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Wales keep chances alive
 Women's Football News 16 Jun 2012
 
Republic of Ireland 0 Wales 1 (Lander 71)
Wales kept their outside chance of a play-off place alive in their Euro 2013 qualifying group and dealt a huge blow to the Republic of Ireland's hopes in Cork. 
 
A second half strike from record goalscorer Helen Lander earned Jarmo Matikainen's side the points and a victory in each of their remaining group games could well see them claim second place to runaway leaders France.
 
Wales went into the game without injury victim Jayne Ludlow and Loren Dykes, who was serving one match ban. Angharad James and Nia Jones came into the starting line up and Ludlow's absence meant that Jessica Fishlock captained her country for the first time.
 
It was captain Fishlock who had the first chance of the game but was unable to hit the target Ireland hit back with Denise O'Sullivan firing a shot over the bar and Nicola Davies was forced to make saves in quick succession from two efforts by Aine O'Gorman.
 
Both sides had good spells during the first half, Wales pressing hard with Sophie Ingle seeing a free kick saved by Emma Byrne who also made stops from Sarah Wiltshire and Gwennan Harries. The lively O'Sullivan shot wide at the other end but neither side could break the deadlock going into half time.
 
Early in the second half, Wales would have gone ahead but for the brilliance of Byrne. Harries' strike took a deflection off Lander and spun towards goal, only for Byrne to tip the effort over.
 
Davies was also in fine form in the Wales goal and she was again called into action when making a save from Louise Quinn. Michele O'Brien then squandered a great chance to give Ireland the lead when she skied her volley over the bar following a good knock down from O'Gorman.
 
Ireland were made to pay for that miss two minutes later as a long ball out of defence was latched onto by Lander who expertly lobbed the oncoming Byrne to register her 23rd international goal.
 
Wales defended stoutly from this point and denied Ireland any clear cut opportunities as they held on to their lead, withstanding increasing pressure and a series of long throws.
 
Matikainen brought on Sally Wade and Lauren Price late on to further bolster his defence but as the game entered injury time, it took more good work from Davies to seal victory, the goalkeeper managing to tip away a goalbound Stephanie Roche header. 
 
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Sophie Perry, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Yvonne Tracy, Shannon Smyth (sub Stephanie Roche 86mins), Ciara Grant, Julie-Ann Russell (sub Cherelle Khassal 76mins), Aine O'Gorman, Denise O'Sullivan, Michele O'Brien (sub Ruesha Littlejohn 71mins). Subs not used: Eve Badana, Marie Curtin, Diane Caldwell, Meabh De Burca.

Wales: Nicola Davies, Angharad James, Sophie Ingle, Kylie Davies, Nia Jones, Natasha Harding (sub Hannah Keryakoplis 60mins), Sarah Wiltshire (sub Sally Wade 87mins), Michelle Green (sub Lauren Price 87mins), Helen Lander, Gwennan Harries, Jessica Fishlock. Subs not used: Rhian Nokes, Lauren Townsend, Amie Lea, Nadia Lawrence.


 
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