Wrexham AFC Women earned a tenth consecutive league win to ensure the title race will go to a final-day decider when they take on title rivals Llandudno next weekend.
In a hard-fought game at Pwllheli, Rosie Hughes’ early penalty was cancelled out by Lois Thomas, but Hughes added a second with 12 minutes remaining and Natasha Spearing’s first senior goal sealed victory.
With Llandudno beating Connah’s Quay Nomads by the same score, the title race will now go down to a two-team shoot-out at the former’s home next weekend. Wrexham currently sit top of the table, two points clear of Llandudno, but they could swap places by the time they meet with Llandudno due to play their game in hand, against Pwllheli, in mid-week.
In windy conditions at the Rec, Lili Jones and Amber Lightfoot returned to the starting line-up for Wrexham, with TJ Dickens out ill and Libby Mackenzie injured.
Knowing a win would keep the title in their hands going into the final day, Wrexham were on the front foot from the start and Rebecca Pritchard’s scuffed shot was an early let-off for Pwllheli on five minutes.
Amber Lightfoot’s lofted pass then played Rosie Hughes in behind the defence on nine minutes, and she was brought down by goalkeeper Hayley Rees-Williams in the area.
The Pwllheli keeper was booked for the challenge, and Hughes picked herself up to bury the penalty to Rees-Williams’ right-hand side.
Jones twice tried her luck from distance, going close in the 19th minute when her shot deflected into Reese-Williams hands.
Just moments later, however, Pwllheli were level. Thomas ran onto a through ball and, though Del Morgan charged out to initially deny her, the rebound spun kindly for the striker to tap in.
Wrexham thought they should have had another penalty on 25 minutes, when Pritchard beat Rees-Williams and was brought down in the area, but the referee was unmoved.
The Red Dragons continued to press, however, and Hughes’ charged down a clearance on the half-hour and shot wide from a tight angle.
Hughes then headed wide at the back post from Pritchard’s brilliant right-wing cross on 36 minutes, before Jones’ speculative long-range effort bounced over off the top of the bar in the 39th minute.
Ella Clifton-Stringer stung the keeper’s palms with a low effort on 42 minutes, and Hughes was forced too wide to steer the rebound goalwards.
And on the stroke of half-time, Sophie Hodson’s left-footed shot deflected and, despite being initially wrong-footed, Rees-Williams recovered well to tip it wide.
Wrexham’s pressure was maintained after the break, but still Pwllheli stood firm. Kim Dutton’s shot was blocked on the line in the 52nd minute, from Jones’ corner, and then Jones herself had a low shot saved moments later.
Hodson shot wide across goal after getting in on her left-foot in the 57th minute and Hughes should have scored midway through the half but somehow volleyed over with the goal gaping from Jones’ cross.
Lightfoot skipped inside and had her right-footed shot parried clear on 67 minutes, and Jones’ free-kick was just wide in the 69th minute as Wrexham mounted even more pressure.
Just as it was starting to look as though it could be a frustrating, and costly, afternoon, however, the Red Dragons regained the lead.
Mia Roberts came on in the 73rd minute, and four minutes later she played an inch-perfect ball through to Hughes, who finished low to spark wild celebrations.
Lightfoot thought she had sealed victory in the 85th minute, but the offside flag was raised, and she then threaded a ball through to Hughes who stabbed the ball just wide a minute later.
Spearing sealed victory in the 90th minute, however, with her first senior goal. Lili Jones’ corner was not dealt with and the midfielder smashed the ball high into the middle of the net.
Wrexham now take on Llandudno at the OPS Wind Arena next Sunday, March 20. No matter how Llandudno do in mid-week against Pwllheli, the winner of that game next Sunday will be crowned Genero Adran North champions.
Line-up: Morgan, Rintoul (Roberts 73), Sharp, Lovett, Clifton-Stringer, Jones, Dutton, Pritchard, Hodson (Spearing 62), Lightfoot, Hughes