Wrexham AFC Women make the long trip away to CPDM Y Felinheli for their FAW Women’s Cup fixture on Sunday (October 9).
The match, at Cae Seilo, kicks off at 2pm and marks both teams entry into the tournament, as Wrexham look to better last season – when they beat Llanfair in their first match, but lost to Adran Premier side TNS.
Steve Dale takes charge in the competition for the first time – having been assistant to Mari Edwards for both of last season’s matches – in a fixture that pits Wrexham against one of the Adran North’s toughest opponents.
Wrexham AFC Women have started the season in style, winning 6-0 in their opening league game against Llanfair United and then repeating the scoreline against the same opposition in their opening Adran Trophy fixture too.
The abandonment of all league fixtures the weekend after the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II means the Red Dragons are yet to face any other opponent – with Felinheli having been scheduled to make the trip to Rhos Aelwyd before the cancellations.
Now attention turns to the FAW Women’s Cup – a tournament in which Felinheli, in their previous guise as Bethel Ladies, have enjoyed some cup runs in recent seasons.
Felinheli have suffered a frustrating start to the season, however, having seen key players move on in the summer after their third place finish – two points behind Wrexham – in the Genero Adran North last time out.
Goalkeeper Del Morgan will miss the chance to add to her two clean sheets so far this season, as she is away coaching Wales Women Under-19s.
Fay Jones could be in line for her first start as a result, after three matches for Wrexham AFC Women Under-19s so far this season.
In front of her, Erin Lovett is back available after missing the Adran Trophy fixture last time out through suspension.
Lili Jones returned from injury in that game, but fellow Under-19s star Ella Clifton-Stringer is an injury doubt.
Up front, manager Steve Dale has strength in depth and a selection headache to ponder, with Libby Mackenzie, Sophie Hodson, Amber Lightfoot and Ava Suckley all competing for a start behind Rosie Hughes.
CPDM Y Felinheli, as Bethel Ladies, posed a serious threat last season – finishing just two points behind Wrexham in third having been in title contention earlier in the campaign.
However, the departure of key players Mari Gibbard and Shona Roberts – who both joined Llandudno in the summer – has weakened the side from North West Wales.
They suffered humbling defeats to Connah’s Quay Nomads and Llandudno in their opening two games, losing 6-0 and 6-1.
They did bounce back last time out, however – beating CPD Y Rhyl 1879 4-3 in the league.
In the cup, they have been successful in getting through the early rounds in each of the last two seasons of the competition – eventually falling to big-name Adran Premier opposition.
In 2019/20, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, they saw off Airbus and Rhyl before being knocked out by Swansea City. Last season, meanwhile, they knocked Connah’s Quay out on penalties before being dumped out by Cardiff Met.
Bethel and Wrexham met twice last season, both inflicting a crushing defeat on the other at their respective home grounds.
Early in the season, two debut goals for Lili Jones could not erase the pain of an 8-3 Wrexham defeat at Bethel, on a day to forget for the Red Dragons.
In the reverse fixture, however, Wrexham were vastly improved. Having fallen 1-0 behind early on, and seen Del Morgan make a crucial save to keep the deficit at one, Wrexham hit back and eventually stormed to a 6-2 win. Rosie Hughes and Amber Lightfoot both hit hat-tricks for the visitors.
This season’s scheduled league fixture, as previously mentioned, was postponed in light of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.