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REPORT | Wrexham AFC 1-0 TNS

Red Dragons win cross-border derby to seal place in Bute Energy Welsh Cup Final

3 March 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Wrexham AFC 1-0 TNS

Red Dragons win cross-border derby to seal place in Bute Energy Welsh Cup Final

3 March 2024

Rosie Hughes' goal proved the difference as Wrexham claimed a third cross-border derby win of the season to book their place in the Bute Energy Welsh Cup Final.

Hughes scored the only goal of the game late in the first half to seal victory, and earn Wrexham their first ever place in the final of this competition.

And with league leaders Cardiff City beating Swansea City earlier in the day, it will be the Bluebirds awaiting in the showpiece fixture.

Three weeks after Wrexham’s last league outing, Steve Dale made three change to his starting line-up – including a competitive debut for defender Liv Fuller.

Keren Allen also returned at the back – having played with Fuller in last week’s friendly against Stourbridge, while Mari Gibbard started in midfield, after her late equaliser against Cardiff Met three weeks ago.

With a place in the final against the Bluebirds up for grabs, there were nervous moments for both sides in the opening exchanges.

First, Rosie Hughes closed down a TNS defender in the fifth minute, on the edge of the area, only for the ball to spin kindly back to goalkeeper Ellie Suckley.

Then, at the other end, there were hearts in Wrexham mouths when Del Morgan was caught in possession on the edge of the area, but she did just enough to prod the ball to safety.

Wrexham had the first big chance of the game on nine minutes, counter-attacking with pace after an important defensive block in their own area. Fuller released Amber Lightfoot down the left, who played a one-two with Rosie Hughes and raced into the box but dragged her shot just wide.

Just moments later a poor defensive clearance, Gibbard had a sight of goal but did not get hold of her shot and Hughes was in an offside position as it dropped to her in front of goal.

Emily Ridge had TNS’ first big chance, after Erin Lovett blocked in the area only for it to spin to the TNS winger, but Del Morgan saved and grabbed the rebound.

Helen Evans then headed Grace Dukerley’s corner goalwards on 29 minutes, but Phoebe Davies headed clear off the line.

Davies charged forwards at the other end two minutes later, before the ball eventually fell to Hughes, but – off balance – the striker’s tame shot was saved.

Wrexham were gifted an opportunity on 37 minutes, when Suckley handled a backpass in the area, but Jones free-kick was blocked and Hughes volleyed wide from the rebound.

At the other end, Chantelle Teare headed goalwards at the back post from a deep corner in the 41st minute but Morgan saved.

Two minutes later, an excellent TNS passing move ended with Emily Ridge in space to shoot on the right, but she sliced it into the side-netting.

Wrexham took the lead on the stroke of half-time, however – Carra Jones blocking a clearance on the edge of the area, and the ball dropping for Hughes to coolly slot in.

There was still time for Hughes to get another sight of goal, spinning her defender and racing down the right, but her shot lacked power and Suckley saved.

With Fuller still managing her return to action, she was replaced at the interval by fellow new signing Brooke Cairns, with Lili Jones dropping back into defence.

Cairns’ first action was to skip away from a defender on the edge of the box and win a free-kick, but Wrexham could not take advantage of the set piece.

Chances were harder to come by after the break, with both sides locked in a midfield battle. Steve Dale’s response was to introduce Rebecca Pritchard for Erin Lovett on 64 minutes.

Dunkerley’s cross flashed wide across the face of goal on 70 minutes for TNS – no attacking player able to get the crucial touch.

Katie Sharp replaced captain Allen on 72 minutes as she also continues to manage her minutes after injury.

Evans won another header on 76 minutes, after Lili Jones’ foul to the left of Wrexham’s area, but again Morgan saved.

Morgan saved from Evans again on 84 minutes, this time when the TNS midfielder shot from a 25-yard free-kick.

Lia Lewis was next to try her luck from distance, but Morgan watched the ball well as it bounced awkwardly and held the shot. Moments later, Teare headed wide at the back post as the Shropshire side really upped the pressure.

Wrexham were inches away from sealing victory in the 90th minute when Lightfoot intercepted a loose ball and shot across goal, but her effort clipped the bottom of the post. Cairns shot as Wrexham kept the ball alive but her effort was blocked.

Wrexham stood firm through stoppage time, however, to seal a narrow victory.


Wrexham AFC: Morgan, Lovett (Pritchard 64), Allen (Sharp 72), Fuller (Cairns 46), Davies, Dickens, L.Jones, C.Jones, Gibbard, Lightfoot (Mackenzie 90+2), Hughes

Subs: Bolland (G/K)

TNS: Suckley, Williams, Lockley, Redding, Dunkerley, Lewis, Shirley, Edge (Manders 85), Evans, Ridge, Teare

Subs: Lewis, Barlow, Samson, Jones

Referee: Nick Pratt


Wrexham: Davies (71, foul)

TNS: Teare (68, foul)

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