Wrexham AFC Women edged a seven-goal thriller, which included three in the first ten minutes, to come out as deserved winners in a feisty friendly with Connah’s Quay Nomads Women.
The Red Dragons will come away from the game with renewed confidence after showing moments of quality against a very physical Connah’s Quay side. Three goals were shared by two trialists, while winger Tiffany Sands also got in on the goalscoring. Wrexham led 4-1 at half-time, but then withstood a late comeback in a thrilling and frantic finale to claim their second win of the summer.
Once again, the visitors were without new signing Carmen Reyes as she continues to recover from the knee injury she suffered against Airbus UK Women two weeks ago. However, a number of trialists made an excellent impression – stepping into the team and taking their opportunities to stake their claim for permanent contracts.
New signings Libby Mackenzie, Erin Lovett and Jodie Davis all came into the starting XI, while Kim Dutton also returned to the squad after missing the narrow defeat at Northop Hall last weekend.
Just one goal made the difference last time out, but this match started at a lightning pace and Wrexham netted twice early.
Trialist A broke the deadlock after a great ball over the top from the Wrexham midfield allowed her to outpace the defenders to create a one-on-one, which she calmly executed.
Nomads almost hit back instantly, after a shot from range rattled the Wrexham crossbar, but it eventually dropped for a visiting player to clear.
And Wrexham took full advantage as they doubled the lead on eight minutes in almost identical fashion to the first goal – Trialist A dashing past a high Connah’s Quay defensive line and keeping her composure to slot the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper.
This time Nomads did hit back, however – clever play and a well-placed pass on the by-line from a Connah’s Quay attacker allowed a team-mate to finish unmarked at the back post.
Wrexham started to take control of possession to slow the frantic tempo of the match down a little, and the visitors subsequently won a free-kick on the edge of the area on 18 minutes.
Trialist B stood over the ball, and struck a perfect free-kick which looped over the wall and dipped in over the goalkeeper.
Trialist A then nearly completed her hat-trick on 29 minutes, after good link-up with Amy Glendenning, but – after rounding the goalkeeper – her shot was blocked by a defender.
Wrexham shuffled the pack on the half-hour, keen to get everybody game time as a third trialist, as well as Teleri Williams and Sands came on for Megan Buckley, Amy Glendenning and Jodie Davis.
Trialist A continued to cause problems, however, and on 38 minutes it was her long-rang shot that was saved by the Connah’s Quay goalkeeper.
Seconds later Connah’s Quay went close again, when a Nomads attacker charged her way into the box and beat two Wrexham defenders before pelting her effort against the upright.
Wrexham added their fourth just before half-time, however – Trialist A mimicked the Nomads’ chance with some good footwork of her own in the area. She was brought down but, as Wrexham players called for a penalty, the ball fell kindly for Sands who took it on the by-line and chipped in from the tightest of angles.
With Wrexham 4-1 up, Trialist A took a well-earned breather at the start of the second-half as Lucy Scott, Jodie Richards and Katie Sharp all came on for the visitors.
Nomads pulled a goal back just six minutes after the restart, however – an attacker wriggling free to fire a well-hit shot into the top corner from close range.
The match continued to be end-to-end, and an error from Wrexham’s trialist goalkeeper gifted Nomads a chance on 57 minutes but the hosts’ striker shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Phoebe Rintoul – only just back on the pitch – was then desperately unlucky not to score what would have been the goal of the afternoon on 71 minutes. The ball fell to her 25 yards out and she hit a first-time with plenty of power which clattered the Connah’s Quay bar.
Connah’s Quay sniffed a swing in fortune, and laid siege to the Wrexham penalty area from there on. Katie Sharp’s last-ditch tackle was vital on 80 minutes, and the Trialist goalkeeper atoned for her earlier error with a series of excellent saves as Nomads peppered the goal from distance.
They did finally pull another back on 89 minutes, however, when a shot hit a defender’s arm and Connah’s Quay converted the penalty – slotting to the keeper’s left.
That wasn’t the last of the action either as Nomads earned one final free-kick and a chance to get the ball into the area in the dying moments. An attacker found space and went for the spectacular, but Wrexham’s trialist goalkeeper saved and the visitors held on for a thrilling victory.
Wrexham line-up: Trialist GK, Rintoul, Davis, Buckley, Lovett, Dutton, Mackenzie, Trialist A, Trialist B, Reese, Glendenning.
Subs: Trialist C, Scott, Sands, Richards, Williams, Sharp