2021FR
Date: 1 p.m. March 26, 2021
Venue: Colliers Park, Wrexham
1 - 2
FT

Joe Adams 12' -
Scored: 12'


Scored: 76'
- Jonathan Afolabi 76'

OG: 77'
- Morgan Boyes 77'


Friendly Report: Wales U21 1 - 2 Republic of Ireland

Fri, Mar 26 2021

Under-21 boss Jim Crawford kicked off the next two-year cycle with a hard-earned win in Wrexham. Credit: Michael P Ryan

Two goals in two second-half minutes saw Jim Crawford’s under-21 side wrap up this week’s training camp with a 2-1 friendly win over Wales at Colliers Park in Wrexham.

Jonathan Afolabi levelled before Morgan Boyes bizarrely passed into his own net to seal the win after Joe Adams had fired the Welsh into an early lead.

Bizarrely, Ireland didn't touch the ball once in the 73 seconds that separated Afolabi's equaliser and the own goal that put them in front.

With both sides missing many who would otherwise have started due to action with the senior team, there were a host of debuts handed out by Crawford and Welsh boss Paul Boden.

Crawford gave the baptismal rites to five new call-ups, including Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Conor Noss and Celtic’s Luca Connell in midfield.

Norwich City defender Andrew Omobamidele and playmakers Louie Watson of Derby County and Alex Gilbert of Brentford were also given their head following senior breakthroughs at their clubs.

Wales had the better of a scrappy opening period and had already threatened in behind through Luke Jephcott when Adams was presented the chance to break the deadlock on 12 minutes.

A slick passing move on the right saw Nathan Huggins released on the right hand side of the box and he pulled the ball across goal for the Grimsby Town striker to sidefoot neatly past Brian Maher.

Wales played with a strong wind in the first half and they made the best of it with direct balls in behind the Irish defence, with Ireland fortunate Huggins was wasteful in a similar position.

Ireland’s high defensive line was being tested against the quick Wales front three and Maher was required to regularly leave his area to sweep up long passes in behind the back four.

The Bray Wanderers keeper had little else to do during an opening period that Wales controlled without ever really looking like adding to their lead.

The conditions in the second half suited Ireland and Crawford’s charges quickly took control, Will Ferry almost setting up Afolabi for a tap-in in the first couple of minutes.

Captain Lee O’Connor registered Ireland’s first shot on goal as he was played in by the impressive Watson but, with Afolabi peeling away in the middle, he chose to shoot straight at sub keeper Nathan Shepperd.

The introduction of Gavin Kilkenny and Tyreik Wright for the final 20 minutes gave Ireland some more attacking impetus, and Kilkenny very nearly teed Afolabi in for a simple chance.

Wales introduced Sam Bowen, the son of former Wales international Mark, and he made an immediate impact as he played in Ryan Stirk.

The midfielder looked certain to fire the Welsh into what would have likely been an insurmountable lead but, with just Maher to beat, he curled his shot well wide.

This time, Ireland heeded the warning and were level within three minutes as Conor Noss danced his way into the box from the right-hand side and put it on a plate for Afolabi to bundle home.

Remarkably, Ireland would go in front without even touching the ball as the Welsh moved back from the kick-off before Boyes’ backpass was picked up by the wind and rolled past Sheppard into the net.

Ireland cranked up the gears and probably should have made it 3-1 when Ferry picked out Afolabi, but he snatched at his shot and put it wide.

Wales threw everything at Ireland through five minutes of injury time but defender Mark McGuinness stood tall with two decisive clearances as the visitors closed the game out.

Wales: Lewis Webb (Nathan Shepperd 46); Fin Stevens, Billy-Sass Davies, Morgan Boyes, Eddy Jones; Ryan Stirk, Terry Taylor (Sam Bowen 72) Sion Spence (Sam Pearson 63); Nathan Huggins, Luke Jephcott (Christian Norton 63), Joe Adams (Robin Colwill 81).

Republic of Ireland: Brian Maher; Lee O’Connor, Andrew Omobamidele, Mark McGuinness, Mason O’Malley (Tyreik Wright 69); Luca Connell, Conor Noss, Louie Watson (Conor Grant 74); Alex Gilbert (Gavin Kilkenny 69), Will Ferry, Jonathan Afolabi (Ethon Varian 86).


Wales U21
Lewis Webb
Goalkeeper 46'
46Subbed Off: Nathan Shepperd 46'
Eddy Jones
Defender
Morgan Boyes
OG: 77'
Defender
Billy Sass-Davies
Defender
Fin Stevens
Defender
Niall Huggins
Midfielder
Ryan Stirk
Booked: 86'
Midfielder
Terry Taylor
72'
72Subbed Off: Sam Bowen 72'
Midfielder
Luke Jephcott
63'
63Subbed Off: Christian Norton 63'
Forward
Joe Adams
Scored: 12'
81'
81Subbed Off: Robin Colwill 81'
Forward
Sion Spence
63'
63Subbed Off: Sam Pearson 63'
Forward

Substitutes
Ben Margetson
Defender
Rhys Hughes
Midfield
Robin Colwill
81'
81Subbed On: Joe Adams 81'
Midfield
Lewis Collins
Forward
Sam Bowen
72'
72Subbed On: Terry Taylor 72'
Forward
Owen Beck
Defender
Christian Norton
63'
63Subbed On: Luke Jephcott 63'
Forward
Sam Pearson
63'
63Subbed On: Sion Spence 63'
Forward
Nathan Shepperd
46'
46Subbed On: Lewis Webb 46'
Goalkeeper
Jack Vale
Midfield
Republic of Ireland U21
Brian Maher
Goalkeeper
Andrew Omobamidele
Defender
Booked: 64'
Mason O'Malley
Defender 69'
69Subbed Off: Tyreik Wright 69'
Lee O'Connor
Defender
Mark McGuinness
Defender
Louie Watson
Midfielder 74'
74Subbed Off: Conor Grant 74'
Conor Noss
Midfielder
Luca Connell
Midfielder
Booked: 83'
Alex Gilbert
Forward
Booked: 27'
69'
69Subbed Off: Gavin Kilkenny 69'
Will Ferry
Forward
Jonathan Afolabi
Forward
71Subbed On: 71'
71'
71Subbed Off: Jonathan Afolabi 71'
Scored: 76'
86'
86Subbed Off: Ethon Varian 86'

Substitutes
Tyreik Wright
Midfield 69'
69Subbed On: Mason O'Malley 69'
Ethon Varian
Forward 86'
86Subbed On: Jonathan Afolabi 86'
Lewis Richards
Defender
Oisin McEntee
Defender
Andy Lyons
Defender
Gavin Kilkenny
Midfield 69'
69Subbed On: Alex Gilbert 69'
Conor Grant
Midfield 74'
74Subbed On: Louie Watson 74'
Shane Flynn
Unknown
Dawson Devoy
Midfield
Sam Blair
Goalkeeper