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Bale-less Wales leave it late to see off Warriors; T&T concede injury time decider

The Soca Warriors came within seconds of a memorable result in Wales this evening, only to be undone by a stoppage time winner from 19 year old attacker Ben Woodburn as they fell 1-0 in Wrexham.

Wales are ranked 19th in the world by FIFA—some 74 places higher than Trinidad and Tobago—and coach Ryan Giggs used today’s friendly international to give a run out to his fringe players, as 12 players received their debuts for ‘The Dragons’ with Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale and Arsenal, Bournemouth and Stoke City playmakers Aaron Ramsey, David Brooks and Joe Allen not even named among the substitutes.

Photo: Wales attacker Ben Woodburn scored the game winner against Trinidad and Tobago.

But without their marquee players, Wales rarely looked capable of dismantling the Trinidad and Tobago backline and Central FC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip did not have a desperate save to make until he picked the ball from the back of his net.

It would be a stretch to say that the teams were even in any way but the scoreline, though. After the first 45 minutes, the hosts enjoyed 62 percent ball possession with 13 shots to just two from the twin island republic. But the Welsh play generally occurred in front of the Warriors’ backline while coach Dennis Lawrence’s team held their shape admirably and competed throughout.

And, as the game entered second half stoppage time, Trinidad and Tobago were the ones who had come closest to scoring. In the 59th minute, Warriors captain Khaleem Hyland released Levi Garcia, who had moved from the flank to the centre forward position, and the nippy 21 year old rounded the opposing goalkeeper before teeing up right back Aubrey David—an acknowledgement that Garcia was forced too wide to score himself.

KFC Munch Pack

David shot first time with his left foot; but Wales right wing back Chris Gunter backed up his custodian with a controlled goal line clearance.

Hyland, incidentally, could be credited with the move of the match too, as he tied Will Vaulks, George Thomas and Lee Evans in knots near the centre circle to ‘oohs’ of admiration from the partisan crowd.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (left) rolls the ball through the legs of United States captain Michael Bradley during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

But Hyland would not want to review his role in the game’s decisive moment, as he failed to track Woodburn who took full advantage with a finish from point blank range off a right side Vaulks cross in stoppage time.

It was Woodburn’s second international goal and created a neat bit of symmetry for the Liverpool youngster who is on loan at Sheffield United and is already Wales’ second youngest goal scorer.

And who is Wales’ youngest ever international goal scorer? Bale still holds that mark with a goal against Trinidad and Tobago, as a 17 year old in 2006.

Woodburn’s item would have felt like a gut punch for Lawrence. Arguably, the lanky rookie coach—who was headhunted for a vacant coaching job at Wrexham AFC, just months ago—did not do his CV any harm, with a solid showing on enemy soil despite travelling without his best attacking players, Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones and Ataulla Guerra, and relying on a collection of mostly lower league overseas-based players.

With the Pro League inactive at present, Lawrence did not use a single local-based outfield player in Wrexham today.


Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-2-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 2.Aubrey David, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 5.Daneil Cyrus, 18.Triston Hodge; 19.Kevan George, 23.Leston Paul (15.Neveal Hackshaw 80), 8.Khaleem Hyland (captain); 13.Nathan Lewis, 10.Levi Garcia (11.Lester Peltier 60); 9.Willis Plaza (7.Cordell Cato 46).

Unused substitutes: 21.Nicklas Frenderup (GK), 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 6.Carlyle Mitchell, 12.Ross Russell Jr, 14.Akeem Humphrey, 16.Alvin Jones, 17.Mekeil Williams, 20.Duane Muckette.

Coach: Dennis Lawrence.

Wales (3-4-3): 1.Danny Ward (GK) (21.Adam Davies [GK]); 6.Ashley Williams (captain) (15.James Lawrence 61), 4.Paul Dummett (13.Declan John 61), 14.Ryan Hedges; 2.Chris Gunter, 16.Lee Evans, 7.Will Vaulks, 3.Neil Taylor; 10.Ben Woodburn, 9.Tyler Roberts (17.Rabbi Matondo 71), 11.George Thomas.

