Wrexham AFC Women progressed into the Bute Energy Welsh Cup quarter finals, after Katie Sharp’s last-minute winner claimed a 1-0 victory for Steve Dale’s side against Llandudno at the Rock.
With the recent history between the two teams, it’s no surprise that the opening stages of the match turned into a real battle with neither side able to settle into proceedings.
Despite that, Wrexham started to formulate some solid opportunities in their attempts to break the deadlock in North Wales.
Amber Lightfoot advanced up the pitch on a wet and drizzly day at The Rock, beating her opposite number and finding Ava Suckley from 12-yards-out in the 19th minute.
Suckley quickly struck on her right-foot in a crowded Llandudno box, but her effort was cleared off the line much to the visitors’ relief.
One minute later, TJ Dickens, who was making her 50th appearance for the Club, tried her luck from distance and forced Megan Robinson into a fantastic outstretched save to deny Dickens’ right-footed effort.
Wrexham once again went close, but Carra Jones couldn’t convert a golden opportunity from close range with Robinson having come off her line in the 24th minute having latched onto a back pass.
Having had two good opportunities to take the lead, Steve Dale’s side struggled to build momentum and quickly found themselves in a scrappy match with the visitors.
Llandudno came out in an inspired mood following the interval, looking every bit Wrexham’s equal on a cold afternoon in North Wales.
As the game progressed it seemed destined that the sides were heading to penalties, with neither team able to break the deadlock.
Llandudno warned Wrexham of their threats in the 63rd minute, as Stevie Donougher flashed a ball across Del Morgan’s goal towards Maddie Williams. Williams got in front of Katie Sharp to receive the ball, but the outstretched 27-year-old couldn’t manage to connect with the ball.
Lili Jones, Rosie Hughes and Lily Whitefoot all came on as Dale elected to make a number of changes late on to try and grab a winner.
Whitefoot came centimetres within putting the Red Dragons ahead, but she couldn’t find the breakthrough and failed to get onto the end of Carra Jones’ delivery across goal after 84 minutes.
Hughes and Lili Jones both had opportunities, but neither could find the net, with Hughes firing over while Jones had a 93rd minute low strike saved fantastically by Robinson.
With time running out, Wrexham had one final opportunity from Dickens’ corner to find the winner before heading to penalties, and the Red Dragons took it.
Having returned into the starting line-up having played an integral part in Wrexham’s success last season, Sharp bundled the ball home in a crowded Llandudno box in the 95th minute, saving Wrexham from the eventuality of penalties.
It sparked scenes of jubilation, as the defender provided a crucial goal at the death to ensure that the hosts booked their place in the quarter finals of the Bute Energy Welsh Cup.
Wrexham AFC: Morgan (GK, C), Davies, Sharp, Doran, Pritchard, Dickens, Mackenzie (L.Jones 57’) , C. Jones, Gibbard, Lightfoot (Whitefoot 78’), Suckley (Hughes 57’).
Subs not used: Ankers (GK), R. Jones.
Llandudno: Robinson (GK), Roberts, Dutton, Jarvis-Evans, Tradewell, Williams, Donougher, S. Owen (C), Davies, F. Owen.
Subs not used: Colville, Hughes, Jones, Bibby-Fry, Dutra.
Match attendance: 539