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Goal and win crowns Jess' special day
 Women's Football Wales International News - 7 Apr 2017
Wales International News - Goal and win crowns Jess' special day - 7 Apr 2017 - Women's Football NewsWales 3 (Evans 8, Fishlock 39, Harding 47) Northern Ireland 1 (Furness pen 28)
Jessica Fishlock became the first Wales women's international to win 100 caps for her country and marked her special day with a stunning goal as they beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in the first of a friendly double header at Ystrad Mynach.
The midfielder was given a guard of honour and a special presentation ahead of the game and she also wore the captain's armband for the day. It was also a memorable occasion for Angharad James as she was appearing for Wales for the 50th time.
Wales were quickly out of the blocks in determined fashion and their efforts brought reward with just eight minutes on the clock. Picking up on a loose ball in the area, Georgia Evans - who has never scored a goal for her club - got on the mark for her country for the first time by firing a shot over the turn past Emma Higgins to put her side in front.
Kayleigh Green looped a header inches over the bar as Wales sought a second but Northern Ireland were coming into the game more as an attacking force and they produced their first opportunity when Laura Rafferty's shot was saved by Laura O'Sullivan.
Back came Wales with the lively Rachel Rowe forcing a save from Higgins but Northern Ireland were given a golden chance to get back on level terms when Green was penalised for handball in the area and a penalty was awarded. Rachel Furness stepped up to find the corner of the net from the spot for the equaliser.
Wales continued to press without creating a clear cut chance until six minutes before half time, when they went back in front in spectacular fashion. A cross into the area was half cleared as far as James whose diagonal pass was latched onto by Fishlock who crashed an unstoppable volley over Higgins and into the top corner of the net to spark rapturous celebrations.
Jayne Ludlow made one change at half time with Nadia Lawrence replacing Gemma Evans and the midfielder made an almost immediate impact. Within two minutes of the restart, Lawrence found space on the right from Hannah Miles' pass and her low cross was turned in at the near post by the oncoming Natasha Harding.
Ashley Hutton headed wide at the far post at the other end and a Furness shot was just off target as Northern Ireland tried to find a way back into the game but they were struggling to break down a Welsh defence in which Sophie Ingle and Hayley Ladd were in fine form.
A number of substitutions meant that the game did not flow as freely in the second half - as with many international friendlies - but Wales continued to attack in search of more goals. Lawrence, Fishlock and Harding all fired efforts off target and there were no further goals as Wales ran out deserved winners with a very encouraging performance.
Laura O'Sullivan, Hannah Miles (sub Ffion Morgan 82mins), Gemma Evans (sub Nadia Lawrence 45mins), Angharad James, Hayley Ladd, Sophie Ingle, Rachel Rowe, Georgia Evans (sub Charlie Estcourt 56mins), Kayleigh Green (sub Melissa Fletcher 66mins), Jessica Fishlock, Natasha Harding. Subs not used: Shaunna Jenkins, Bethan Davies, Amelia Ritchie.
Northern Ireland:

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