Wrexham AFC Women produced a fantastic performance under the lights in North Wales to claim a point against Swansea City, with Rebecca Pritchard, Rosie Hughes and Hannah Keryakoplis all scoring in a 3-3 draw.
Steve Dale selected a strong side, with Rosie Hughes given the call to lead the line, while newly appointed captain Keren Allen was selected at the heart of defence for her first competitive start in a Wrexham shirt.
The visitors got the first half underway in North Wales, and quickly reminded the home supporters why they previously held such dominance over the top-flight of Welsh football.
With just three minutes played, Louisha Doran was forced into a smart clearance early on, intervening to deny Stacey John-Davis’ header with a last-ditch headed clearance to keep the scores deadlocked.
Wrexham slowly grew into the game and found their footing, having started to make an impression on the match. Amber Lightfoot forced Claire Skinner into action in the 13th minute, as the forward’s right-footed strike was saved by the Swansea ‘keeper.
Despite the hosts starting to grow into the match, Ceri Phillips’ side came closest to registering the opening goal through John-Davis.
Allen seemed to have been brought down by her opposite number as she drove up the pitch, but nothing was given and Hosford advanced down the left-flank, finding Swansea’s number 12 in the box.
John-Davis then produced a moment of magic, lifting the ball over her head before striking a powerful effort on her left-foot which cannoned against the crossbar, with the follow up strike from distance saved by Del Morgan.
It was a perfect response to the previous warning from the Swans, breaking the deadlock to score their first ever Genero Adran Premier goal and take the lead in front of the TV cameras under the lights in North Wales.
Mari Gibbard collected the ball from 30-yards out, producing a through ball that split the opposing backline, finding Rebecca Pritchard in space down the right-flank.
Wrexham’s number seven then proceeded to burst into the box under pressure, firing expertly into the bottom-left corner on her right foot to open the scoring.
It was a fitting moment for Pritchard, a member of the orignal Wrexham side who played before the Club was reformed in 2018.
At a time where things seemed to follow the perfect script for the Red Dragons, it seemed perfect that it was the player who scored the goal that gained promotion who opened the scoring with the Club’s first ever goal in the Genero Adran Premier.
Both sides continued to battle out the remainder of the first half, although neither could make any real progress, with Wrexham defending admirably to hold onto their one-goal lead at the break.
Hughes got the second half underway for the hosts, with Swansea having stepped back out on the pitch full of determination to level the scores in their attempts to engineer a comeback.
Following an initial period of pressure for the hosts, Dale’s side shocked the six-time league champions in the 55th minute, doubling their advantage through Hughes with a goal that was richly deserved for the side’s character and determination.
Lili Jones intercepted a loose pass from Swansea and drove well before passing the ball across the face of goal into Hughes, who poked home on her left foot past an onrushing Skinner to double Wrexham’s advantage.
With the hosts starting to tire, Swansea’s experience in the top-flight started to show as Chloe Chivers hit the bar with a dangerous cross which drifted towards Morgan’s goal.
Swansea then went on to halve the deficit, as Robyn Pinders fired home to make it 2-1 to Phillips’ side in the 75th minute, with Morgan forced off due to an injury sustained whilst attempting to keep the score at 2-1.
Just nine minutes later, the Swans went on to draw themselves level through Chivers, who netted a crucial goal to level the scores.
Despite the cruel blow, Dale’s side went on to retake the lead in the 88th minute. Hannah Keryakoplis calmly fired into the net on her competitive debut, latching onto Hughes’ cutback in the box, to restore the Red Dragons’ lead in the closing stages.
Ellie Lake was also shown a red card, after she kicked out at Pritchard in the 94th minute.
The hosts were handed a cruel blow in stoppage time, as Katie Hosford’s strike took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot substitute goalkeeper Charlotte Bolland, who had no chance at keeping the ball out of the net in the 95th minute.
Dale’s side stayed strong though and dug in to hold onto an impressive point against the six-time league champions, no less than they deserved after a valiant performance.
Wrexham AFC: Morgan (GK) (Bolland 79’), Davies, Allen (C), Doran, Lovett, Dickens, L.Jones, Pritchard, Gibbard (Keryakoplis 74’), Lightfoot (Jones 64’), Hughes.
Subs not used: MacKenzie, Sharp.
Swansea City: Skinner (GK), Powe, Finch (Legall 69’), Lake, Jenkins (Wynne 59’), Bull, Chivers, Hosford (C), John-Davis (Pinder 32’), Hancocks (Turner 69’), Williams.
Subs not used: Herbert (GK).