Wrexham AFC Women claimed a derby day victory over The New Saints at The Rock, as Steve Dale’s side recorded an impressive 3-1 victory which saw Rosie Hughes score her 100th goal in a Wrexham shirt.
Carra Jones also recorded a brace, putting in an impressive performance on the right-flank to secure victory with her goalscoring threat.
TNS did score late on from a free kick, but it was only to be a consolation with Wrexham largely in control of the match throughout.
Steve Dale made one change to the side that started in their 2-1 win over Aberystwyth Town last weekend, as Amber Lightfoot returned to the starting eleven in place of Erin Lovett.
It meant a switch around in personnel at the back, requiring Rebecca Pritchard to take on a more defensive-minded role.
The New Saints got the match underway at The Rock and both sides played out a tense opening period with neither team able to gain control of the fixture.
Pritchard did well to deny Emily Ridge from getting a shot off in the 16th minute, after a ball from the right bypassed the head of Louisha Doran.
It fell at the feet of TNS’ number 35, but she couldn’t get a strike away before Pritchard was back in time to put in a crucial challenge.
Lili Jones then fired a warning to the visitors, striking on her right foot from the edge of the box, but Mackenzie Haydn-Jones did well to catch the effort on 19 minutes.
Just three minutes later, Wrexham were ahead as Carra Jones broke the deadlock from close-range in the derby.
Lightfoot, who was straight back into the starting line-up this weekend, had an immediate impact at The Rock. It was her work on the edge of the box that created space for a through ball into Jones, who made no mistake from close range on her left foot.
Del Morgan then proceeded to catch a strike from Ridge in the 26th minute, as The New Saints looked for an instant response in North Wales.
Carra Jones and Lightfoot then continued to cause havoc in the final third, and this time it was Jones who provided the ball for Wrexham’s number 11 who struck on the half-volley to force Haydn-Jones into action yet again.
Wrexham continued to grow into the match in the second half, and it was Rosie Hughes who doubled the advantage with a goal that will go down in the record books.
Having received the ball on the bounce from distance, Hughes produced a truly impressive volley from range which looped over Haydn-Jones in the 53rd minute to extend the lead.
It wasn’t just any goal though. It was the goal that lifted Hughes on to 100 career goals for Wrexham AFC – a tally which no other current player at the Club (male or female) has been able to replicate.
Wrexham were handed a blow as Captain Keren Allen was forced off in the 63rd minute to be replaced by Katie Sharp, after the Red Dragons’ number 22 picked up a knock.
They responded to that setback fantastically as Carra Jones netted her second goal of the match, all but securing three points for Wrexham with 20 minutes left to play.
TJ Dickens put the TNS backline under pressure, forcing the visitors into giving the ball away to Mari Gibbard from 30-yards out. The Wrexham midfielder then produced a fine through ball to release Jones, who struck an emphatic right-footed shot past Haydn-Jones.
The visitors scored a consolation late on with three minutes remaining, as Helen Evans scored an incredible free kick from distance which rose past Del Morgan with the Wrexham keeper unfortunate not to keep a clean sheet.
Despite that, it didn’t spoil the party as the Red Dragons held on for an important victory at The Rock on derby day against TNS.
Wrexham AFC Women: Morgan (GK), Pritchard, Doran, Allen (C) (Sharp 63’), Davies, Dickens, L. Jones, C. Jones (Whitefoot 89’), Gibbard (MacKenzie 77’), Lightfoot (Spearing 89’), Hughes.
Subs not used: Bolland (GK).
The New Saints: Haydn-Jones, B. Lewis (C), Samson (Staley 62’), Teare (Edge 76’), Lockley, Chapman, Evans, Redding, L. Lewis, Ridge (Hill 83’), Williams.
Subs not used: Suckley, Hartley.
Match attendance: 626