Wales dominate their way to victory over Israel
Two goals from Helen Ward and a third from substitute Charlie Estcourt completed a convincing win for Wales in Newport.
Wales 3-0 Israel
UEFA Women's EURO 2017 Qualifier
- Thursday, 15 September 2016
- Rodney Parade, Newport
Israel went into this qualifier at Rodney Parade bottom of Group 8 but could take confidence from holding Wales to a 2-2 draw in Ramat Gan last December.
Wales' hopes of qualification ended in June following a 2-0 defeat to Norway, but with the focus now turning to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 qualifiers that will start next year, manager Jayne Ludlow was keen for her side to bring the current campaign to a close on a positive note in the first of their final two fixtures.
And it was a positive start for Wales as they enjoyed the better of the early possession and looked extremely comfortable in a defence well-marshalled by captain Sophie Ingle.
The match started competitively with both sides looking to gain the psychological edge with a couple of early challenges, but Wales gained the upper-hand and both Helen Ward and Nadia Lawrence had efforts on goal inside the opening 15 minutes.
Gemma Evans was a danger for the Israeli defence with her set-piece delivery, and a deserved lead was taken by Wales when Ward finished in style on 16 minutes.
A yellow card for defender Hayley Ladd briefly dented Wales' rhythm but their confidence was restored when Sophie Ingle showed all her defensive qualities to deny Lee Sima Falkon with a last-ditch tackle when the Israeli forward appeared to be through on goal.
On 33 minutes the lead was doubled when Helen Ward scored her second of the game after latching onto a ball from Rachel Rowe. Wales continued to dominate, and Nadia Lawrence headed over from a Natasha Harding cross as the opening half came to a close, but it remained 2-0 as Wales took a comfortable advantage into the break.
A collision between Kayleigh Green and Israeli goalkeeper Merav Shamir resulted in the Wales striker being replaced at half-time by Charlie Estcourt, but Wales continued where they had left off with Jess Fishlock trying her luck from distance following the re-start.
It would prove to be another dominant half from Wales, and on 59 minutes Estcourt extended their lead after some excellent work from Natasha Harding in the Israeli area with a fine finish.
Wales were good value for their lead and should have increased their advantage on 85 minutes when Harding was fouled in the area by Michal Ravitz.
Despite being booked previously, Ravitz escaped further punishment, but Jess Fishlock was denied by Shamir as the goalkeeper guessed the right way to deny Wales a fourth goal.
Substitute Melissa Fletcher and Estcourt both had further chances before the final whistle eventually blew to confirm a convincing victory from Jayne Ludlow's side and round-off a dominant performance.
The side now return to Rodney Parade for the tougher challenge of Austria to bring their qualification campaign to a close.
WALES: Skinner (GK), Rowe, Evans, James, Ladd, Ingle (c), Harding, Lawrence, Green, Fishlock, Ward.
Subs: O'Sullivan (GK), Roberts, Estcourt, Fletcher, Chivers, Davies, Miles.
Goals: Ward (16, 32), Estcourt (59).
ISRAEL: Shamir (GK), Ravitz, Sofer, David, Tvill (c), Falkon, Fridman, Sade, Barqui, Sendel, Shahaf.
Subs: Schwarz (GK), Nakav, Pearl, Sofer, Avital, Shimrich, Metkalov.
Referee: Eszter Urban (Hungary)
Assistants: Katalin Torok (Hungary and Anita Vad (Hungary)