Welsh youngsters pip Aussie rivals at Llanwern
SPECIAL MOMENT: With the match officials before the Welsh Schools v Australian Schools game to mark the opening of the new floodlit pitch at Llanwern are team captains Jesse Victory, left, of Llanwern High School, and Nicholas Kerr, from Australia Capita
WELSH SCHOOLS 3 AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS 2
THE Welsh Schools under-18s team secured a hard-earned victory over the Australian under-19s team in a special friendly match at Llanwern High School in Newport.
The hosts, featuring three Llanwern pupils, beat the touring side in the first official contest played on the school’s brand new floodlit pitch.
Llanwern’s Jesse Victory captained the Welsh side from central defence and his schoolmate Lewis Jones starred in midfield for the hosts.
Striker Tre Marrett, who like Victory and Jones is also a part of the Newport County Academy system, came off the bench in the second half.
Wales raced into a 2-0 lead against the run of play inside the first 25 minutes.
The first goal came after just nine minutes when Peter Jones of Llandrillo College played in his strike partner Zyaac Edwards of Prestatyn High to slide the ball beyond Ryan Scott in the Aussie goal.
At the other end Welsh stopper Lewis Thomas of Pentrehafod High had to be alert to save from Australia’s Cameron Davies after teammate Oliver Zafiridis had also seen a shot cleared off the line.
But it was 2-0 on 24 minutes when Wales left-back Tom Walters of Bridgend College sent in a brilliant cross from the left flank and Peter Jones didn’t have to move as he headed in unmarked at the far post.
It was almost 3-0 a minute later when Jones saw an attempted clearance crash into his shin and balloon just over the visitors bar.
That would have been harsh on the tourists who at times looked technically more advanced as well as physically bigger than their opponents.
Captain Nicholas Kerr was particularly impressive in midfield and they finally got the goal their approach play deserved just before the break when Zafiridis beat Thomas from close range.
Two minutes after the break it was all square as Zafiridis grabbed his second with a virtually identical finish under the on-rushing Welsh ‘keeper.
But the Welsh boys showed their resilience with the winner on 64 minutes, created by Llanwern and County youngster Lewis Jones.
The midfielder caused the Aussies problems with his set-pieces throughout and it was his free-kick that landed perfectly on the head of substitute Ross Davies at the far post.
The Fairwater High pupil made no mistake in burying the chance and Wales held on to seal the win ahead of their Centenary Shield campaign, which begins against the Republic of Ireland at Cefn Druids FC on March 6.
Wales: Thomas, Pearson, Walters, L. Jones, A. Davies, Victory, Georgievsky, Faulkner, P. Jones, Edwards, Haworth.
Subs: R. Davies, E. Lewis, Margetson, Jarman, Marrett, K. Jones