NFA clinch second place but 10-player Amlwch put up great battle at Bastion Gardens

NFA top-scorer Sade Benjamin (all blue) looks to reach the ball ahead of Amlwch defender Emily Ridges. PICTURE: MATT JOHNSON


NFA 5 (Jones 3, 46, 59 & 85; Lloyd 60)
Amlwch Town 2 (Hughes 37, Bramwell 72)

Four goals from Emily Jones helped ensure NFA clinched second spot in the North Wales Women’s League with a 5-2 win against a battling Amlwch who travelled with only 10 players.

At 2-1 down early in the second half, the visitors hit the bar and missed a gilt-edged chance – one of a number they squandered.

Had they been able to pull level, it might have been a different story, but two goals in a minute from NFA put them 4-1 ahead and in total command.

Needing just a point to seal runners-up, the Rhyl-based hosts, playing at Bastion Gardens, Prestatyn, made a fine start by taking a third-minute lead.

Amlwch’s Ellie Sian Jones (yellow shirt) tussles with NFA’s Molly Brown (15) and Rachel Lloyd. Picture: MATT JOHNSON

Amlwch’s defence failed to deal with a bouncing ball in the box and Jones was left in space to whip a right-footed shot beyond keeper Ceri Pritchard and in off the post.

The Anglesey visitors, who were missing several regular players, responded well to that early setback.
Lowri Thomas put Tesni Hughes in the clear, but the top-scorer’s weak shot was easy for stand-in keeper Amy Webster to deal with.

Two minutes later Ellie Sian Jones released Hughes, who had NFA defenders struggling to catch her, but the striker shot far too early and although Webster got down well to save, she really should have been worked much harder.

Amlwch keeper Ceri Pritchard aims to collect under pressure. Picture: MATT JOHNSON

At the other end, Pritchard dropped a Rachel Lloyd free kick, but the keeper managed to deflect Sade Benjamin’s close range rebound effort behind for a corner.

Amlwch were doing plenty of attacking and made it 1-1 in the 37th minute.

Grace Bamber was under pressure trying to clear and Lowri Thomas managed to get a touch onto Hughes, who could not miss from two yards and notched her 19th goal of the campaign.

Seconds later, Stella Windsor lobbed the bright pink-jerseyed Pritchard, but the ball went agonisingly wide.

Half-time: 1-1

NFA needed a strong start to the second half to settle any anxieties they may have had and got it when Benjamin squared to Jones, who made it 2-1 on 46 minutes.

NFA’s Georgia Spibey prepares to challenge Ellie Sian Jones. Picture: MATT JOHNSON

Almost immediately, Ellie Sian Jones’ fantastic long distance effort hit the bar, then the same player blasted over from point blank range.

The islanders paid for that miss when on 59 minutes, Jones applied a really classy right-foot finish beyond Pritchard following a Windsor assist.

A minute later good work from Molly Brown led to Lloyd turning sharply and lashing beyond the keeper to make it 4-1.

Still Amlwch refused to fold. Hughes missed from a great position before the impressive Joanna Bramwell headed in from a corner.

Cerys Gadd of Amlwch (yellow) battles for possession with NFA’s Sade Benjamin. Picture: MATT JOHNSON

Amlwch went close twice again, Lowri Thomas missing by inches, before NFA made sure of the points in the 84th minute when Jones broke along the byline and fired in at the near post for her 25th goal of the season.

Benjamin finished leading NFA goal-scorer overall on 26, while Webster and Jones bagged 25 apiece.

Amy Webster, Chloe Evans, Libby McClelland, Rachel Lloyd (c), Georgia Spibey, Stella Windsor, Ashleigh Mills, Molly Brown, Emily Jones, Grace Bamber, Sade Benjamin. Subs: Rebekah Hansen.

Amlwch Town
Ceri Pritchard, Emily Ridges, Caitlin O’Neill, Ellie Sian Jones, Cerys Gadd, Carol Lewis (c), Joanna Bramwell, Tesni Hughes, Lowri Thomas, Kim Lodge.

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