Wales U18 0-2 England U18: Missed chances cost Wales against England
CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 29: Oil Ewing of Wales U18 in action during the International Friendly match between Wales U18 and England U18 at Leckwith Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

A squad of enthusiastic young Dragons eager to slay a pack of young Lions.

It was England that took the win home from Cardiff, however.

A Liam Delap penalty on the hour-mark, topped off by a calm Carney Chukwuemeka finish, sent Wales home with nothing, despite a dominant first-half display.

Ryan Viggars missed his chance to put Wales ahead in the first half, with his poor spot-kick easily saved.

Wales had plenty more chances but were unable to make any count, leaving England to take home the win.

Story of the match

A free-flowing start to the game meant early chances for both sides. The best of the opening exchanges came for England as Karamoko Dembele weaved in and out of the Welsh midfield to set up a lightning-quick counterattack.

However, the finishing touch was not found in the following shot.

Wales' game plan was clear - escape down the left wing through Ryan Viggars. The winger was yet to make a breakthrough, though.

The confidence was growing for the men in red. More control in midfield. Tackles flying in. Higher possession of the ball. Could they make it count?

Captain Keelan Williams took it upon himself to make their dominance count, as a lung-busting run into the box caused him to be hacked down in the box.

Viggars stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but it was Hubert Graczyk, the England keeper, who was the hero with a superb save down to his left to keep the score level.

A link-up between Shola Shoretire and Louie Barry could have seen Wales rue their missed penalty on the half-hour mark, but Barry could only blaze his effort over Max Williams' crossbar from 10 yards.

A string of passes and crossfield ball later, Wales were threatening once again as Joel Cotterill laid the ball back to the edge of the box. Chris Popov could only follow in Barry's footsteps and rocket the ball over the woodwork.

Seconds later, it was England's chance. A deft touch and swivel from Daniel Jebbison found the striker in acres of space in the Wales box and released a scuffed shot which had to be saved by Williams.

Williams, brother of Neco Williams, caused more problems for the England defence as the game went on, this time unleashing a strike that cracked the post before going out for a corner. 

Taylor Jones was inches from planting a header home from the whipped corner but was left frustrated with himself for a poor attempt.

A much-changed England side were looking to gain a foothold in the game, with CJ Egan-Riley being the only survivor from the first half.

Despite the changes, Wales were still piling on the pressure with Tobi Oluwayemi, England's second keeper to make an appearance on the day, diving at the feet of Viggars before tipping Cotterill's effort over the bar.

It was only a matter of time, however, until Liam Delap made a difference. 

The Manchester City striker came on at half-time, winning a penalty on the hour-mark. With 20 goals tallied up in 15 Premier League 2 appearances, it was no surprise to see the forward blast his spot-kick past Williams.

England's confidence was starting to grow, with Wales' beginning to dwindle. Two mistakes could have proved costly moments after the Delap penalty, but neither Carney Chukwuemeka nor Alex Scott were able to capitalise.

Fellow Citizen, Samuel Edozie, came close to adding his name onto the scoresheet after beautiful build-up play found the winger in space but could not apply the finish to put the game out of sight for Wales.

With the pressure starting to mount on the young Wales side, gaps were starting to appear. Chukwuemeka took his opportunity this time, sliding the ball past a helpless Williams in between the sticks.

Wales were penned in until the final whistle, with England picking at the tired defence, but the score only stayed at two.

The hard-fought first half will have felt pointless, with England punishing in the second 45, but the experience was priceless for the young Welshmen.

Man of the Match - Oli Ewing

Despite the result, Oli Ewing was vital to Wales' dominant first-half display. 

Although the midfielder was not mentioned much throughout the match, the Leicester City player was quietly working in the background to keep the Wales cogs turning. 

His pivot was close to perfect, his crossfield passes pin-point. Ewing deserved to be on the winning side, putting his body on the line, doing the dirty work.

Sadly for Ewing, his efforts were not enough to keep England out for the whole match but they did not go unnoticed.

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