Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Wrexham V Torquay United – National League
Venue: Racecourse Ground
Date: Saturday 15th February 2020
Previous NL form (last six):
Wrexham: W – L – W – W – D – L
Torquay United: W – L – D – W – D – L
Last time the two teams met: National League, Torquay United 1-0 Wrexham – 29th October 19
Torquay United continued their impressive recent form to grind out a 1-0 win over struggling Wrexham.
Liam Davis’ fine finish from an acute angle on 56 minutes – after being teed up by Jake Andrews – ultimately proved to be the difference, as Wrexham’s recent woes continued. The Dragons had the better of the first half but could not beat Shaun MacDonald in the United goal, the keeper making a fantastic one-handed save to deny Paul Rutherford. The result saw the Gulls rise to sixth while 22nd placed Wrexham, play-off contenders last term, have one league win in their last 15.
Manager: Dean Keates
Dragons manager Dean Keates recently returned to the Racecourse Ground for a second spell as manager in October 2019 following the dismissal of Bryan Hughes. He had previously led the Dragons to the brink of the National League play-offs before departing to take charge of his hometown club Walsall, where he began his playing career in the 1996-97 season.
Keates also played for the Dragons between 2011 and 2015 and was part of their FA Trophy winning side in 2013, when they beat Grimsby Town on penalties in what was Wrexham’s first ever appearance at Wembley. As a player he also appeared for Hull City, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers.
One to watch: Luke Young
A player who needs no introduction to Torquay United fans, Luke Young joined the Gulls in 2014 after making over 100 appearances for his home-town club Plymouth Argyle, after progressing through the Pilgrims’ youth development set-up.
He soon became an instant hit with Plainmoor faithful as he helped to spearhead a run of six straight wins between August and September 2014, which made an immediate return to the Football League for the recently relegated Gulls seem like a reality. Young then followed up this with what was arguably his finest moment for United when he scored a stunning 25-yard volley against Wrexham on October 4th, 2014. He then went on to win the first of his three player of the year awards at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Injury then meant that Young missed most of the 2015-16 season, but he still managed to return to play a part in helping the Gulls to secure their first ‘great escape’ under Kevin Nicholson.
After returning to full fitness in the 2016-17 campaign, he once again played an influential role in helping United to avoid relegation for a second time under Nicholson – scoring six goals and playing a key part in both goals in the Gulls’ 2-0 win over North Ferriby United on the final day of the season – and lifted his second player of the year prize.
However, despite completing a hat-trick of player of the year awards in the 2017-18 season, he was unable to prevent the Gulls being relegated to National League South and joined Wrexham in the summer of 2018.
Classic Encounter: Division Four, Torquay United 6-1 Wrexham – 15th August 1987
In what was their first league encounter since the now infamous Bryn the police dog inspired ‘great escape’ encounter against Crewe Alexandra, the Gulls proceeded to hit Wrexham for six – to provide the perfect start to Cyril Knowles’ managerial reign.
Despite going a goal down early on, United soon rallied as Paul Dobson grabbed a hat-trick, Alan McLoughlin netted twice and Dave Cole was also on target. All three scorers also featured for the Gulls against Crewe on the final day of the 1986-87 season.
Rather modestly Knowles put the win down to the summer heat. The manager said that United were better accustomed to it than their North Walian counterparts!
Shaun Pearson – Jake Lawlor – Kieran Kennedy
Jordon Thompson – Luke Summerfield – Jay Harris – Luke Young – Tyler Garratt
JJ Hooper – Jordan Ponticelli
Joe Lewis – Robbie Cundy – Kyle Cameron – Jackson Longridge
Kalvin Kalala – Armani Little – Asa Hall – Ben Whitfield
Ade Azeez – Jamie Reid