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Ward hat-trick boosts Wales

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Wales women 4 Kazakhstan women 0

A HAT-TRICK from second half substitute Helen Ward gave Wales a crucial victory in their Euro 2017 qualifying game at a capacity Conygar Bridge Meadow on Thursday (26 Nov).

Wales women welcomed their counterparts from Kazakhstan, knowing that only a win would do if they were to maintain hope of qualifying for the Euro 2017 finals in the Netherlands.

Ahead of kick off Wales were adrift at the bottom of the table, one point behind the visitors, having lost their opening two fixtures, away at Austria (3-0) and Norway (4-0). With their next game a difficult trip away to Israel, it really was a must win game at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.

Star striker, Manchester City’s Natasha Harding had stated as much before kick off saying, ‘”We can’t think of anything else. We can’t think to draw or lose.” Kazakhstan too had lost to both Norway and Austria, although their defeats came at home, whilst they had picked up a solitary point in a goalless draw at the Lod Municipal in Israel in October.

3 Pembrokeshire players were included in the matchday squad, with Angharad James (Bristol WFC) starting at right back, and goalkeeper Joanne Price (unattached) among the substitutes with Nadia Lawrence (also Bristol WFC).

The game didn’t get off to the greatest starts when the Welsh anthem was played twice, before it was announced that the Kazakhstan anthem was unavailable, leaving the visiting players to sing ‘acappella’, much to the dismay of manager Kaloyan Petkov.

As play got underway, Wales started the first half on the front foot, enjoying a great deal of possession in wide areas, and it was from out on the right hand side that the first opportunity was created, as a good cross from Helen Bleazard found the head of Nia Jones, who was ruled to be offside when she headed home from 8 yards.

Jones was proving a handful up front, and when she was slipped through on goal with just 15 minutes gone, the capacity crowd thought she had scored, but she struck her effort just wide of the far post.

The rest of the half passed without any chances of great note for Wales, although Fishlock will have been disappointed not to hit the target when the ball dropped to her 18 yards out.

On the other hand, Kazakhstan, despite being under pressure for the majority of the first half, will feel they should’ve gone in with the lead as a defence mix up led to a glorious chance for Saule Karibayeva, but with the goal empty, as goalkeeper Alice Evans was left stranded on the edge of the box, her chipped effort was headed off the line by the scrambling Natasha Harding.

With Wales having faded before half time, coach Jayne Ludlow will have been keen for her side to emerge for the second half with a renewed attacking vigour, and this they did, taking the lead within five minutes of the restart.

With the visitors failing to clear a corner, a bout of head tennis ensued, and after Rhiannon Roberts had nodded the ball across the goalmouth, Natasha Harding reacted quickest, nodding home from a yard.

This settled Wales down, and playing with confidence, the stage was set for substitute centre forward Helen Ward to shine as she collected a sensational second half hat trick.

Her first came just after the hour mark, as Fishlock played a beautiful ball with the outside of her right foot into her path, and she strode forward confidently to smash the ball past the on-rushing Oksana Zheleznyak in the Kazakhstan goal to spark wild scenes of celebration, and perhaps relief on the Welsh bench.

Two minutes later and the same two players combined to produce an identical result, as this time Ward raced clear through the left centre back’s channel, finishing smartly with a cool left footed pass under Zheleznyak, giving Wales a comfortable 3-0 lead.

As a dejected Kazakhstan faded, Wales kept possession with ease, creating several further opportunities to extend their lead. As it was, it was the in-form Ward who pounced again to give Wales a well-deserved 4-0 victory and complete her hat trick in the dying moments of the game. Good work from Bleazard and Fishlock had sent her through, and she stretched out her right leg to toe the ball into the far corner.

It was a fantastic victory for Ludlow’s side, which owed much to a magnificent second half salvo, which blew the visitors away. The side move on to play Israel in December with renewed confidence in their quest to reach Euro 2017.

Team:

12 Alice Evans, 3 Nia Jones, 4 Sophie Ingle ©, 5 Rhiannon Roberts, 7 Angharad James, 8 Melissa Fletcher, 9 Natasha Harding, 10 Jessica Fishlock, 11 Rachel Rowe, 13 Helen Bleazard, 16 Amelia Ritchie.

Substitutes:

1 Joanne Price, 2 Chloe Chivers, 17 Charlotte Estcourt, 18 Helen Ward, 19 Kayleigh Green, 20 Alys Hinchliffe, 23 Nadia Lawrence.

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Haverfordwest: Man detained under Mental Health Act on bypass bridge

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POLICE assisted a man who was sat on the road bridge above Freeman’s way in Haverfordwest on Sunday night (May 19).

He was taken to hospital, as he was believed to be suffering from mental health problems.

A spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police told The Herald: “We received a report concerning the welfare of a man, who was sitting on the bridge above Freeman’s Way, Haverfordwest, at around 10.40pm on Sunday.

“The man was detained under the mental health act a short time later and taken to hospital.“He was not injured. Freeman’s Way was closed for around 10 minutes.”

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Milford Haven: Police called to Charles Street incident

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MILFORD HAVEN police responded to an emergency call from Charles Street in Milford Haven this afternoon (May 20).

Several officers attended following reports of a man injured on the pavement.

Our reporter at the scene said that a male was conscious but nursing injuries to his head

There are over 15 officers at the scene.

A male has been arrested and taken into custody in a police van.

 

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Willy make the council fix the road?

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DRIVERS in and around the Maenclochog area are still recovering today after a hardened vandal spray-painted yellow penises along a stretch of road near Morvil.
The road, just off the B4313, was targeted with graffiti because of the number of potholes scattered along it’s length.
Locals have dubbed the cock-sure artist as ‘Wanksy’ and have discovered that whoever drew the penises also wrote ‘Follow the yellow d### road’.
Some of the penises have been drawn around more sizeable potholes, but simply pointing disapprovingly at the smaller ones.
If you want to report a pothole, the chosen method is still via the Pembrokeshire County Council website.
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