“It's fantastic,” said U19 team manager Paul Bodin on Thursday as a solitary goal from Newport County's Jay Foulston proved to the difference between Wales and Hungary at the Slovakia Cup. “The wining feeling in football, I don't think you can replicate that in any way, shape or form.”
Wales completed their Group A campaign of the Slovakia Cup with an impressive performance against Hungary in Dunajska Luzna, and after suffering two defeats in their opening two games, there was a determination in the squad to move themselves off the bottom of the group.
Our U19 squad have arrived in Dunajska Luzna for their Slovakia Cup Group A match against Hungary #TogetherStronger— Wales (@Cymru) May 10, 2018
A few changes from manager Paul Bodin to his starting line-up. Ryan Reynolds will captain the side #HUNWAL pic.twitter.com/YuDswBXQaG
“We're really, really pleased,” Bodin explained to FAW.cymru following the win. “The work we did over the last two games wasn't quite good enough, but the things we spoke about and analysed, every player to a man implemented what we were looking for today, and there were some really terrific performances. I think we saw a lot more of the individuals in a good team performance, and that's what we're looking for.”
Paul Bodin's side started brightly against the Hungarians and made their intentions clear when Jack Vale struck the crossbar after just three minutes.
There was a confidence in the Wales team that had been missing in the opening two games, and Vale again came close on 12 minutes but his effort was deflected wide.
Wales took a deserved lead on 22 minutes when Jay Foulston headed a ball from Sam Bowen past goalkeeper Gergely Hutvagner, and while they continued to pressure the Hungarian defence, their opponents asked a couple of questions of their own before the break without ever really looking like equalising.
Hungary introduced Kriszotfer Szereto for the second half after his impressive performance against Slovakia in their previous game. However, it was Wales that looked the more likely to increase their lead, and on 52 minutes, Morgan Boyes headed narrowly wide from a free-kick.
A further chance for Vale on 61 minutes confirmed Wales' dominance, but there were some nervous moments as the match moved into the final few minutes.
“The lads are full of energy in there,” Bodin added. “I think they could go and play another game right now! And that's what it does to you. Winning games, there's no better feeling in football. Anyone involved in football will know what I'm talking about.
"There's going to be a lot changes again today (against Ukraine), as we can't play the same team, but I'm looking for the same performance levels from the next group of players.”
Wales complete their Slovakia Cup campaign against Ukraine on Friday at Jaslovske Bohunice in a match that will decide which teams finish fifth and sixth in the tournament. Kick off is at 12pm local time.
The final of the competition will take place later that day when the Czech Republic take on hosts Slovakia at NTC Senec.