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Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 19:50 UK

Wales 1-0 Estonia

Rob Earnshaw
Earnshaw scores his 14th Wales goal with the opener against Estonia

Wales' youngest side in history secured a morale-boosting friendly win before the World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan by beating Estonia in Llanelli.

Rob Earnshaw's 26th-minute penalty proved enough, confidently converted after a harsh handball decision against Estonia captain Alo Barengrub.

Earnshaw then wasted a great chance before half time by dragging his shot wide from Aaron Ramsey's accurate pass.

Captain Joe Ledley and Gareth Bale saw long-range shots saved after the break.

The victory ended a run of three consecutive defeats in 2009 as Wales found the net for the first time this year.

Estonia, ranked 113 in the Fifa world rankings, offered little to worry the Wales defence as the home side looked comfortable in possession on a perfect surface at Parc y Scarlets.

The only slight worry ahead of the trip to Baku on 6 June was a lack of urgency at times and the continuing tendency not to make the most of scoring opportunities.


With the hosts missing the experience of Craig Bellamy, Simon Davies, James Collins and Jason Koumas, manager John Toshack had little option but to put his faith in youth.

With an average age of 21, seven of the starters still qualify for the Under-21s, with Earnshaw the oldest at 28 and earning his 44th cap.

Cardiff midfielder Ledley, 22, captained the side for the first time, and the ninth to take the armband during Toshack's five-year reign.

Ledley's cross after eight minutes created the first scoring opportunity, but Earnshaw, claiming to have been impeded, failed to make contact with the ball at the far post.

An even better chance quickly followed after Ramsey's superb reverse pass gave Chris Gunter a clear sight of goal.

Wing-back Gunter, though, failed to match Ramsey's composure as his left-foot effort flew high and wide.

Bale was the next to make inroads down the left wing, and striker Sam Vokes was caught slightly on his heels as the Spurs wing-back fired a dangerous low cross across the face of the goal.

Wales needed a goal to make their superiority count, and that arrived on 26 minutes thanks to a large slice of luck.

Estonia captain Barengrub threw his body on the line to block Ledley's shot, but referee Magnus Thorisson stunned most in the ground by awarding a penalty for handball.

Wales had missed their last three attempts from the spot, but Earnshaw was coolness personified as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way by slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.

That goal, his first for 17 months, took him above Toshack in Wales' all-time goalscorers list with 14 goals.

The Nottingham Forest striker should have doubled the lead just before the break, but he dragged his shot wide after being sent clear by Ramsey, who pulled the Wales strings throughout.

Estonia were certainly out-classed in midfield, but they twice delivered dangerous crosses into the Wales box which Alo Dupikov wasted with weak headers.

Simon Church came on to make his debut on 60 minutes, but the Reading striker collected a yellow card moments later when he played on after the referee's whistle.

Swansea's Joe Allen and Leicester's Andy King also came on in the final stages to win their first caps as the game meandered towards a lacklustre finale.

Wales did force two saves from Estonia keeper Artur Kotenko before the end, as Ledley attempted a cute chip and Bale fired a powerful long-range effort.

Wales: Myhill (Hennessey 46), Gunter, Bale, Williams, Morgan, Nyatanga, Ledley, Ramsey (Edwards 67), Vokes (Church 59), Earnshaw (Evans 59), Collison (Allen 80), Evans (King 89).
Subs Not Used: Price, Tudur Jones, Eardley.

Booked: Church.

Goals: Earnshaw 26 pen.

Estonia: Kotenko, Sisov, Morozov, Barengrub, Kruglov (Eino Puri 78), Teniste, Sander Puri (Kams 65), Dupikov (Marmor 72), Gussev (Konsa 65), Vunk, Vassiljev.
Subs Not Used: Aksalu.

Booked: Barengrub, Sander Puri, Vassiljev.

Att: 4,071

Ref: Magnus Thorisson (Iceland).

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see also
Pick your Wales XI
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Toshack buoyed by Estonia victory
29 May 09 |  Internationals
Collison dismisses England talk
27 May 09 |  Internationals
Davies injury hits Fulham & Wales
01 May 09 |  Fulham
Bellamy may miss rest of season
21 Apr 09 |  Man City
Flynn's fledgling factory
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Allen admits international dreams
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King thrilled with goal tally
16 Feb 09 |  Football
Allen is Premier quality - Bodde
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Allen urged for Wales 'patience'
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Martinez praises teenage star Allen
10 Dec 08 |  Swansea
Martinez hails 'catalyst' Allen
10 Dec 08 |  Swansea
Swan Allen joins Wrexham on loan
07 Oct 08 |  Wrexham
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Country profile: Estonia
05 Aug 09 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales

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