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Futsal squadSEVERAL players with Welsh Premier experience were in a young Wales team that put in an impressive first performance in their training match just before Christmas with a 6-3 victory over Hereford Futsal Club.
With the squad meeting up for the first time at the Cardiff University Sports Village, a young and inexperienced Wales team put in a spirited performance.
Futsal is still relatively new to Wales and the majority of the squad have limited exposure to the game at an elite level, but it was a very good start in what will be a steep learning curve for the squad.
The opposition for Wales Hereford Futsal club play in England’s National League and has many years of competitive experience in Futsal along with a full England International player who has competed in FIFA and UEFA international matches.
Both defences were strong and affective but it was Wales that retained possession better in the early exchanges to break the deadlock. Dan Hooper opened the scoring and the first Futsal goal for Wales with a sweetly left foot strike in the top corner to settle any early nerves.
Wales continued to show early promise and Elliot Thomas added two more extremely well taken goals. The first an excellent right foot strike and the second a spectacular left foot volley from a pre planned set piece.
Hereford were still providing a tough challenge for Wales and hit back with goals of their own to go into the half time break only one goal behind at 3 - 2.
The second period kicked off and the high tempo continued with Hereford looking dangerous on the counter attack. Wales lost their shape at times and also let their good discipline slip committing a number of fouls early in the second half. This resulted in Wales soon reaching the five foul limit with any further fouls resulting in a 10 metre penalty kick for Hereford. The Wales players had to walk a fine line with over 11 minutes of the period remaining which they managed to achieve.
Demonstrating more composure and implementing the game plan more affectively, Wales further enhanced their advantage. Lloyd Jenkins scored to settle the nerves but Hereford again hit back to make it close at 4 – 3.
Wales had to endure some nervy moments but defended well with goal keeper Craig Williams make some important saves to deny the visitors. Finally a free flowing attacking move from the young welsh players led to Tyler Mills being hauled down in the penalty area. Captain Eric Ramsay stepped up to smash home the resulting penalty kick with Tyrrell Webb easing the pressure for the remaining moments of the contest with a finely taken individual effort.
"This was a new experience for all the players and they coped extremely well with what was asked of them," said head coach Richard Gunney.
"It will be a steep learning curve for everyone involved in an effort to build towards International fixtures and compete in the UEFA European qualification rounds."
The National Futsal squad will hold their second training camp and fixture on March 11 before facing England on April 15 in North Wales
Squad: Lee Jones, Eric Ramsay, Taylor Harding, Danny Hooper, Jonny Nelson, Tyler Mills, Matt de Cae, Elliot Thomas, Tom Allen, Tyrrell Webbe, Gareth Delve, Craig Williams, Lloyd Jenkins, Barry Haralambous.