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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Latvia U21 0-0 Wales U21
Wales under-21 captain David Pipe
David Pipe captained an inexperienced Wales side
A new-look Wales side took credit from a professional display in Riga as new manager Glyn Hodges opened with a draw.

Wales, with 12 new caps, wasted a glorious chance to take the lead early in the second half when Cardiff's Nicky Fish headed wide from 10 yards.

Arsenal's Adam Birchall also came close when his 25-yard drive was turned over the bar by goalkeeper Antons Trifonovs.

On the hour, Wales keeper Lewis Price produced a fine reflex save to block a near post header from Intars Kirhners.

Hodges would have been impressed by Danny Parslow - one of four new Cardiff caps - at the back, Price and the midfield industry of Lee Fowler and Fish.

Wales had to hang on in the end as the Latvians found a late surge, but Wales deserved their draw and will head off to Azerbaijan next month in confident mood.

Said Hodges: "Considering how little time we have had to prepare for this, I was well pleased with the display.

"They are very young, but in time I believe we can mould together a decent side for the future, they certainly lacked nothing in commitment and effort."

They were guilty of giving the ball away too easily in the first half at the Daugavava stadium, but there was plenty of endeavour and organisation - a quality notable in its absence over past seasons.

I cannot fault anyone and if they keep listening and learning then we have some good players here for the future
Wales U21 manager Glyn Hodges
Wales created some openings near the break when Stuart Fleetwood took a pass from Birchall and forced his way into the box, only for Trifonovs to take the ball from his toes.

Captain David Pipe - the only player in the squad with a full international cap - then lashed a 20-yard shot inches over in injury time.

Wales brought on Manchester United youngster Ramon Caliste at the break for his first cap in place of Birchall, and he instantly brought neat control and running power to the game.

Pipe found himself booked for a foul and Fowler for dissent before two more new caps arrived on 59 minutes when Wrexham's Simon Spender and Cardiff's Byron Anthony took over from Richard Duffy and Craig Morgan.

Arron Davies from Southampton, and Mark Jones of Wrexham, came on for Fish and Fleetwood while 'keeper Lee Worgan replaced Price on 70 minutes.

The Wales substitutes continued with Les Davies from Welsh Premier side Bangor replacing Pipe, and Peter Gilbert was booked late on for a foul.

The change in personnel inevitably disrupted the flow of the game, but Wales kept their shape well to secure the draw.

"We managed to get some control and had the best chances, certainly at the end of the first half," added Hodges.

"I cannot fault anyone and if they keep listening and learning then we have some good players here for the future."


Latvia U21: Trifonovs, Roslovs, Ivanovs, Klava, Ivasko, Visnakovs, Zuaravlovs, Sokolovs, Blanks, Kirhners, Starkovs.
Subs: Lukovics, Cikinovs, Valuskins, Volkovs, Ascuks, Semjonovs, Sevlakovs.

Wales U21: Lewis Price (Ipswich Town), Richard Duffy (Portsmouth), Peter Gilbert (Plymouth Argyle), Lee Fowler (Huddersfield Town), Craig Morgan (Wrexham), Daniel Parslow (Cardiff City), Stuart Fleetwood (Cardiff City), Nicky Fish (Cardiff City), Dylan Hughes (Kaiserslauten), Adam Birchall (Arsenal), David Pipe (Notts County, capt).
Subs: Simon Spender (Wrexham), Mark Jones (Wrexham), Les Davies (Bangor City), Ramon Caliste (Manchester United), Arron Davies (Southampton), Byron Anthony (Cardiff City), Lee Worgan (Rushden & Diamonds).






SEE ALSO
New faces for Wales U21s
03 Aug 04  |  Welsh
Hughes ponders Wales option
09 Aug 04  |  Welsh


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