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REPORT | Wrexham AFC Women 3-2 Connah's Quay Nomads

Red Dragons go top of the league

23 January 2022

Debutant Sophie Hodson was among the goalscorers as Wrexham AFC Women came from behind to stun league leaders Connah’s Quay Nomads and go top of the Genero Adran North table.

Rosie Hughes cancelled out Bailey’s opener, before Hodson and Amber Lightfoot gave Wrexham a commanding lead – either side of N Grimshaw’s red card.

Francesca Scott pulled one back, but Wrexham – who had midfielder TJ Dickens in goal after Del Morgan became unavailable late on – held on to record a big win.

Steve Dale’s side – who have now won seven consecutive league games – sit top of the league, albeit having played one game more than both Llandudno and Connah’s Quay.

With Dickens in goal against her former team, and Hodson pushed into the starting line-up as a result, Nomads were on top early on.

Wrexham’s makeshift goalkeeper was tested just five minutes in, but tipped a dipping, long-range effort over at full stretch to prove her calibre.

There was little she could do on eight minutes, however, when Bailey volleyed Kirstie Kural’s corner in from close-range.

Five minutes later, Dickens kept Wrexham in the game – the offside flag staying down as Scott got in behind, but the goalkeeper coming out quickly to charge the effort down one-on-one.

Wrexham were slow to grow into the game, but Hughes headed just wide across goal on the quarter-hour as the hosts started to make chances.

Three minutes later, they were level – Lightfoot pounced on a loose ball, threaded it through to Hughes and the striker finished low to equalise.

Hodson could have put Wrexham in front on 39 minutes, after a brilliant through ball by Roberts, but the Wrexham debutant’s low shot was saved.

At the other end, Dickens twice did well to claim free-kicks in her six-yard box, as Erin Lovett twice made fouls on the edge of the area.

It was Wrexham who went in at half-time in front, however – Hughes played the through ball, and this time the new girl made no mistake, slotting in her first Wrexham goal.

Connah’s Quay should have levelled immediately, after some slack defending, but Dickens saved from K Jones at point-blank range and the rebound was somehow prodded wide.

It was Wrexham on top after the break though, and Hughes had already gone close twice when she was hacked down by Grimshaw – already on a yellow card after stopping a quick free-kick moments earlier – who was promptly sent off.

Wrexham then extended their lead with the pick of the goals on the hour. Lightfoot won the ball on the touchline, outpaced one defender and cut inside another to lay-off to Hughes. Without breaking stride, Lightfoot then raced onto the one-touch return ball, and slotted in Wrexham’s third.

Rebecca Pritchard then thought she had scored on 64 minutes, when a corner dropped to her in the area, but her powerful strike was somehow blocked on the line.

And just a minute later, Nomads were back in the game – a simple long ball being headed into Scott’s path, who prodded low beyond Dickens.

It made for a nervy final half-hour, although Wrexham continued to make chances – Lightfoot and substitute Libby Mackenzie both going close, as well as Hughes twice.

It was the latter who almost sealed victory on 84 minutes, but her left-footed shot deflected agonisingly onto the post and bounced clear.

But Wrexham stood firm in defence, despite Nomads’ peppering the area with long balls and long shots, to claim a huge win.

With nine under-20s in the match-day squad, and midfielder Dickens in goal, the result puts Wrexham two points clear of Llandudno and a further point ahead of Connah’s Quay.

Team: Dickens, Clifton-Stringer, Sharp, Lovett, Roberts (Rintoul 61), Dutton, Jones, Pritchard (Mackenzie 82), Hodson (Spearing 84), Lightfoot, Hughes.


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