by Sam Hart & Dylan James
JAYNE Ludlow’s Wales side put on a creative display against a decent-looking Czech Republic in a match which ended goalless.
The result means Wales’ barren spell continues to seven games – the last goal coming in their 3-0 victory over Russia during the World Cup qualifiers.
Rodney Parade’s record crowd watched the action unfold as Loren Dykes secured her 100th cap in a game which didn’t seem to merit its 0-0 score-line.
— Loren Dykes (@loren_dykes) April 4, 2019
The Czech Republic got the game underway, but straight away came under pressure from the Welsh attack, losing the ball to Hayley Ladd who put a cross into the box from the left. It was easily cleared by the visitors’ strong defence.
The eighth minute saw the Czech Republic have their first chance of the game with a cheap free-kick given away from Gemma Evans by the corner flag. The ball was played to the edge of the box, however, the shot was deflected wide and the resulting corner sailed over the bar.
It wasn’t long before Wales got a fantastic opportunity working the ball into the box but Jess Fishlock could only put her shot over Barbora Votikova’s bar.
The 26th minute saw a fast counter-attack from Wales, with Helen Ward linking up with Football Association of Wales’ Young Player of the Year, Elise Hughes. Hughes though placed her shot into the side netting.
Ward also missed the target minutes later.
31' 🏴 0-0 🇨🇿
📸 Cymru have had the better chances so far, with Helen Ward just hitting the post!
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) April 4, 2019
The 32nd minute saw Fishlock fire an effort from 25 yards out, but the ball was turned wide by Votikova, with a strong hand down to her left to put it wide.
Within minutes, the second half was off to a chaotic start following a clash of heads in the 51st minute, which temporarily halted play. Sophie Ingle fared better of the two, as Simona Necidova required attention, but was fortunately back up to speed in no time.
Necidova was straight back into the action through a perfectly timed challenge on Hayley Ladd in the box, as it seemed Ladd was clean through for the opening goal.
As the hour mark approached, the visitors began their first real assault on the Red Wall, with Jitka Chlastakova hitting the outside of the right post with a curling effort from 25 yards. Wales looked as if they were going to deservedly grab the first goal, as centurion Loren Dykes bolted down the right flank to get a cross into a crowded Czech box, but her delivery crashed onto the roof of the net.
A flurry of corners followed, with Fishlock coming close in the 85th minute, but her deflected effort flashed wide of the left post. The game finished 0-0, Ludlow will be disappointed that Wales couldn’t find the winning goal, but will be pleased to hold out against a strong Czech side.
It is two months before Wales return to action. They host World Cup qualifiers New Zealand in Cardiff in June.