Rosie Hughes’ second-half goal could not inspire another cup upset, as Wrexham AFC Women’s extraordinary winning streak finally came to an end with FAW Women’s Cup quarter-final defeat to Aberystwyth Town.
In an even game, in which Wrexham rued missed chances in a goalless first-half, it was the visitors who took the lead on the hour-mark through Emily Thomas.
Hughes raised hopes of another cup upset, in a match played behind closed doors at Colliers Park due to the frozen conditions at Ponciau Banks, but Aber restored their lead and then sealed a 3-1 victory late on – Thomas scoring twice more.
Ava Suckley and Libby Mackenzie both returned to the starting line-up for Wrexham, and it was the former who had an early sight at goal when she shot high and wide on two minutes.
Both sides were quick to get the ball down and pass, and Katie Sharp and Rebecca Pritchard made key blocks early on.
At the other end, Suckley made a brilliant turn and run down the right on 14 minutes, and fizzed a low cross in, which Aber keeper Elen Valentine helped wide with Hughes lurking.
Hughes went even closer five minutes later, when Mackenzie turned brilliantly to release the striker, who cut inside and shot low, but a sliding defender stopped a certain goal.
Both sides matched each other for large parts of the first-half – with them each trading long-range free-kick efforts that failed to trouble the respective keepers.
But Wrexham finished the half strongly; Hughes squared for Mackenzie on 42 minutes, who took the ball out of her feet and shot, but the keeper saved at the second attempt.
A minute later, Mackenzie won the ball well and fed Hughes, who in turn played it on to Amber Lightfoot, but the winger dragged her shot wide. A good passing move then ended with Suckley firing over from a tight angle to the right of the area.
It remained goalless at the break, however, and Aberystwyth responded to their half-time team-talk well – starting the second half much faster.
Del Morgan produced a fine one-on-one save on 49 minutes, but Thomas broke the deadlock in the 56th minute – running onto a long ball and lobbing the ball in.
Aberystwyth, buoyed by the goal, were in the ascendancy for a short period afterwards and Erin Lovett kept Wrexham in the game with some body-on-the-line defending.
The centre-back twice made crucial blocks and then arrived out of nowhere to make a goal-saving tackle in the 72nd minute.
But Wrexham were level on 74 minutes – Pritchard feeding the ball through to Hughes, who finished low and left-footed in typically cool fashion.
Parity lasted just two minutes, however, before Thomas finished low from the edge of the area to restore Aberystwyth’s lead.
With eight minutes to go, she then made it three – pinching possession of Katie Sharp and sealing her hat-trick.
The scoreline was harsh on Wrexham, who had matched their top-flight opposition for large swathes of the game, but it will be Aberystwyth Town who now meet Briton Ferry in the semi-finals.
Wrexham and Aber will resume hostilities before then, however – the two teams meet in the Genero Adran Trophy quarter-finals next week.
Wrexham: Morgan, Pritchard, Lovett, Sharp (R.Jones 87), Roberts, Dickens, Lyons (Hodson 77), Mackenzie, Suckley (B.Jones 87), Lightfoot, Hughes