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REPORT | (Pre-Season) Caernarfon Town 3-3 Wrexham AFC Youth

Young Red Dragons come from behind to earn entertaining draw

23 July 2023

A young Wrexham side fought back from two goals down to earn a deserved share of the spoils in an entertaining pre-season friendly with Caernarfon Town. The Red Dragons' starting XI, which included six second-year and two first-year scholars, was boosted by the inclusion of Scott Butler, Owen Cushion and Jake Bickerstaff with all three professionals turning in fine displays in a six-goal thriller at The Oval.

With several former Wrexham players in their ranks, Caernarfon started with Ryan Austin, Iwan Cartwright and Marc Williams whilst Louis Lloyd came on as a second-half substitute.  Manager Richard Davies was also able to call upon the services of Wales C International Danny Gosset and it was the former Oldham, Stockport and TNS midfielder who came close to opening the scoring on seven minutes with a right foot shot that flew just over.

The deadlock was soon broken three minutes later when Bickerstaff combined well with Alfie Lussey to side foot home past Cofis keeper Ryan Woods. His Wrexham counterpart Jack Pilkington then made a fine one-handed save to deny Marc Williams an equaliser before the former Racecourse favourite saw another effort hit the post and rebound into the arms of a relieved Pilkington.

With Cushion controlling the midfield, Bickerstaff nearly doubled his tally with a fine run and shot which whistled over the bar.  The woodwork again came to Wrexham’s rescue when Sion Bradley ‘s corner was met powerfully by Darren Thomas but his header bounced up and onto the crossbar.  A surging run from James Rainbird then ended with the left-sided Reds’ midfielder curling a shot narrowly wide of the target.

Parity was restored four minutes before the interval when Adam Davies broke down the right wing and centred for Rhys Alun Williams to calmly net at the far post.  Whilst the goal came against the run of play, there could be no denying that Caernarfon were worthy of their 3-1 lead inside the first ten minutes of the second period.

With Wrexham having made seven half-time changes, the Cofis quickly took control of the game with two goals inside two minutes. The first on 53 minutes came direct from a Bradley corner which eluded Cushion at the near post before bouncing past substitute custodian Bryn Owen and almost immediately from the restart Marc Williams set up Thomas who shot low into the corner of the net. The visitors were dealt a further blow when Cushion was forced off with a contact injury after a challenge with Williams.

With Caernarfon opting to make several substitutions themselves on the hour mark, the game gradually swung back in Wrexham’s favour and a superb flick and volley from Anthony Tierney from the edge of the penalty-area almost embarrassed Cofis goalkeeper Tom Pritchard.  The substitute stopper was beaten on 71 minutes however when Butler rifled home a 25-yard free-kick and Pritchard’s afternoon got worse 12 minutes from time when he fired a clearance straight into Wrexham striker Mikey Hayman, the ball rebounding into an empty net for a deserved equaliser.

Wrexham:  Jack Pilkington (Bryn Owen 60), Dan Wright (Max Hayes 46), Tom Kelly (Jake Roberts 46), Scott Butler (Regan Nicholas 72), Regan Nicholas (Harry Dean 46), Owen Cushion (Hari Roberts 57), Alfie Lussey (Alex Moore 46), Harry Ashfield (Keane Hazeldine 46), James Rainbird (Rio Owen 46), Callum Edwards (Anthony Tierney 46), Jake Bickerstaff (Mikey Hayman 72).

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