Our second home game in the National League also provides an old sparring partner as our opponent.
We first crossed paths with Wrexham in the 1949/50 season in the FA Cup. A 2-0 second round replay victory at The Stadium, following a 2-2 draw at Wrexham, led to an appearance in round 3, only to lose 4-0 at Blackpool.
Our league games started in 1958/59, with our paths crossing fairly regularly up to the late 1960’s. The first double occurred in 1972/73, with Wrexham taking the honours. In fact in subsequent years, the three further doubles have all been in Wrexham’s favour, and all of some significance.
Firstly in 1986/87, our promotion was somewhat blotted by a 3-0 home defeat and a 4-0 away defeat to the North Wales side. In 1997/98, two 3-1 defeats cemented our relegation to Division 3, and finally our latest match-ups in the league in 2002/03 ended in a 1-0 defeat at Roots Hall together with a 3-0 defeat at the Racecourse Ground; this in a season best remembered for the fact that we only drew 3 out of 46 league games, a league record.
Two other games readily spring to mind; on February 24th 1974, Southend played Wrexham in their first ever Sunday league game. The energy crisis in 1973, compounded by the miner’s strike in early 1974, led to a state of emergency which was followed by a three day working week in order to save electricity. This led to some matches being moved to Sundays, when it was felt that electricity use was generally less.
It certainly went down well with the Roots Hall faithful, with a season’s best crowd of 10,054 watching Chris Guthrie score in a 1-1 draw.
Our last meeting with Wrexham actually came in a cup final, namely the LDV Vans Trophy at the Millenium Stadium in April 2005. In front of a crowd of 36,216 two extra-time goals by Juan Ugarte and Darren Ferguson saw Wrexham lift the trophy in an otherwise depressing season, where a 10 point deduction for entering administration, saw them relegated to the bottom division.
In contrast, seven weeks after the game Southend returned to the same stadium, and this time two extra-time goals by Freddy Eastwood and Duncan Jupp saw a 2-0 victory over Lincoln City rewarded with promotion to Division 1.
A somewhat tenuous connection to Wrexham, but a positive note to leave you with, nonetheless!