2023 has been a year of success, pride, and inspiration for Wrexham AFC Women, who saw promotion to the Genero Adran Premier secured in April following a tense and thrilling 1-0 victory over Briton Ferry Llansawel in the play-off final.
Having fallen just short of the title in the 2021/22 season, everything seemingly fell into place on the pitch, as Wrexham dominated the Genero Adran North to set up that fateful meeting in Newtown with promotion on the line.
Since then, Steve Dale’s side have gone on to establish their position in the Genero Adran Premier – going toe-to-toe with the division’s elite.
Reflecting on if he expected his side to be in this position this time last year, Dale admitted: “No not really! I think there has been a drastic improvement and things have changed really quickly to get us into this position.
“You’ve got to give everyone at the club a lot of credit for the way that we have put ourselves across, and the way that we’ve worked behind the scenes to get into this position is brilliant.
“The girls have been fantastic as well, putting in performances week in and week out to get us into this position. After the first half of the season, we’re on course for our goal of reaching the top four - it’s important that we kick on now and keep moving forwards.”
Key additions were acquired over the summer, with Keren Allen, Louisha Doran and Carra Jones all joining the Club, while 20-year-old Ava Suckley returned having previously been a part of the side during the start of the 2022/23 season.
Despite that, the spine of the side that gained promotion to the Genero Adran Premier has stayed intact. In our Bute Energy Welsh Cup meeting with Briton Ferry, eight of the eleven players in the starting line-up had played for Wrexham last season.
He said: “I think, looking back, most of our side had experience playing in the top-flight of Welsh football. It was a no-brainer to try and work with them.
“With the qualities that they brought us in that season when we got promoted, we would’ve been daft to obviously rip the team up completely.
“We sat down in the summer and identified that it would only take a handful of signings to get us in this position. We do ask a lot of the girls every week, but they keep turning up and putting in the performances.
“They rightly deserve to be getting the credit that they are getting because they’re backing it up this season. It’s great to see that they’ve kicked on this season and tested themselves against the best teams in the league.”
Since promotion, the Red Dragons have firmly established themselves in the division, having lost just twice this season in league action.
Looking back on the season so far, Dale said: “The first game of the season set the tone for us. I don’t think that anyone would’ve thought that we would have gone toe-to-toe with Swansea for the 90 minutes like we did.
“We were outstanding in that game and that set the benchmark for us. From there, we went on a good run in the league, putting in some good performances to get us up the table. Although we’re delighted, there’s always a lot of things that we can look at and learn from.
“It is important to make sure we carry out what we said we wanted to achieve as well. It’s easy to say we’re going to get top four at the start of the season but backing it up and doing the right things to get us there is the main thing for us now.
“You can look back and take a lot of pride out of what we’ve achieved and the way that we’ve achieved what we have in such a short space of time, sometimes it is good to step back and think how far we have come.”
Wrexham AFC Women’s Manager Dale concluded by extending his thanks to all at the Club for their assistance and help which has allowed his side to ensure that 2023 was a successful year both on and off the pitch.
He said: “Without the Club and the backing that they give us all of this wouldn’t be possible. Giving us that platform is so important and we’re hopefully repaying them for the faith that they’re putting in us by backing that up and showing that on the pitch.
“We’re very grateful to the Club for what they’ve done for us and we’re hopeful that we can continue to make the Club proud and keep getting the fans in and kicking on next year!”