Genero Adran Premier

Swansea City Ladies FC 5

Abergavenny WFC 0

Injury woes with little time to recuperate saw a very different line up of Pennies complete a tough schedule of three matches in eight days, writes Andrew Kennedy

The record attendance at the Cardiff City v Abergavenny WFC match on November 16 was something of a milestone for women’s football in Wales, and few doubt that Cardiff City are stronger than ever and will surely lift the Adran Premier title this season.

While playing to a crowd of 5,175 is an experience to be cherished at this level, it seems that memories were not all that was gained on the night, as with two more matches in the next eight days the Pennies squad was suffering from a spate of injuries, and it would be down to the younger Pennies to grasp the chance to play in the Senior team.

The first of the challenges was an away fixture to Wrexham AFC Women in the last 16 of the Genero Adran Trophy on Sunday, November 20.

Wrexham are in Adran North and in the preceding November matches scored 11 goals against Llangefni Town Ladies and then nine v Airbus UK Broughton FC Women.

But most impressive was their disposal of Adran Premier side TNS in the FAW Women’s Cup with a 2-1 away win at the end of October.

Despite the Pennies being in a higher league, it was looking to be a difficult fixture, even if the first choice XI with all their experience had been to hand.

Suffice to say that one of the youngest ever Pennies sides lined up for the match, with a collective average age of 20 years.

Youngest of all was midfielder Mia Sherrard, only 16 and playing for the Under 16s, Under 19s and now the Senior squad on an as required basis.

Wearing the No 7 shirt, Mia was joined by U19 regulars Carys Gittins in defence, Gracie Grosvenor (9) and Chloe Leonard (11), with Meg Stanton and Katie Williams (captain in the absence of Ceri Hudson) regulars in the Senior squad though of a similar age.

Two players had to drop out at the last minute and Bella Wilce was the all important substitute ready to come on.

Another U19, she played 52 minutes and made her first team debut.

The weather had done its worst to the pitch, and the home team were in shining form, not least Rosie Hughes, who scored two goals in the first half and assisted team-mate Amber Lightfoot with the third goal for the home side at 45+1 minutes.

Four days on from an uncomfortable and heavy landing in the goalmouth at Cardiff it was clear that Charlotte Hastings was in some pain, and diving was not really an option, but she battled on.

Hughes once again blasted her way through the next 45 minutes, having to wait another 18 minutes for the hat-trick and ultimately she scored six goals.

However, it was not all one way traffic, Meg Stanton setting up Mia Sherrard for her first senior goal at 66 minutes, with the final score 7-1.

Sadly, there was no lengthy break as the next fixture was last Wednesday (November 23) against Adran Premier champions Swansea, and with Charlotte now out of action too there was an even greater dependence on the young squad, which averaged just 19.

Showing real spirit the U19s regular goalie Marnie Gingell was offered her first Adran Premier start and had to change her shifts at work to be there.

Perhaps it was not the best day to visit as Adran North Llandudno had come to Llandarcy three days earlier and knocked them out of the Adran Trophy.

The Swans were looking in dominant mood, but the Pennies battled against an experienced Swansea squad, within which Stacey John-Davis and Nia Rees netted twice, and Katy Hosford also scored.

On this occasion there were no Pennies goals as the champions won 5-0, but Marnie made some outstanding saves, and U19s skipper Chloe Leonard made her debut in the top tier too.

These outings against top opposition have been tough, but the spirit shown by the young Pennies has been a beacon of light.

Thankfully, there is now a little time to regroup as the Pennies next match is not scheduled until Sunday (December 4), an away fixture against Barry Town United Women at Jenner Park stadium, with kick-off at 2pm.