Neco Williams stood out as Wales secured a narrow 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.
Wales extended their unbeaten run in competitive matches to ten games after grinding out a narrow 1-0 win over friendly foes Republic Ireland to stay on top of their group in the UEFA Nations League.
It was a cagey affair, as expected, with both sides struggling to show any real momentum going forward while the defences also remained fairly sturdy. As a result, chances only came at a premium throughout the first half.
The game really opened up after the restart, though, with Wales, in particular turning up the screws. They created a lot of early chances and were even rewarded with a goal in the 66th minute through David Brooks. It opened the game up even more as it forced Ireland to push forward for an equaliser, thus leaving acres of space in behind.
Unfortunately, Wales struggled to find a second, with Brooks notably getting denied by Darren Randolph shortly after the goal. They also had an excellent chance cut off by Jeff Hendrick’s whose rash tackle on Tyler Roberts got him a straight red during the dying embers of the game.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at both sides following this fascinating contest in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.
Danny Ward: 6.5/10
Danny Ward was not forced to make any extraordinary saves but the Leicester City man was reliable in between the sticks, preserving his clean sheet with excellent positioning.
Chris Mepham: 7/10
Chris Mepham did well to provide the solidity at the back with his work ethic. His partnership with Joe Rodon was key in helping Wales keeping a clean sheet.
Joe Rodon: 7.5/10
Rodon was brilliant throughout the game, showcasing great knowledge and tackling prowess to keep the Irish attackers at bay. He notably made a number of interceptions, cutting off any supply towards Adam Idah.
Joe Rodon is a beast pic.twitter.com/S8WlHuLXob
— Koshér Mourinho (@AllezYids) November 15, 2020
Ben Davies: 7/10
Ben Davies was given a pendulating role in the backline as he was allowed to move forward during attacking phases. A decent game for the Tottenham defender.
Neco Williams: 8/10
Neco Williams was a key outlet for Wales going forward. The Liverpool youngster was bright all game, showcasing quick feet and drifting past players at ease. His link-up play was also brilliant, notably playing a key role in the build-up to the goal.
Ethan Ampadu: 7/10
Ethan Ampadu was a vital cog in Wales’ second line of press. He offered protection in midfield with his aggression and willingness to win back possession for his side.
Joe Morrell: 6.5/10
Joe Morrell acted as the more creative midfielder in the double-pivot. His ball progression from midfield was excellent as he helped ease his side’s transition game. He was lucky to get away with just a yellow after an incident with Molumby.
Rhys Norrington-Davies: 6/10
Norrington-Davies was not as involved in the game as much as Williams on the opposite flank, but the full-back did offer adequate support going forward.
Gareth Bale: 7.5/10
It was an eventful game for Gareth Bale considering how things have panned out for him over the past couple of years. His free-kick from long range was absolutely astonishing. The Welshman did also win an important header against his Tottenham teammate Matt Doherty to assist Brooks for the winner.
🏴 Gareth Bale vs Ireland :
Minutes played : 90
Assists : 1
Big chances created : 1
Hit woodwork :1
Dribble attempts (succ.) : 1 (1)
Touches : 39
Acc. passes : 22/29 (76%)
Key passes : 1
Long balls : 8 (6)
Ground duels : 4 (3)
Aerial duels : 1 (1)
MAN OF THE MATCH 👏🏼
— . (@LosBlancoStan) November 15, 2020
David Brooks: 7/10
Brooks did not have the best of games in the first half but relished the opportunity when the game opened up in the second half. His pace became potent on the counter as the Bournemouth forward eventually scored the winner.
Daniel James: 7/10
A bright performance from the Manchester United star, who looked bright, especially on the counter. Linked up well with the likes of Bale and Brooks while also creating a few excellent chances.
Kiefer Moore: 7/10
Offered more work-ethic going forward and subsequently kept the Irish defenders occupied with his clever movements.
Tyler Roberts: N/A
Latched on to Jack Byrne’s poor pass to lead a promising counterattack, but was illegally stopped in his tracks by Hendrick. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, though.
Republic of Ireland
Darren Randolph: 7.5/10
Darren Randolph made two excellent saves to keep his side in the game, but his efforts weren’t reciprocated by his defensive teammates.
Says a lot about about this current Irish side that despite conceding goals Darren Randolph is consistently one of our best performers. Kenny simply doesn’t have the players to play how he wants. He’s the right man for the job but by some miracle we need to start winning.🙏🇮🇪⚽️
— ConorYNWA1 🇮🇪 (@conorYNWA1) November 15, 2020
Matt Doherty: 5/10
It was a disappointing game for Doherty, who did not provide too much going forward and was also bested by Bale for a header inside his penalty area.
Shane Duffy: 6.5/10
Shane Duffy’s work was made easier due to the presence of Brooks, who isn’t particularly competent in physical and aerial duels. Deserves credit for not letting Wales score more goals.
Kevin Long: 6/10
Kevin Long was culpable for awarding an excellent opportunity for Brooks to score his second, just after the opener. It was not a comfortable evening for the defender by any means.
Dara O’Shea: 6.5/10
Dara O’Shea did well for the most part in the game, preventing James, who was pretty active throughout the game, from causing a great deal of danger.
Jayson Molumby: 6.5/10
Had an active game in the middle of the park and was involved in an incident with Morrell, who was lucky to get away with just a yellow card.
Joe Morrell has a kick out at Jayson Molumby and only gets a yellow.
A lucky escape for the Wales midfielder?
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 15, 2020
Robbie Brady: 6.5/10
Robbie Brady emerged as the creator-in-chief for an Irish side that lacked the creative essence in the final third. As a result, Brady’s crosses were priceless, while the attacker also linked up well with his teammates.
Jeff Hendrick: 4/10
It was yet another poor performance from Hendrick in Ireland colours. The Newcastle United midfielder was sloppy all game, failing to provide any substance in the middle third. He did, however, have no option but to foul Roberts for the late red card.
Daryl Horgan: 5/10
An underwhelming display from Daryl Horgan, who should have been much more industrious in possession. He was effectively subbed off around the hour mark.
Adam Idah: 6/10
A frustrating game for Adam Idah, who was often stopped in his tracks by the likes of Rodon and Mepham. Did, however, show a lot of work rate and dropped deep whenever it was necessary.
James McClean: 6/10
James McClean certainly was more involved in the game than Horgan on the opposite flank. Unfortunately, the winger failed to provide any end product to his game.
Jason Knight: 6/10
Offered more industry after coming on for Horgan around the hour mark.
James Collins: 6.5/10
Collins did not lack any intent after on for Idah during the final phase of the game. Had two attempts on goal, though both of them were fairly tame.
Conor Hourihane: 6/10
Did not make a huge impact after replacing Molumby in the 75th minute.
Jack Byrne: N/A
Provided a spark in the final third after coming on as a late substitute for Brady, but also culpable for a sloppy pass to led to Hendrick’s red card. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Callum O’Dowda: N/A
A late replacement for O’Shea. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.