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Wales, hosts of this year's UEFA Women's Under-17 Development Tournament, kicked off with an impressive 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at the Centre For Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach.
From the off, Wales looked composed and confident on the ball, utilizing the new 3G surface that enabled them to play their quick passing game despite the torrential rain and strong wind.
Jayne Ludlow's young side set up well with captain, Charlie Estcourt, dictating the pace of play in the middle of the park and providing a number of probing balls forward, while working hard to break up Northern Ireland's play. Northern Ireland struggled to keep possession, while Wales began to probe, creating a number of chances.
Chloe Chivers came close on 14 minutes, firing a venomous shot which Callaghan in the Norther Ireland net did well to save. Minutes later, Chivers turned provider with a low ball into the box, Pike firing just over the crossbar.
Pike was proving a handful for the visitors and nearly opened the scoring with a fantastic run down the left and into the box but Callaghan again did well to advance and smother the ball at Pike's feet. The half went on with Llewellyn and Chivers again coming close. Somehow the game remained goalless at half time.
The second half opened in much the same way, but it was just 8 minutes into the half that Wales broke the deadlock. Pike had proved a handful in the first half and found the back of the net in the 48th minute when she collected a perfectly weighted through ball from Amelia Ritchie and fired past Callaghan for 1-0.
Charlie Estcourt, who had been pulling the strings in the centre of the pitch for 65 minutes forced a goal from a wonderful set piece. A perfect, lofted free kick was curled into the box and the pressure that Estcourt applied on her opponent caused the Northern Ireland player to put the ball under Callaghan to double Wales' lead.
Moments later, Chivers scored a spectacular long range effort from 25 yards, lobbing the keeper, and scoring the third goal for Wales in the process.
This was a dominant display from the young Welsh side who will now face the Faroe Islands at Penybont FC on Wednesday, 6th May, kick off 4.00pm.
In Tuesday's other Development Tournament match, the Faroe Islands beat Kazakhstan 2-0 at Penybont FC. Kazakhstan controlled the first half of the match but a dominant second half display saw the Faroe Islands hit the back of the net twice.
(Report by www.faw.org.uk)
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