wrexham play FC Halifax Town on Friday while County face Wealdstone, before Monday’s crunch meeting.
County won the first meeting in October 1-0 with a goal from the division’s 40-goal top scorer Macaulay Langstaff, with Wrexham’s other defeat coming against Chesterfield in their third game of the season in August.
Since the loss to County, the Dragons are unbeaten in 28 games, including an eight-game winning run from December to February and an ongoing sequence of five. They have dropped only two points at home all season, drawing 2-2 with third-placed Woking in February.
County’s defeats came against Dorking in September and Dagenham & Redbridge in February, with a 25-game unbeaten run in between. They are unbeaten in 16 away from Meadow Lane, winning 12 and scoring in every game – and at least twice in all but two.
The pair are on course for a host of records for the National League, including under its previous names the Alliance Premier League and the Football Conference, dating back to its foundation for the 1979-80 season.
Wrexham are only the sixth team to reach 100 points in a season and County are sure to become the seventh, with the record total held by Crawley with 105 in 2010-11.
Fleetwood got 103 points the following season while Aldershot in 2007-08, Luton in 2013-14 and Cheltenham in 2015-16 all got 101. Stevenage managed 99 in a 44-game season in 2009-10 while York, Colchester and Runcorn got 95, 94 and 93, respectively, in the 42-game era.
Wrexham’s 105 goals is already a record tally – beating the mark of 103 set by Barnet in 1990-91 and matched by Hereford in 2003-04 and this year’s County side. Only six teams have previously reached three figures.
Fleetwood, powered by 31 goals from future Premier League champion Jamie Vardy, and Luton were the only teams to achieve both marks in a single season – Wrexham have already done so this term, with six games to spare, and County will join them with three points from their remaining five fixtures.
The gap from second-placed County to nearest pursuers Woking and Chesterfield is 25 points as the top two dominate to a greater level than ever before. The nearest comparison can be found in 1991-92, when Colchester won the title on goal difference from Wycombe with both teams on 94 points while third-placed Kettering were 21 behind on 73.
In Langstaff and Paul Mullin, respectively, County and Wrexham boast the division’s two most prolific strikers.
Langstaff has already become only the third player to score 40 goals in a National League season, emulating Ricky Miller’s 2016-17 season for Dover and sitting one behind the record of 41 set by Paul Culpin for Nuneaton in 1983-84.
Mullin still has time to join him, with 34 in the league including five in his last three games, and has 43 in all competitions after striking nine times in Wrexham’s impressive FA Cup run.
Last week’s hat-trick against Oldham was his fourth of the season, following the 5-0 league wins over Solihull Moors and Maidstone and the cup tie against Farnborough.
Langstaff scored trebles against Yeovil and Dagenham and has netted two in a game on a further 10 occasions. His tally is all the more impressive as Ruben Rodrigues is County’s penalty taker, while Mullin has scored nine league spot-kicks for Wrexham.
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