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Kick off 10:30 (UK)

04 May 2024 Venue Attendance

Kick off 10:30 (UK)

Stockport County
2 - 1
Wrexham AFC
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Match Reports

U18 REPORT | Stockport County 2-1 Wrexham AFC

Red Dragons suffer defeat in final game of league campaign

4 May 2024

Wrexham AFC fell to a narrow defeat against Stockport County, as a late penalty from Harry Ashfield wasn’t enough to overcome the hosts as Wrexham fell to a 2-1 defeat.

The hosts got the match underway at Edgeley Park, knowing that a win secures the EFL Youth Alliance North-West league title, following an incredible run of results since the Academy’s re-formation in the summer.

Callum Edwards created Wrexham’s first chance of the morning, as the tricky forward drove towards goal and unleashed a strike from distance that forced Billy Blake into a save after just six minutes.

Both sides continued to battle it out in the opening stages, with a number of determined challenges being put in on several occasions.

Harry Ashfield had an opportunity to break the deadlock after just 16 minutes as Tom Kelly picked out Wrexham’s captain, but his header from inside Stockport’s box rose over the bar.

While Wrexham started strongly, they were handed a cruel blow after 22 minutes as Stockport broke the deadlock from the spot.

A loose ball on the edge of the Red Dragons’ box caused Aaron James to intercept in the nick of time, but the referee adjudged that an outstanding leg from Harry Dean had tripped up Christian Mulindwa off the ball and pointed to the spot.

Mulindwa stepped up to take the spot kick, as he fired into the bottom-left corner to give County an early lead against the run of play.

The visitors almost found a quick response to the setback, as James did well to head a set-piece into the path of Mikey Hayman, who forced an impressive save from Blake at close range.

Liam Hall made a brilliant save at point-blank range in the 41st minute, after his stop denied an almost certain goal from Kingston Fligg.

Wrexham came out for the second half knowing that a reaction was needed, with Hayman forcing Blake into another save after 58 minutes.

Stockport then doubled the lead nine minutes later, as Lee Williams fired home from close range to increase the difficulty of the visitors’ challenge.

With time running out, Wrexham had a late lifeline as James Rainbird was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot with seven minutes remaining.

Ashfield stepped up to take the spot kick, and calmly converted past Blake, halving the deficit and giving the Red Dragons a fighting chance at Edgeley Park.

It wasn’t to be though, as Wrexham fell to a narrow defeat and results elsewhere meant that Preston claimed the EFL Youth Alliance North-West league title.

Speaking after the result, Lead PDP Coach Nick Chadwick said: "Winning the league could have been a monumental achievement for the players, I just said to the players that the result doesn’t define their development or how far they have come.

“All season we have probably been the underdogs as a brand-new group, so it has always been about development and performances. The first-team players are used to play in these high-pressure situations – part of our development are games like today.

“The players earned the right to put themselves in this position. We congratulate Preston, who are not only league winners but also Youth Alliance Cup winners.

"They are a strong club who are really well-established at this level. Hopefully our players are in more of these battles in future.

“In terms of the players’ character and personalities, this is an outstanding group of young people, coupled with an outstanding group of staff. It is a really exciting time for us all in the Academy.”

Wrexham AFC: Hall, James, Kelly, Moore, Dean, Purvis (Hayes 51’), Edwards, Roberts (Cruise 51’), Hayman (Chesworth 80’), Ashfield (C), Rainbird.

Subs not used: Pilkington, Nicholas.

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