8:39pm Saturday 14th June 2014
By Fraser Watson
FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Six qualifier:
Wales 1–0 Turkey
A GOAL from Sarah Wiltshire helped Wales cement second spot in Group Six as they beat Turkey in scorching conditions at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.
Striker Wiltshire latched onto a through ball from midfielder Angharad James eight minutes before half time and fired into the bottom corner from 10 yards out.
In truth, the final score line did not reflect the dominance of the home side, and the visitors were left indebted to keeper Ezgi Caglar who made a string of acrobatic saves to keep it at 1-0.
Wales enjoyed plenty of possession early on but they had to wait 15 minutes to threaten, when full back Helen Bleazard’s corner curled towards the net but was palmed away by Caglar.
Just after the half hour mark James’ through ball was just too heavy for Wiltshire – before Loren Dykes narrowly failed to bundle home from close range.
But with 37 minutes gone the Welsh broke the deadlock. This time, James’ inch perfect through ball found Wiltshire, who side footed past Caglar.
And in the final moments of the half, Wales laid siege on the Turkey goal as they pushed for a second. A Dykes cross just evaded Wales skipper Jessica Fishlock, and Hayley Ladd’s 20 yard shot was tipped over by Caglar.
Then in injury time, Bleazard’s header was brilliantly met by Sophie Ingle, but the centre back’s header crashed against the bar.
Early in the second half, Fishlock stung the palms of Caglar from 30 yards before a rare moment of danger from Turkey, as substitute Ebru Topcu’s cross fizzed across the goal.
Wiltshire was then inches away from a second, dispossessing Didem Karagenc before her rising shot was saved by the in-form Caglar.
With 15 minutes left the Turkey task became even harder when Karagenc, who was booked in the first half for a foul on Fishlock, received a second yellow card for hacking down Wiltshire.
Fishlock was denied two more times by Caglar before the final whistle, while at the other end, there was one nervy moment for Wales when Topcu just failed to get on the end of a long Cigdem Belci free kick.
There was very nearly a fitting finish when Pembrokeshire girl James turned and shot from 35 yards, but Caglar rounded off a solid display with another save.
But Wales saw out the final moments comfortably to secure a much deserved win.
Wales: Nicola Davies, Nicola Cousins, Helen Bleazard, Kylie Davies, Sophie Ingle, Angharad James, Loren Dykes, Hayley Ladd (Michelle Green 70), Nathasha Harding, Jessica Fishlock, Sarah Wiltshire (Josie Green 90).
Subs: Sophie Dando, Rhian Cleverley, Carys Hawkins, Nadia Lawrence, Gerogia Evans.
Turkey: Ezgi Caglar, Sevine Corlu, Didem Karagenc, Cigdem Belci, Hanife Demiryol (Ebru Topcu 57), Arzu Karabulut, Bilgin Defterli (Emine Esen 82), Fatma Kara, Yagmur Uraz, Sibel Duman, Esra Erol.
Subs: Fatma Sahin, Berna Yeniceri, Emine Gumus, Eylul Elgalp, Elif Deniz.
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (Poland).
Assistants: Anna Dabrowska and Kinga Seniuk-Mikulska (both Poland).
Fourth official: Ceri Louise Williams (Wales).
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