WALES 50s began their preparations for next year’s four-nation tournament in Ireland with a first fixture of the new season at Ystrad Mynach against Droitwich.

The visitors included former Newport County manager Dean Holdsworth in their starting XI.

Striker Holdsworth made 228 Premier League appearances for Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers, scoring 63 goals.

Wales boss Shane Davies made a number of changes from the squad that won the Oxford tournament back in August and gave no fewer than seven players their debuts.

The game started at a fast pace with both sides looking to stamp their authority on proceedings early on.

Droitwich opened the scoring on 17 minutes with a wonder strike from 25 yards that debutant goalkeeper Darren Toop could do nothing about as the ball flew into the top corner.

Wales didn’t allow the goal to affect their passing game and they continued to push forward looking for the equaliser.

And they were rewarded with two quickfire goals, the first on 28 minutes from Swansea debutant John Paul Kennedy, and the second on 35 minutes from strike partner Mike Fredricksen of Barry.

The second period was a very tight affair with Wales lively going forward and Droitwich finding it difficult to contain the pace of the hosts’ counter-attack.

The Wales finishing could have been better as they spurned a number of chances to put the game well out of site.

At the other end, the back three defended superbly as Droitwich threw everything at them, with debutants Jason Richards and Adam Corfield slotting in alongside captain Laurence Owen, who had the task of looking after Holdsworth.

It is credit to the Wales side that they limited Droitwich to shots from distance and dealt with dozens of corners, set-pieces and crosses the visitors threw at them.

The game ended with a deserved 2-1 win for Wales and Kennedy was named man-of-the-match.

The 50s are back in action in January when they welcome Goring United to Ystrad Mynach as they continue to build towards the Ireland trip in May.

Wales: D Toop, A Corfield, L Owen (capt), D Thompson, D Knight (Continental), J Edwards (Penybont), N Romanello, JP Kennedy, J Walsh (Swansea), B Griffiths, S Owen, P Jones, N Francis (Merthyr), M Fredricksen (Barry), P Isaacs (Cardiff). Manager: Shane Davies.

This Saturday sees the 55s host England at Ystrad Mynach (kick-off 3pm).