Wrexham AFC Women head to Rhyl’s Belle Vue Stadium on Sunday, knowing a win will seal the Genero Adran North title with a game to spare.
The Red Dragons – who have won ten league games out of ten this season – put themselves on the brink of the title with a late victory away to rivals Connah’s Quay Nomads last time out.
That result put them five points clear of second-placed Nomads, against whom they finish the season – at the Racecourse Ground – on Sunday March 26.
And Steve Dale’s side know they can prepare for their homecoming – for which tickets will cost £1 – as champions, should they maintain their winning streak and bring three points home from Rhyl.
Sunday March 5, 2023
Genero Adran North
CPD Y Rhyl 1879 vs Wrexham AFC Women
Venue: Belle Vue Stadium, Rhyl, LL18 4BY
Entry: £3 adults, £1 children
On the brink
Wrexham AFC Women stand on the brink of a first Genero Adran North title, having missed out in heartbreaking fashion on the final day last season.
On that occasion, a ten-game winning streak was ended by a late defeat to Llandudno, in a winner-takes-all finale to the inaugural campaign.
This time, the title is in Wrexham’s hands with two games to spare – the Red Dragons having won ten in a row again this season.
The equation is quite simple – beat CPD Y Rhyl 1879 away, and Wrexham are champions. Drop points, and it opens the door for Connah’s Quay Nomads – who play Llandudno and then Wrexham in their final two games.
After winning the North Wales Women’s Football LRebeague last season, finishing the season unbeaten with 16 wins and two draws – and an incredible 118 goals scored – Rhyl have found their debut season in the Genero Adran North much tougher.
A chastening 8-0 loss to defending champions Llandudno proved a baptism of fire, but they do currently sit fourth in the table.
A pair of wins against struggling Airbus UK Broughton, and a victory against Llanfair United, has earned them nine points, while they also reached the last 16 of the Genero Adran Trophy.
They go into this game on the back of a 3-0 loss to Llanfair, courtesy of Gemma Jones’ hat-trick, but had previously showed they are no pushovers in this league with a narrow 1-0 loss to Connah’s Quay, and a 2-1 defeat to Llandudno.
Veteran striker Laura Williams scored in the latter game, while Rebecca Bannister tops their scoring charts in the league this season with four to her name.
We’ve met before
This will be the third time the two teams have met this season, with Wrexham having triumphed in each of the previous two.
The last time they met at Belle Vue Stadium was in the Genero Adran Trophy, and it ended in a dramatic stoppage-time Wrexham win.
With Rosie Hughes absent, Amber Lightfoot opened the scoring in the first-half but Wrexham were unable to put their stamp on the game. Captain Rachael Nattrass grabbed a late equaliser for Rhyl, only for teenager Lili Jones to keep her cool, slamming home a stoppage-time penalty to seal victory.
The next meeting of the two teams was more straightforward from a Wrexham perspective. After a slow opening ten minutes, Wrexham then ran riot – Ava Suckley, Amber Lightfoot and Sophie Hodson all scored within the next ten minutes, and Libby Mackenzie and Suckley again made it 5-0 by half-time.
Lauryn Lyons then stepped off the bench to score two in the second-half, as Wrexham claimed a big 7-0 home win at Ponciau Banks.
Wrexham welcomed back Phoebe Davies from injury last weekend, with the experienced full-back coming on as a second-half substitute against Connah’s Quay Nomads.
The tenacious defender bolsters Wrexham’s options at the back, and they head down the North Wales coast with only Lauryn Lyons (knee) unavailable.
That means selection decisions for Steve Dale, with captain Kim Dutton having been an unused substitute against Nomads with Mari Gibbard and TJ Dickens favoured in the middle of midfield.
Sophie Hodson and Lauren McCaffrey were also among the substitutes, and represent attacking alternatives should Dale wish to shuffle his attacking quartet.