Unused substitutes: 8.Matthew Smith, 18.Connor Roberts, 19.Harry Wilson.

Coach: Ryan Giggs.

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  1. Losing 0-1 to Wales isn’t that bad, the bad part is how Hyland allowed the guy to be goal side in the penalty area. It’s a shame Molino, Joevin Jones and Guerra weren’t selected/ unavailable. I wonder if Keron Cummings would ever be fit again.

  2. An dem does call themself big players

  3. I said it earlier when I heard the Captain and senior player comment that that are thinking of winning the game and giving Wales a fight and I would have thought the comment would have been putting down a structure as part of a strategic plan for the upcoming tournaments.
    Setting up roles and responsibilities and seeing how players implemented . Also trying new players.
    An organised tactical plan for each third of the field attacking ,defending and transition .

  4. Gary Hector if was a window to jump tru fuh a young gyal we wudna waste it so!!!

  5. My two cents:
    (1) Our Team did not defend well,we kept our defensive shape but lack the 1v1 to win the ball‍♂️,
    (2)The Stats on free kicks,Corners,foul committed ,shots on target and possession would sum up our overall performance.
    (3) I don’t think our game plan was to be offensive but to sit deep and probably break on the counter,it however is baring fruit coming off two 1-0 loss.
    (4)I support our players but some things are lacking‍♂️
    (5)Normally I would not judge a game by the highlights but when everything is in Wales favor i have to believe we played mainly in our defensive and middle 1/3 with few attacks in the final 1/3 although it seemed we played with 3 strikers‍♂️

    • Okay. Thanks for the breakdown Kurt.

    • Lasana Liburd is it possible to post the Stats of this game?

    • Our sweet country needs a real professional coach,a real professional goal keeper, real professional goal scorers and last but not least real professional administrators who is about our players, the beautiful game and our sweet country in order to ever qualify for another World Cup Them really good yes

    • Kurtwyn Baird I saw the first half stats which I mentioned. But there wasn’t stats at the end of the match. So not sure. Maybe Nigel Myers can help.

    • Thank you Gentlemen ??‍♂️

    • Now look at the tackles,interceptions and aerial duels as a top level Coach if you cannot help the players to win these battles you don’t stand a chance in modern day football:
      I hope this advice help our future players

    • Kurtwyn Baird Your advice is also for our bootleg Coaches to start developing and teaching our youth players the right way in order to play the beautiful game especially for the international level, and just to add some of our players needs to play their position that they are strongest at, for example the Captain Khaleem Shaquille Hyland-bruce needs to play the position that he plays for his professional team abroad, he isn’t a midfield general/playmaker/goal scorer, there is a serious need for creative/midfielders/prolific goal scorers to be developed once again like in the past and we can mention many names from the past which is lacking and not only on our national youth and senior teams but even in the schools . Sometime ago when I was interviewed by George Scoreboard Mathison on his TV program he asked me for my final commemt, and I said that for a million years I cannot understand what kind of drills that our coaches are giving our players in order for them to start shooting and scoring plenty goals and that area needs to be seriously addressed and let the TRUTH be told even in our bootleg professional league, when the top goal scorer can only score 12 or 15 goals for the past 2 or 3 seasons something is definitely wrong, well except for my prolific goal scorer Marcus Joseph (W-Connection) who scored over 25 goals the last season and he wasn’t even on the field of play in the Wales game or was he even selected ?…Them really good yes

  6. I am reading a lot about this being a good performane but by what measure that we “only” lost 1-0? The players still do not play like a team, I rarely saw a connection between defense, midfield and attack; we did not tranisition in any organized manner. Against, what I would consider a 3rd string Wales team our wingbacks had no wings. Can one of the coaches on the forum explain to me our defensive philosophy, are we zonal marking? One too many occassions to count, I observe 7,8 or 9 of our players withn 20 yards from our goal and no one making a tackle. On multiple occasions a Wales player making a late run into the box and we have 3 players and no one taking responsibility. If Bale or Ramsey were on the field we would have certainly seen more clinical finishing. I personally vex we lose 1-0 to Wales 3rd team but players and some fans seem proud. What is the standard?

