Rhydian Davies of Aberystwyth Town challenges Ireland's Anthony McAlavey
Some young starlets from the Welsh Premier League shone as a Wales U18 homegrown side beat their Irish counterparts at Bangor's BookPeople Stadium in Tuesday night.
Wales won the third encounter between the two sides by 2-0 with goals from Airbus UK's Zy Edwards and Port Talbot Town's Callum Holden.
The first half saw a committed performance by both sides, but on balance Wales deserved the lead.
Both sides showed from the early minutes that they would compete and as early as the tenth minute, Wales defender Iestyn Evans needed treatment for a head cut. A minute later, central defender Konrad Bialozynski was booked for a foul on the Irish No.7, Conor O’Driscoll.
The opening Wales goal came on 17 minutes after a shot from outside the box by No.10 Zyacc Edwards after the ball was cleared from a corner. His shot beat the Irish keeper low to his right.
It was no more than Mark Pike’s youngsters deserved as the Irish were given little time on the ball and Wales always looked a threat, especially down the left hand side where captain Ryan Hedges was prominent.
Bala Town's Ryan Jones has possession
The second goal came from Callum Holden on 26 minutes when he chipped the goalie as he came-out to the edge of the area. The chip found the net with Ireland floundering.
With the half drawing to a close, Ireland started to come-back into the game but the Wales defence held firm.
The second half had fewer incidents of note. Ireland made five substitutions at half time and looked to find some new strength, but as in the first half, the Wales team showed composure when needed.
Ireland had a string of corners in the opening ten minutes of the second half but all came to nothing thanks to the resolute defending of the Welsh. Substitutions also started to come from Wales and the game lost some of it’s pace due to that.
Callum Holden had a half chance for his second on 61 minutes but his goal-bound shot was blocked. On 76 minutes, a cross into the Irish area saw a header from substitute Sam Wilson go wide.
Aberystwyth Town's Liam James on the ball
The crowd of some 400 were getting a whole-hearted show from both sides, but as the clock drew-on to ninety minutes, it was clear that there was only going to be one winner on the night.
Mark Pike’s youngsters acquitted themselves well on a cold,dry night at the Bookpeople Stadium in Bangor and will return home to their clubs in good spirits. (Thanks to Aneurin Venables for the images)
1.Luke Evans - Newtown
2.Liam James - Aberystwyth Town
3.Iestyn Evans - Carmarthen Town
4.Adam Robbins - West End
5.Konrad Bialozynski - Bangor City (Yellow Card)
6.Rhydian Davies - Aberystwyth Town
7.Callum Holden - Port Talbot Town (Goal 26m)
Port Talbot Town's Callum Holden scored for Wales
8.Chad Nicholas - Cambrian & Clydach Vale
9.Ryan Jones - Bala Town
10.Zyacc Edwards - Airbus UK Broughton (Goal 17m)
11.Ryan Hedges - Flint Town United ©
12.Connah McFenton - Port Talbot Town (For 1 - 74m)
13.Ashley Hollingshead - Merthyr Town (For 5 - 48m)
14.Ross Findlay - Port Talbot Town (For 9 - 79m)
15.Sam Wilson - Carmarthen Town (For 10 - 62m)
16.Cullen Kinsella - Bryntirion Athletic (For 8 - 69m)
17.Greg Walters - Haverfordwest County (For 11 - 82m)
18.Richard Brain - West End (For 7 - 72m)
1.Shane Morrissey - Waterford Bohs
2.Lloyd Buckley - Shamrock Rovers
3.Paddy Slevin - Derry City
4.Shane Mackey – Tramore
5.Jake Dykes - Sligo Rovers © (Yellow Card)
6.Darragh Black - Finn Harps
7.Conor O’Driscoll - Cork City
Wales U18 Homegrown Squad
8.Conor Tourish - Derry City
9.Gareth McCaffrey - Stella Maris
11.George Kelly – Aileach
12.Alex O’Callaghan - Liffey Valley Rangers
10.Anthony McAlavey - Cork City (For 12 - 46m)
13.Alan Browne - Cork City (For 8 - 46m)
14.Darren Kilcawley - Sligo Rovers (For 6 - 63m)
15.Cathal McDaid - Finn Harps (For 11 - 46m)
16.Peter Healy - Mervue United (GK) (For 1 - 46m)
17.Ryan Goldsmith - Mayfield United (For 9 - 63m)
18.Liam Flatley - Castlebar Celtic (For 7 - 46m)