Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a valiant effort falls short

With much of their squad handed strategic duties for the Senior’s World Cup qualifying match against Germany, Wales U-21 fought to 2-2 draw against England in the U-21 Euro qualifications today. The draw ends Wales Euro qualification hopes as the lost 5-4 in the aggregate loss. However while disappointment is only natural their extraordinary efforts will not be forgotten as this surely is the start of a golden era for Football in Wales.

Facing a daunting task of overcoming a 3-2 deficit from the opening match in Cardiff, Wales knew their task would not be an easy one. From the onset of the match, England appeared to have the edge with its heavily experienced squad pushing the play. At the thirteen minute mark, Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone struck a free kick from the edge of the area that skipped under the leaping wall and past the outstretched reach of Wales ‘keeper Owain Fon Williams. With a goal in-front, the evening was looking rosey for England until eleven minutes later when the seventeen year-old virtuso Aaron Ramsey, struck a stunning left footed drive that pierced the back of the net out from thirty meters. Five minutes later the former Cardiff City-man set up Simon Church for another of his goals and he carefully lifted the ball above England’s keeper Joe Hart. With Wales in the lead 2-1 and ten minutes before the break, England leveled the match with Jamie O’Hara corner being headed by Steven Taylor and off Sam Vokes into the net. With roughly twenty-five minutes left in the match, England was playing a man down as Tom Huddlestone was shown a red-card for a poor boots-up challenge. Wales maintained pressure throughout the balance of the match but wasn’t able to break through including Sam Vokes left footed strike that rattled square off the post with five minutes remaining.