Williams Strike Provides Wales With Their Second Win Against Czech Republic
10 March 2016

Williams Strike Provides Wales With Their Second Win Against Czech Republic

Wales U19 1-0 Czech Republic U19 
Men's Under-19 friendly 
10th March 2016 
Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed, Cardiff

Both managers made a series of changes to their respective starting line-ups for this second friendly international, and the contrast in the two teams was matched by the contrast in the weather as Wales and the Czech Republic took to the field in glorious sunshine at Cardiff Met. Wales went into the match with optimism having claimed a deserved 3-2 victory two days before with an excellent performance, while the focus for the Czech Republic was firmly-fixed on preparing for their participation in the UEFA Elite round of fixtures later this month.

Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges, but a foul on Jiri Miker by Sam Williams on the edge of the Wales penalty area presented the Czech Republic with their first chance after six minutes. However, Rhys Williams in the Wales goal saved Dominik Breda's set-piece effort as he tipped the ball around the post. Wales struggled to retain possession as the visitors enjoyed the majority of the play, but Geraint Williams' side were resilient in defence, despite limited opportunities to express themselves at the other end of the field.

Czech Republic captain Daniel Kostl came close to opening the scoring after 13 minutes but he could only fire his effort over the bar from close range. Midway through the half Wales mustered their first effort on goal, but Blake Davies was denied by goalkeeper Jan Plachy, and minutes later Davies and Leo Smith combined well on the left to create a second half-chance. However, the Czech Republic remained dangerous in attack, and on 34 minutes a free-kick from Jiri Miker narrowly missed the target as the visitors looked to make their superiority count.

The opening goal came against the run of play on 41 minutes when Sam Williams found himself with space to turn inside the Czech Republic area, and the towering defender made no mistake with a close-range finish that would prove to be the last action of the opening half. With the game now in their favour, Wales made a number of changes at half-time, with Geraint Williams electing to start the second period with a stronger line-up to defend their lead.

Substitute Mark Harris had an early chance to increase Wales' lead on 47 minutes, but his effort sailed wide of the far post. At the other end of the field, Dominik Smekal was denied by Williams as the Czech Republic looked to bring themselves back into the match with a couple of changes. The visitors again enjoyed the better possession as they went in search of an equaliser, but Wales caused problems on the counter-attack as the game opened-up. On 75 minutes, Libor Holik almost levelled but his long-range effort drifted wide, and substitute Michal Hlavaty suffered the same fate in injury-time as Wales held on for victory against a sustained period of pressure.

We're looking to build for the future, we made seven changes today so all eighteen players had a start over the two games and that's important

– Geraint Williams

“We're looking to build for the future, we made seven changes today so all eighteen players had a start over the two games and that's important,” explained manager Geraint Williams after the match. “They way they took on the information again today and put it into practice was really pleasing. There were different line-ups for both teams today and it was a different game, but it was also the second game in three days and that can sometimes take away the legs and the energy. I thought we coped well with what they threw at us, and although we didn't score three goals today, we did keep a clean sheet. No two games are the same and you have to win games different ways. Today we did just that.”

Wales : R.Williams, Leak (c), Chilekwa, Evans, Harrington, J.Davies, Welch, S.Williams, Lewis, Smith, B.Davies 
Subs : Absalom, Coxe, Abbruzzese, Ovenden, Challis, Broadhead, Harris. 
Goals : S.Williams (41)

Czech Republic : Plachy, Holik, Kostl (c), Tischler, Miker, Muzik, Marecek, Rezek, Breda, Kral, Rychliy. 
Subs : Smekal, Telnar, Rychnovsky, Hlavaty, Haitl, Vanicek.

Referee : Mr Bryn Markham-Jones 
Assistants : Mr Kevin Russell and Mr Josh Taylor 
Fourth Official : Mr Alex McInch