A POLAND comeback meant that Wales had to settle for near-perfect play-off preparation in their Nations League opener in Wroclaw.

Boss Robert Page can still reflect on a job pretty well done despite a 2-1 defeat – they headed home with nothing to show for their efforts but also returned without injury and with key men rested.

The fixture may have been a first against Europe’s big boys in the highest level of the Nations League but it was almost an unwanted distraction ahead of Sunday’s bid to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958.

It was goalless at the break before Jonny Williams scored Wales’ first ever goal in Poland shortly after the restart thanks to a superb drive from outside the box.

Poland were growing frustrated but levelled in the 72nd minute when substitute Jakub Kaminski finished smartly from inside the box.

And the hosts completed their comeback with six minutes to go when Karol Swiderski profited from a pair of deflections to hook in the winner.

The disappointment at the final whistle will have swiftly turned to excitement about what lies ahead this weekend.

Wales will aim to get the job done at Cardiff City Stadium and then nurse some sore heads before the mad schedule continues with home and away fixtures against Holland sandwiching a Cardiff clash with Belgium.

South Wales Argus: RESTED: Gareth Bale, Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey and Rubin ColwillRESTED: Gareth Bale, Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey and Rubin Colwill

Page took no risks with his big guns with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ben Davies left out completely.

The manager made eight changes from the 1-1 friendly draw with the Czech Republic in March with Ipswich wideman Wes Burns making his debut down the left.

Chris Gunter, the defender from Newport currently without a club after leaving Charlton, captained the side on his 108th international outing.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward and striker Kieffer Moore started after injury had left them nervously looking on in the play-off semi-final win against Austria, when Dan James had missed a glut of chances.

The Leeds man was given the chance to impress for 45 minutes and was lively on his return to action after being suspended for the Premier League run-in after a rash red card.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski captained Poland, who were without injured Aston Villa defender Matty Cash.

The hosts should have hit the front in the fourth minute when a dinked cross by Mateusz Klich was met in the middle by Piotr Zielinski but the Napoli midfielder headed wide.

Wales responded when Dylan Levitt tried his luck from distance but the midfielder got the power but not the direction to really trouble debutant goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

Page would have been pleased with what he had seen after the early wobble, especially after 17 minutes when James won possession and broke rapidly only for Moore to fire wildly over.

South Wales Argus: Kieffer Moore climbs highKieffer Moore climbs high

Yet Poland went close to breaking the deadlock after 20 minutes through their talisman Lewandowski, who showed skill and tenacity to break down the left.

The striker wrong-footed covering defender Rhys Norrington-Davies but was denied by a fine save by Ward low to his left, although the stopper was given a chance by the shot not being in the corner.

The teams were trading chances and it took a brave block on the edge of the box to deny a spectacular Burns effort from a well-crafted corner routine before James dragged a shot narrowly wide on the half hour.

Wales were posing plenty of problems in attack and had settled in defence but only for the hosts to go close again in the 40th minute when a dangerous cross from the left just eluded Adam Buksa, who should have made contact at the near post.

The best chances had fallen to the hosts yet it was 0-0 at the break after an intriguing first half.

Wales then made three planned changes with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, attacking midfielder Rabbi Matondo and forward Mark Harris coming on for Ward, James and Moore.

The new men were soon helping protect a lead after Williams, fresh from League Two play-off anguish with Swindon, struck superbly in the 52nd minute.

Matondo did well on the break and the ball fell to the diminutive midfielder, who hit a dipping shot from outside the area that eluded Grabara.

Wales had the lead and ensured there was no rapid response from Poland, making it to the hour with their clean sheet intact.

That signalled the chance to let Neco Williams stretch his legs for half an hour before Sunday with the creative full-back replacing Burns, who enjoyed a strong international bow.

Poland had wasted their openings in the first half but Hennessey had been untroubled as the clock ticked along.

Alas, the hosts were level in the 72nd minute when a cross from the left fell to Kaminski, who shifted the ball before drilling in a strong finish with his right.

Page responded by bringing on the fresh legs of Sorba Thomas, who suffered Wembley woe with Huddersfield on Sunday, for goalscorer Williams.

Wales looked set for a point but then Poland profited from a ridiculous goal with six minutes to go, Lewandowski’s shot deflecting off Gunter and Norrington-Davies for Swiderski to hook in.

Wales: Ward (Hennessey 45); Gunter (captain), Mepham, Norrington-Davies, Smith, Burns (N Williams 61), Morrell, Levitt, J Williams (S Thomas 76), James (Matondo 45), Moore (Harris 45).

Goal: J Williams Poland goals: Kaminski, Swiderski