Cardiff City celebrate scoring against Wrexham

Adran Trophy Report | Wrexham 1-3 Cardiff City

Cardiff City Women began 2024 by booking their place in the Semi-Finals of the Adran Trophy with a 3-1 win over Wrexham at The Rock.

First-half goals from Seren Watkins and Molly Kehoe put City in the ascendancy, before Amber Lightfoot pulled a goal back for the hosts, only for Eliza Collie's strike to secure the victory.

Head coach Iain Darbyshire made three changes from the side that defeated Aberystwyth Town last time out, with Ffion Price, Rhianne Oakley and Kehoe coming into the starting XI.

Seren Watkins in action for Cardiff City Women

The Bluebirds came out of the blocks quickly and almost went ahead in the first minute. Some brilliant link-up between Kehoe and Oakley led to Price finding space in the box, whose strike at goal was saved by Del Morgan. From the rebound, the City wing-back tried to square to Collie, but the hosts managed to clear.

The front three of Kehoe, Collie and Oakley continued to look dangerous, as the latter cut inside from the left and fired towards goal, forcing Morgan into another early stop. City’s fast start resulted in the opening goal, taking the lead in the 16th minute, as a corner came out to midfielder Watkins, whose fierce strike put the Bluebirds in front.

City immediately pushed for a second goal and found it with 26 minutes on the clock. The ball came out to Kehoe on the edge of the area, whose fine strike found the top corner. Wrexham reacted well and forced a chance of their own, as Lightfoot fired towards goal, forcing Ceryn Chamberlain to make a brilliant save.

Before the break, Darbyshire’s side continued to create opportunities to add to the lead. A Price free-kick was almost swept home by Kehoe, only for Morgan to make the save. After an impressive first-half display, City led 2-0 at the break.

Cardiff City celebrate scoring against Wrexham

Similarly to the first half, the Bluebirds looked dangerous at the start of the second period, as Oakley drove down the left, before having a low cross cleared. With Price delivering from the other side, her cross just evaded the on-rushing Collie.

The City striker was again involved, as the Bluebirds went close to adding a third, cutting inside from the left and firing powerfully towards goal, with her effort flying just wide. At the other end, the hosts pulled a goal back in the 74th minute through Lightfoot, who netted from close-range.

City responded brilliantly, restoring the two-goal advantage just two minutes later, as Collie was rewarded for her fine performance with a goal, applying a calm finish after racing through. Darbyshire's side professionally saw out the remaining minutes to book a place in the last four.

The Bluebirds return to Adran Premier action next Sunday (14/01), travelling to The New Saints' Park Hall, 2pm KO.


Wrexham AFC Women: Morgan, Pritchard, Allen ©, Doran (Sharp 66’), Davies, Dickens, L Jones (Mackenzie 46’), C Jones, Gibbard, Lightfoot, Suckley. Subs not used: Bolland, Whitefoot, Marsh.

Cardiff City Women: Chamberlain, Price, Power, S Walsh ©, Bowen, Cook (Owen 74’), Watkins, Beynon (Broadhurst 85'), Kehoe, Collie, Oakley (Adams 63’). Subs not used: Smith, Basham.

Iain Darbyshire on the touchline for Cardiff City Women

Head coach Darbyshire reflected on a positive performance after the full-time whistle.

"We're really pleased," Iain began. "We set out at the start of the season to win everything this year and this is another game towards that. I thought the game was scrappy at times, but we played some good stuff. We showed some good resilience when Wrexham scored and we controlled the game for the majority of it, so it's a pleasing performance. 

"The chances that we created, we have to take them, but their goalkeeper played well. There are things that we can tidy up technically, but we understand that it's the first game back. Overall, it's a good performance and we're happy to be in the next round."

Commenting on City's next fixture, an away trip against The New Saints, Iain said: "We always have a tasty game against them, I really enjoy those games. They're always really aggressive, really physical and they're tight games. Credit to Greg [Draper] for what they're doing there, but we'll be aiming for three points."

Seren Watkins in action for Cardiff City Women

Midfielder Watkins, who opened the scoring with a superb strike, added: "We wanted to start off 2024 with a win and a strong performance, just as we left off 2023, that's exactly what we did. I'm really happy to have helped the team and get another goal under my belt. 

"We're looking forward to the Semi-Finals now. It won't be easy, but if we play our football, then we believe that we can go all the way."