Both Wrexham AFC Reserves and Wrexham AFC Youth were in action on Wednesday, as a young reserve team were narrowly beaten by Accrington Stanley and the Under-18s – with a small match-day squad because of the fixture clash – beat AFC Fylde.
Accrington Stanley Reserves 2-1 Wrexham AFC Reserves
Report and photo by David Roberts
A battling second-half display was not enough to prevent a youthful Wrexham side from slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley, Ryan Austin’s 65th minute header proving a mere consolation in the Central League clash at the Stanley Sports Hub.
The hosts included first-team regulars Seamus Conneely and Mitch Clark in a strong starting line-up, both players making their way back from recent injury setbacks. By contrast, the entire Wrexham team, player-coach David Jones excluded, could muster just three first-team appearances between them.
That difference in experience was particularly evident in the first period as Accrington enjoyed plenty of possession. Indeed, Stanley should have taken the lead just past the quarter hour mark when Josh Woods pulled the ball back for Conneely, but the former Republic of Ireland youth international fired wildly over the bar.
Owen Cushion was booked for a foul on the lively Woods after 28 minutes, but the Stanley striker was soon in the thick of the action, creating a chance for Bailey Sloane but the left-back fired straight at Kai Calderbank-Park. Leslie Adekoya should have tested the Wrexham keeper moments before with a close-range header, but his effort flew wide of the target.
With the pressure building, the Reds’ custodian was forced into a double save after 36 minutes when he first parried a fierce 35-yard strike from Ollie Patrick before then deflecting Woods’s follow-up for a corner. However, the Australian U23 international was finally beaten five minutes before the interval when Jack Nolan broke down the left wing and his low cross was met at the far post by the unmarked Woods.
After the interval, David Jones made a couple of positional changes with Will Mountfield moving into midfield and Dan Jones reverting to right wing-back. The switch soon paid dividends as Wrexham gradually got a foothold in the game and began to threaten the Stanley goal. Austin headed a David Jones corner narrowly wide before Jacob Milner jinked his way into the penalty-area only to drag his shot past the post.
Accrington then doubled their lead after 59 minutes with a goal of real quality, Woods converting Nolan’s driven cross with a spectacular diving header. Wrexham responded almost immediately with Louis Lloyd earning a free-kick out on the right after good work from Dan Jones. David Jones stepped up and his superb cross was met at the far post by Austin who headed home from six yards out.
Wrexham pressed hard for an equaliser but the closest they came was ten minutes from time when Dan Jones found Dan Davies inside the box. The young defender showed great strength to hold off his marker and set up David Jones, only for the player-coach to curl his shot agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Wrexham: Calderbank-Park, Mountfield, D.Davies, Butler, Austin, James, Cushion, David Jones, Dan Jones, Lloyd, Milner
Subs not used: Roberts, Pilkington, Wright
Wrexham AFC Youth 3-0 AFC Fylde
Photo by Cledwyn Ashford
Wrexham AFC Youth continued their fine form, following up Sunday’s FAW Youth Cup quarter-final success with victory against AFC Fylde.
The Red Dragons had a small match-day squad due to the clash with the reserves fixture at the same time, but a blistering start set the tone for a 12th win in 14 league games this season.
Harry Dean opened the scoring after just 11 minutes, and five minutes later Caleb Hughes’ tenth league goal of the season doubled the Wrexham advantage.
A strong, resilient AFC Fylde side responded well, but Wrexham sealed victory with four minutes remaining when Harry Ashfield made it 3-0 – the Red Dragons reaching 60 league goals for the season in the process.
Wrexham: Hess, Hayes, Rainbird, R.Davies, Dean, Oliver, Ashfield, Lussey (C.Evans 55), Hayman, Hughes, Edwards
FAW Youth Cup draw
Wrexham AFC Youth’s reward for beating Carmarthen Town in the quarter-finals of the FAW Youth Cup is a semi-final tie against Penybont.
The match will be played on Sunday March 12, with full fixture details to be confirmed.
The New Saints will face Flint Town United in the other semi-final.