    • Want to take this one about tactics Terence William Fenwick?
      Personally I felt that we did not allow them to get behind us too much or create clear scoring opportunities. And although Wales tried to switch the point of attack regularly, they were never quite able to find the oceans of space they were looking for.
      Also we were not thrown by the pace of the match.
      So I took those as the positives when I said we were fairly solid.
      Of course we were not able to do much on the ball. Although ironically we had the best scoring opportunity.

    • Lasana Liburd This is essentially our strongest team or close to and our goal it seemed was to not get embarrassed by a third strength Wales team. I thought we were poor in terms of tactics….. ambition and execution……. all we ever seem to have is excuses for why we’re crap but ultimately our product delivered on the field was crap. We lost to a Wales third strength team in the 92 min… We got nothing from the game…..

    • Lasana Liburd yes I agree, we defended deep in the field to reduce space behind us and limited Wales possession to areas that didn’t hurt.

      My concerns however were we didn’t change at all in 90+ minutes, there wasn’t a clear plan how to win, we were well drilled defensively but 90 mins is a long time to shut up shop and without clear intent to attack little mistakes will break your back unfortunately

    • Lasana Liburd How can Wales get behind when we on the touch line???

    • I was surprised to see Plaza and Lewis spend so much time defending so deep (by our corner flags). I wonder if they were just following instructions?

    • 101 Defending aka Parking d Bus written by Jose Mourinho…u all shud get urselves a copy

  7. no Molino no Kelvin Jones no Jervin Jones

  8. it was a second string tnt team too.

  9. Post-match comments from Khaleem Hyland.

  10. I didn’t see the game but I am trying to get an imagination through the comments lawd fadder‍♂️

  11. results of friendlies matter less than given a team much needed international exposure seeing new players and ensuring match fitness.

  12. The Welsh team was vastly inexperienced. Except for Chris Gunter (93), Ashley Williams (83), and Neil Taylor (41), no other player had more than nine caps. Most had between one and three. Their two goalkeepers had a combined five caps. Our team actually had a lot more international experience than them. Lasana, are you sure that 12 players received their debuts for ‘The Dragons’? I only counted two (Will Vaulks and Adam Davies).

  13. The time to act is now, this administration is horrendous, Disastrous JW will capsize and bankrupt the beautiful game, depriving the youths of this great Nation!

  14. Damian Hilaire Stats youth pro league
    U13 2/5 games
    U15 2/5 games
    U 17 3/5 games
    Club licensing

  15. “… frankly, there weren’t many to be found in this performance against a group of Trinidad & Tobago players who were made to look far better than they are. In truth this was a dreadful game, which was a shame for the locals who had come to savour the national team’s first match at the Racecourse Ground since 2008.”


  16. AGAIN..we wont play a second game in this FIFA window..
    and we only used two subs ( and one more in 90th min)..
    we were allowed six subs…so really only 13 men out of 22 got any playing time.
    to make matters worse..im sure they break up the team tomorrow..so not even four extra training days and team bonding…and the next International window is competitive tournaments…Nations league in June and Gold Cup in July.
    WCQ is next year…we cant keep wasting International windows.

  17. Great Work Warriors despite the lack of proper support. ⚽️ ⚽️Hope you are enjoying the trip and are being treated with respect. ✊

  18. Late lapse in concentration our downfall. Otherwise an encouraging display.

  19. Good defensive organization, one moment when we fell asleep we were punished.

    The most disappointing thing about the night is we don’t have another game in a window which once again, we’ve wasted.

    It didn’t have to be another international, could have been a reserve club team! Once again we’ve come from another window wondering what the guys on the bench could offer?

    Yet again the foreign born keeper is not used. I think we all know what Marvin can offer in goal. That’s my only negative on Dennis tonight.

    Onto the games in June and the Gold Cup but I hope the TTFA can fill the windows in September, October and November with 6 competitive games.

    Here’s a free piece of advice. Play back to back home games in one of the windows please.
    You can venture outside for two in September and two in November. Give us something to cheer about in October. I think the local fans would love to see the national team play 2 games.