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REPORT | Wrexham AFC 2–3 Swansea City

Ellie Lake’s injury-time goal hands Wrexham cruel defeat at STōK Cae Ras

24 March 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Wrexham AFC 2–3 Swansea City

Ellie Lake’s injury-time goal hands Wrexham cruel defeat at STōK Cae Ras

24 March 2024

Lili Jones and Rosie Hughes’ goals weren’t enough for Wrexham AFC, as a 92nd minute goal meant that they fell to a 3-2 defeat against Swansea City at the STōK Cae Ras.

Over 2,000 supporters came down to support the Red Dragons, and Jones broke the deadlock with a sublime finish from 40-yards out in the 24th minute.

Goals either side of the half from Robyn Pinder and Monet Legall gave the South Wales side the advantage, before Rosie Hughes equalised ten minutes from time. 

However, Swansea's Ellie Lake scored the decisive goal in stoppage-time, as she netted in the 92nd minute to ensure the Swans travelled back to South Wales with all three points. 

Steve Dale named one change to the starting XI, as Del Morgan returned into the Starting XI, following her absence against Cardiff City last weekend.

Almost a year on from that famous day at the STōK Cae Ras, when Wrexham lifted the Adran North title in front of a record-breaking crowd for Women’s football in Wales.

This time in front of the Red Dragons was one of the most successful sides in Wales, six-time champions Swansea City.

Matches between Wrexham and Swansea this season have always been tightly contested, but while Steve Dale’s side had been yet to get the better of their South Wales counterparts.

Backed by thousands of vociferous supporters, a momentous occasion at the STōK Cae Ras inspired a quick start from Wrexham. An early sprint down the line from Rosie Hughes set the tone, rousing many within the ground to spur the hosts on against stern opposition.

Wrexham’s first real opportunity came in the eighth minute, after a slick team move, passing through Amber Lightfoot and Lili Jones meant that the ball eventually fell at the feet of Hughes, who couldn’t keep her shot down.

Hughes followed up with another speculative effort just two minutes later, which dragged wide of the post, as the hosts quickly got into a good rhythm early on in North Wales.

Swansea battled away and grew into the match, with Katy Hosford and Robyn Pinder reminding everyone of their talents, having enjoyed great success against Wrexham so far this season.

However, on a day where Wrexham wanted to put on a show, they quickly showcased their fighting spirit and character in abundance.

Captain Keren Allen was found in unfamiliar territory, and her snapshot from inside the Swansea box fell only as far as Hughes, who saw an innovative backheel cleared off the line by Jess Williams after 22 minutes.

The Red Dragons didn’t stop here though, as they broke the deadlock just two minutes later with a goal only fitting of such an occasion.

While over 2,000 Wrexham fans flocked into the STōK Cae Ras, it perhaps was no surprise that lifelong Wrexham fan Lili Jones was the one to open the scoring in emphatic fashion.

The midfielder sprinted onto a loose ball that Lightfoot left for Jones to strike, and she unleashed a 40-yard lob that was perfectly weighted to send everyone into jubilation.

It didn’t last long though, as Allen was unfortunate to catch Pinder in the box after half an hour, with referee James Walker pointing straight to the spot.

The striker stepped up to take and buried her effort into the far corner, leaving Morgan beaten after 31 minutes.

Dale’s side continued in their search for another goal to regain their lead, but the closest they came was minutes before the interval, when Hughes hit the post from an offside position.

Neither side made any changes at the break, perhaps a strong indication that both benches were satisfied by what they had seen in the opening 45 minutes.

It was almost a perfect start to the second half, as Carra Jones found Brooke Cairns with an incisive pass in behind just twelve seconds after the restart.  

Cairns made a fantastic run, but her first effort was outstretched and parried by Herbert, before her second attempt was blocked before reaching the net.

Lili Jones looked to double her tally for the afternoon, but a curling effort ended up just a whisker away from the far post.

Against the run of play, Monet Legall latched onto a clearance and tried her luck with a curling effort after 53 minutes.

Morgan managed to get a hand on Legall’s effort, but she couldn’t prevent it from lifting into the back of the net, as the Swans suddenly found themselves in front.

It seemed like an eternity, but Wrexham were never going to settle for defeat without putting up a fight.

That fighting spirit came in handy with just over ten minutes to go, as Hughes produced another colossal goal in the closing minutes at the STōK Cae Ras.

Carra Jones, who has been such a key player for Wrexham since joining in the summer, picked out Hughes with ease, and the Red Dragons’ number nine came to the rescue with just ten minutes remaining in North Wales.

Lili Jones came so close to earning Wrexham all three points, as the midfielder’s effort was blocked just in time by Ellie Lake in the 90th minute.

Lake then provided a crucial blow towards the hosts, as she fired home in stoppage time to hand Wrexham a cruel defeat despite a performance that was full of character and heart. 

Wrexham AFC: Morgan, Allen (C), Fuller, Davies, Pritchard (Small 69’), C. Jones, L. Jones, Gibbard, Cairns (Dickens 87’), Lightfoot (Suckley 81’), Hughes.

Subs not used: Bolland, Lovett.

Swansea City: Herbert, Turner (K. Thomas 13’), Lake, Cullen, Pinder, Hosford (C), Wynne (Chivers 72’), Hancocks, Legall (Harris 81’), E. Thomas, Williams.

Subs not used: Williams, Harris, Guymer.

Match Attendance: 2,008

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