There were starts for Joe Adams, Fin Stevens and Alex Gilbert yesterday As Wales Under-21s took on the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in Wrexham. Nathan Shepperd also played the second 45 minutes for the Welsh at Colliers Park.
The Irish claimed the victory with two second half strikes to overturn an early Adams opener.
Stevens, on his Wales debut, played the full game, whilst Adams played 81 minutes, and Alex the first 69 minutes of the match for the Irish.
Wales made their early possession count when they took the lead through Adams, who is of course on loan with Sky Bet League Two side Grimsby Town, on 12 minutes. The winger found the ball in the inside left channel before spraying an excellent pass out to the right for Niall Huggins, who jinked inside, before playing the ball across goal for Adams to strike first time with his left foot to give Wales a lead.
The match continued to be a narrow affair with Gilbert looking to cause damage in off the right-hand side, but credit to the Wales back line who did well to resist the Irish attacks. Another committed display from Stevens saw the 17-year-old continue his consistent form at right back as he proved an outlet going forward as well as a solid task to get the better of.
Photo credit: Wales FA
Shepperd came on for his under-21 debut on half-time and the second period was similar to the first with chances few and far between. As the game wore on the Irish then began to take the initiative as they tried to get back into the game. In a similar move to the opening goal of the game, the ball was played out to the right before it was pulled back for Jonathan Afolabi who slotted home.
Ireland then took the lead in an unfortunate twist for the Welsh as a Morgan Boyes back pass was too heavy and wide for Shepperd to control as the ball ended up in the back of the net late on.
Discussing the match, Joe felt that neither side deserved to walk away with the win.
He explained: “It was a bit of a scrappy game between two good sides. It was close but I think we’re in a position where there are a lot of new faces coming into the under-21 group, but I think it was a good start before the qualifying for the European Championships starts in June.
“I don’t think either side deserved to win the game. They pounced on a couple of mistakes from us, so I think on the balance of play we should have got at least a draw.”
Discussing seeing four Brentford B players involved in the game, he explained: “It’s massive, for those boys to get a first taste of it as well. For their families and friends, it’s a proud moment. I always love coming away, I have a lot of mates here and it’s always good to play international football because you learn a lot of things. At Brentford we must be doing something right if we’ve got four lads from the same club playing in the same game. All credit to the system and the way it’s going.”