RACHEL Rowe returned from a year out through injury to earn Wales a vital victory in their Women's Euro 2021 qualifier in Belarus.

The Reading midfielder's late winner, a low left-foot shot, was her first for her country and saw Wales edge past the hosts at the Borisov Arena.

The result keeps Wales second in Group C, two points behind leaders Norway but, crucially, it opens up a four-point gap over third-placed Belarus.

The home side created more chances, but skipper Anastasiya Shcherbachenia sent the best one over the crossbar.

But Wales boss Jayne Ludlow will argue that here side deserved all three points with captain Natasha Harding having a strong first-half penalty appeal turned down and hitting the woodwork with a long-range shot.

In the evening's other pool game, Norway took their goal difference to +25 after thrashing Faroe Islands 13-0.

Wales, looking to bounce back from last month’s disappointing home draw against Northern Ireland at Newport's Rodney Parade, were without injured skipper Sophie Ingle and star midfielder Jess Fishlock.

Ingle was replaced in the squad by Cardiff City's 17-year-old forward Grace Horrell, with Reading striker Harding taking the captain's armband.

Ludlow handed a debut to Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Anna Filbey, while Rowe played her first international for a year after an ACL injury.

Belarus looked the better side in the early exchanges but Wales slowly worked their way into the game and they were denied a penalty when Harding broke through and was able to nick the ball beyond the lunging Voskobovich before being sent tumbling by the keeper, only for referee Tanja Subotic to wave play on.

Wales went close again when Elise Hughes had the ball in the back of the net, but the Everton forward had drifted offside after Harding had clipped the corner of post and crossbar with a fantastic curling shot.

The winner arrived with just seven minutes remaining as Rowe scored her first international goal on her 31st cap with a fine finish into the bottom corner.

Wales head to Belfast to take on Northern Ireland in the their next qualifier on Tuesday, November 12.