Under-21s flatter to deceive as Welsh run goes on
Wales U-21 2 N Ireland U-21 0: Northern Ireland Under-21s flattered to deceive in a lively opening and in the end were powerless to stop Wales extending their winning run at home to six games at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground.
Daniel Alfei opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute following Seanan Clucas' foul on Jonathan Williams.
Substitute Robert Ogleby's header 15 minutes from time then sealed a result which will bring some cheer to Welsh fans after the senior team's 3-0 defeat to the Republic of Ireland last night.
After Wales striker Elliott Chamberlain had hit the first goalscoring chance of the game weakly at goalkeeper Conor Devlin, it was Northern Ireland who applied some early pressure, with Paddy McLaughlin latching on to William Grigg's through ball but unable to keep his shot down and then firing in a low drive from distance that Rhys Taylor got down to catch.
James Lawrie sent an effort wide soon after, having pounced on a loose ball, but the Welsh started to settle and Lee Lucas shot off-target from long range before Jake Taylor went closer, having connected with Ryan Doble's knock-down.
Jake Taylor and Doble were next to bring saves out of Devlin and three minutes before the interval Wales made the breakthrough after Williams was brought down in the area. Alfei confidently converted the penalty.
Wales picked up where they left off after the break and Devlin did well coming out to thwart Doble before stopping the rebound effort from Billy Bodin.
Another Devlin block found its way to Lucas, who blasted over, but it seemed only a matter of time before Wales scored again.
It duly arrived in the 75th minute as Ogleby, brought on just seconds earlier, headed in skipper Ashley Richards' free-kick.
WALES U-21: Rhys Taylor, Richards, Dummett, Lucas, Alfei, Brown, Jake Taylor, Jones, Doble, Chamberlain, Williams. Subs: Maxwell, Matthews, Bender, Bodin, Partington, Cassidy, Ogleby.
N IRELAND U-21: Devlin, Clucas, Blake, McLaughlin, Hegarty, McGivern, Lawrie, Lund, Grigg, Carson, Ferguson. Subs: Deane, Winchester, Devine, Mitchell, Gray, Magennis, Millar.
Referee: Neil Doyle