Thursday 28 December 2023

Ground #398 - Racecourse Ground

Date: 16th December 2023
Location: Wrexham, Wales
Ground: Racecourse Ground

My twenty-third new ground of 2023 was on Saturday 16th December at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, Wales. The game was Wrexham vs. Colchester United in Football League Two.

The Racecourse Ground is to the north-west of the city centre - it is well positioned with Wrexham University bordering it to the west and north, housing to the south and Wrexham General railway station to the east. The venue is well-served transport-wise with another station, Wrexham Central, three-quarters of a mile south-east of the stadium. The club began playing at the Racecourse Ground in 1864 making it one of the world's oldest football stadiums still in use.

The Main Stand runs along the south-west flank of the ground. Opened in 1999, the stand is a single-tier structure with a capacity of 3,500. The seating deck rises towards the centre giving more of a 'semi-circle' manner. The roof is also stepped up in the centre to accommodate an additional floor of hospitality seating for Wrexham's illustrious owners and guests. The internal structure has four floors and houses club offices and just outside its doors is the The Turf Hotel which sits within the stadium footprint and doubles as a pub for home fans. 

The opposite side of the ground has a two-tier stand dating back to 1972. The northern section of the stand is given over to away supporters at present. This stand has a couple of supporting beams but otherwise views are good and only slightly restricted by those at the back of the stand due to the roof trusses running the length of the stand. There is a similar two-tier stand behind the northern goal for the most vociferous home supporters and this can accommodate 2,800 people. The southern end is a work in progress - the original 5,500 capacity Kop was taken out of use in 2008 and a new 5,500 all-seater stand is planned which would become comfortably the tallest stand at the venue. However, with work yet to start the club have installed a temporary 2,289 uncovered stand at this end of the Racecourse Ground. The stand was being completed during my visit so was not in use.

Wrexham went into the game flying high in their first season back in the Football League occupying one of the three automatic promotion spots. Colchester by comparison were just above the drop zone in 22nd and on a run of four consecutive defeats. The game started according to the form book with the hosts scoring after just three minutes. Poor defender from Colchester saw Ben Tozer's long throw fall at the feet of Elliot Lee six yards from goal with no-one around him for several yards. The former Colchester man's shot hit Zach Mitchell at the first attempt but the ball bounced straight back to him allowing Lee to strike low past Owen Goodman. Away fans were fearing a battering but fortunes changed in the 26th minute when George Evans received a straight red card for a tackle on Cameron McGeehan inside the centre circle. This unnecessary risk meant the hosts would have to play the remaining 65 minutes with ten men. The flow of the game changed after this with Colchester the stronger side for the remainder of the half. Noah Chilvers was inches away with a 25-yard drive around the half-hour mark as the U's pressed for an equaliser. The home side regrouped at the break and almost went two goals to the good when Paul Mullin's close range shot was blocked by Goodman just seconds into the second period. In the 69th minute the visitors presented an early Christmas gift to Wrexham with a dismal own goal by Zach Mitchell. James McClean's cross from the left appeared to offer no threat with no Wrexham player within five yards of the ball. However, Mitchell stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past his own keeper to put the ten men of Wrexham 2-0 up. Colchester did manage to grab a goal back in the 89th minute as Jayden Fevrier reacted quickest to strike from close range after goalkeeper Mark Howard could only palm Cameron McGeehan's header back into the six yard box. The goal would have been much more use earlier in proceedings and Wrexham rode out injury time to record a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

Result: Wrexham 2-1 Colchester United
Division: Football League Two
Attendance: 9,746

No comments:

Post a Comment