Stamford and Wrexham will have to do it all again after a 1-1 draw in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup in South Lincolnshire on Saturday.
Wrexham, who are rudderless having sacked manager Gary Mills in the week, were considered favourites in a tie that pitted them against a team three levels below them on the pyramid.
And led by the interim management trio of Joey Jones, Andy Davies and Dean Keates, that chasm looked like it might be a major factor after the National League side made the perfect start when Shaun Harrod converted close range after Martin Riley had headed John Rooney’s deep cross back into the danger zone after just six minutes.
The travelling Welsh fans, fearing the embarrassment of a giant killing, would have been happy to get the early goal and would have hoped their team could add a few more.
But the goal was just a smokescreen for Wrexham’s shoddy form of late. The team are struggling in the league, and they failed to capitalise in a pretty average first half.
And their lack of a cutting edge was to haunt them when, in the 57th minute, former Forest defender Hamza Bencherif brought down Jevani Brown in the box and Lee Beeson fired home from the spot to the delight of the bulk of the 1,264 crowd, a new record at the Zeeco Stadium.
Stamford were now buzzing and should have won the tie. Ryan Robbins and Jevani Brown each wasted one-on-one chances, with Wrexham ‘keeper Shwan Jalal saving the Dragons from embarrassment.
So it’s to Wrexham’s famous Racecourse Ground I go tomorrow night. A long trek on a Tuesday but it’s doable.
The Zeeco Stadium, formerley known as the Borderville Sports Centre before sponsors came in, is a modern ground only two years old. It has a terrace behind one of the goals as well as an all-seated stand along the south side of the pitch with room for around 250 spectators.
Behind the opposite goal and the north side of the pitch is a simple fence on which fans can lean on. A huge bank of turf overlooks the ground from which thrifty fans can watch the game for free, if they can avoid the security guards who, at this game at least, were on hand to disperse those who climbed up there.
The club house is situated on the first floor of the main complex, giving thirsty fans a handy view from the balcony outside. You can even watch an entire game from inside the club house if you wanted to thanks to the windows.
Below is the ‘Larder’, where you can get your usual footy grub, and a burger van was also drafted in for this game, presumably to appease the high attendance.
On that topic it’s worth noting that the 1,264 who attended set a new record for the ground. For a club that normally attracts between 200-300 people, that’s a massive jump in local support and a big boon for the club.