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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Wales 2-3 Poland
Wales striker Robert Earnshaw fires just wide of Poland's goal after seven minutes
Wales failed to give boss Mark Hughes a winning send off as Poland came from a goal down in this World Cup qualifier.

Rob Earnshaw gave Wales the lead their dominance deserved early in the second half with a superb finish after Robbie Savage's quickly taken free-kick.

Tomasz Frankowski levelled the scores on 72 minutes with Maciej Zurawski adding the second nine minutes later.

Jacek Krzynowek's long-range effort sealed the victory, with John Hartson's injury-time header scant consolation.

The defeat leaves Wales' qualifying hopes more or less over with just two points from four games.

For the second successive game, Wales' preparations were disrupted prior to kick-off when Ryan Giggs was ruled out with a virus.

Hughes also sprung a surprise selection for his final game in charge by dropping Hartson to the bench.

James Collins, who was dropped after the Northern Ireland game, was also recalled to play alongside Danny Gabbidon at centre-back and Savage returned to midfield after a one-match suspension.

The pacey pair of Craig Bellamy and Earnshaw formed a dangerous looking forward partnership, and it was Earnshaw who had the first sight on goal after seven minutes.

Gabbidon's hopeful clearance was flicked back by Jacek Bak but Earnshaw intercepted before the ball reached Poland goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

The West Brom striker opted for the early shot across the face of goal from a narrow angle on the right, ignoring the unmarked Bellamy who was bursting into the penalty area.

A physically strong looking Poland side had their first attempt after 15 minutes when Miroslaw Szymkowiak's shot was deflected into the side netting by Gabbidon.

The rest of the half belonged to Wales as Dudek pushed Bellamy's low drive onto the post and then tipped over Simon Davies' fierce drive from outside the box.

Wales manager Mark Hughes
Wales manager Mark Hughes' five-year reign ends in defeat
The Polish defenders were also putting their bodies on the line to block quick-fire shots from Earnshaw, Bellamy and Gary Speed - who was making a record 44th appearance as Wales captain.

Earnshaw also came within a whisker of turning in Mark Delaney's shot-cum-cross at the far post but Poland held on to go in level at the break.

Wales needed only 32 seconds to threaten the Poland goal again, but Bellamy failed to keep his shot down from the edge of the box. Davies followed suit a few minutes later.

But Wales finally got what their dominance deserved when Earnshaw's cool finish with the outside of the foot put them ahead on 55 minutes.

Savage played the ball behind the Poland defence from a quick free-kick, Tomasz Rzasa's sliding back-pass was too short for Dudek and Earnshaw made no mistake.

Bellamy could have made it two soon after, but his weak header from six yards out was comfortably saved.

It was a costly miss and the game was turned on its head in 13 minutes.

Poland had scored six goals in two away previous Group Six qualifiers, and once they had a sniff of goal they showed no mercy.

Their first goal came from their first meaningful shot on goal as Frankowski latched on to a ball over the Wales defence and fired home into the bottom left corner.

Welsh disappointment then turned to disbelief when Zurawski was sent clear down the left and found the left hand corner of the net with another cracking finish.

Jacek Krzynowek was the next to fire past Paul Jones with a fierce left foot drive from outside the box.

Hartson's header from Savage's free-kick brought a degree of respectibility to the scoreline, but Hughes' reign ended in disappointment as Wales failed to win a competitive match for the 10th successive time.


Wales: Jones, Delaney, Collins, Gabbidon, Thatcher, Davies, Speed (Hartson 79), Savage, Koumas (Parry 86), Bellamy, Earnshaw.
Subs Not Used: Fletcher, Pembridge, Robinson, Oster, Crossley.

Booked: Savage, Bellamy.

Goals: Earnshaw 55, Hartson 90.

Poland: Dudek, Rzasa, Kosowski, Baszcyznski, Kaluzny (Mila 68), Bak (Klos 46), Hajto, Krzynowek, Zurawski, Szymkowiak, Wlodarczyk (Frankowski 59).
Subs Not Used: Boruc, Bieniuk, Kaczorowski, Zajac.

Booked: Szymkowiak.

Goals: Frankowski 72, Zurawski 81, Krzynowek 85.

Att: 56,685

Ref: Alain Sars (France).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton


Interview: Wales coach Mark Hughes



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