An historic day for Wrexham Women saw them venture out against Northop Hall Ladies at the Racecourse for the first time ever, as new signing Rosie Hughes scored four in a 6-1 thrashing of their North Wales counterparts.
Hughes bagged three goals in the space of six minutes in the second half, to cap off her goal in the first half, with Rebecca Pritchard and Amy Glendenning also on the scoresheet.
The game saw fans enter the Mold Road Stand for the first time since March 2020, as the youth sections and families drove out to support the Wrexham AFC Women’s first team.
In their previous encounter, Northop Hall Ladies emerged 1-0 victors against Wrexham at Rowley's Drive in Shotton. The fixture in early July was the only time this summer that the Wrexham Women have failed to score, having bagged 24 goals in their other six games.
Northop Hall Ladies would have been wise to watch out for Wrexham playmaker Lauren Reese, as the attacker has already netted ten times this summer, including four goals against Prees United in an 11-0 thrashing.
Wrexham were presented with an early opportunity in the first five minutes, as they were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Reese bolted her effort, but it was always rising as it hit the famous rows of the Wrexham Kop.
Northop Hall’s first chance came eight minutes in when Wrexham’s captain Abby Hughes played a short back-pass to her own goal, allowing Northop Hall’s striker to pounce. The striker attempted to curl an effort from 25 yards out against the onrushing Delyth Morgan from the Wrexham goal, but the ball was heading wide, as it was picked up by a Wrexham shirt.
The following passage of play saw Rosie Hughes through on goal, but Northop Hall’s keeper Bethan Thomas moved quickly to close her down. Hughes was unable to manoeuvre the ball past the keeper, so instead offered a quick-fire shot, which was smothered well by the keeper.
Wrexham’s new signing Hughes was causing havoc for the Northop Hall backline, and this came into fruition in the 13th minute, when she slotted home her first goal after signing. Thomas did well to muster a hand onto the ball, but this didn’t stop the ball from trickling into the goal.
Pritchard was sent through in the 21st minute after clever link-up with Hughes, showing off the pair’s new-found chemistry. Whilst time seemed to stand still for Pritchard, she was able to coolly slot the ball into the bottom left corner to give Wrexham an early two-goal lead.
Pritchard did well to retrieve the ball in the 33rd minute and had space to run into on the right-wing. The Wrexham winger played a precise cross to Hughes and the ball seemed to have too much pace on it, but Hughes’ excellent touch allowed her to strike an effort on goal from inside the box, but she could only find the side netting.
An injury to a Northop Hall player saw a healthy chunk of added time for the first half. Reese’s persistence in the box allowed her to curl an effort from the angle, aiming for the elusive far top corner. However, Thomas rose to the challenge and palmed the ball away before it nestled into the side netting.
Half time was called and Wrexham’s dominant first half performance saw them enter the changing rooms with a two-goal lead.
Wrexham continued their assertive pressure in the second half and a searching ball found Pritchard running into the box. The Wrexham winger strode into the box, but the angle narrowed and her effort was well saved by the Northop Hall keeper in the 47th minute.
Play was slightly stop-start due to injuries and substitutions, but Wrexham found their fluidity once more through Rosie Hughes, as her pace was too much to handle for the Northop Hall defence. She waltzed past their backline and found herself through on goal but had seemingly taken too long to pull the trigger, as the keeper was ready to smother the ball. However, her agility and quick feet allowed her to dance past Thomas and poke the ball home on the hour mark.
Hughes was proving to be a cut above, as she claimed her hat-trick a couple of minutes after sealing her brace. The striker seemed to have all the time in the world, as she dribbled past the keeper and slotted the ball home into the empty net.
Hughes used the technique of copy and paste in the 63rd minute, as her fourth goal was a carbon copy of her hat-trick-sealing goal. The new signing for Wrexham was truly proving her worth in this fixture, in front of the invited junior section of the club.
Substitute Amy Glendenning was next to write her name on the scoresheet, as she tapped in a blocked effort from Wrexham’s number six, Libby Mackenzie. The latter went on a brilliant run, seeing her initial effort saved and then her second shot handballed to the back-post, where Glendenning was on hand to poke the ball home, with 73 minutes on the clock.
Northop Hall had offered very little in the game, but Daisy Allen managed to restore some pride for the away side, as she wrestled and toiled away to stab the ball home into an empty net in the 83rd minute.
Full time was called and Wrexham AFC Women emerged victorious, as they claimed a pleasing 6-1 win over Northop Hall Ladies. New manager Mari Edwards would have been pleased to watch on, as her new side prepared for the inaugural FAW Tier 2 North League season with an impressive performance.
Wrexham Women: (4-2-3-1): Morgan (GK) (Jones 46’), Rintoul, A.Hughes (Davis back on 55’), Sharp, Davis (Davies 46’), Dutton (Glendenning 62’), McKenzie (Sands 60’), Reese, Williams (Trialist 14’), Pritchard, R.Hughes
Northop Hall Ladies: (4-4-2): Thomas (GK), Whitley, Sigsworth, Allen, Holland, Eagles, H. Williams, Wright, Thomas, Hughes, G. Williams
Subs: Sharps (GK), Reed, Strapp, Constantine, Goreka, Evans
Player of the Match: Pritchard