Wales 1-0 Macedonia

Simon Church scores the second half winner against Macedonia in Cardiff

Simon Church's second-half goal moved Wales above opponents Macedonia and Scotland in their World Cup qualifying group.

Church fired high into the net from eight yards after Aaron Ramsey and Craig Bellamy - playing his last home game for Wales - had combined well.

Captain Ramsey had a late penalty saved by Tome Pacovski and Goran Pandev went close for the visitors.

But Wales held on to earn a much-needed victory for manager Chris Coleman.

Coleman is still waiting to hear if he will be given a new contract at the end of this qualifying campaign - and he made seven changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Serbia in September.

Injuries had deprived Wales of the world's most expensive player - Real Madrid's Gareth Bale - usual skipper Ashley Williams and eight others.

It meant a first cap for Cardiff City's 18-year-old full-back Declan John, with Swansea left-back Neil Taylor switching to the right and Chris Gunter moving into the centre of defence alongside the recalled James Collins.

The West Ham defender was back in the side after settling his differences with Coleman, who had accused him of rejecting the chance to join the squad before the Serbia match - a claim denied by Collins.

After a cagey start, the first half opened up with the impressive John making inroads down the left and Hal Robson-Kanu causing problems on the right.

The big Reading forward had two penalty shouts turned down, though replays suggested he had a good case against Stefan Ristovski.

Church tested Pacovski with a powerful header, and then saw a left-footed shot deflected over the bar by Vance Sikov with the goalkeeper beaten.

However, Wales were lucky to reach half-time level after the home defence was caught out at a corner, allowing Nikolce Noveski to round Wayne Hennessy - but he blasted over.

The hosts went close early in the second half when David Vaughan's cross struck the underside of the bar - and John also hit the frame of the goal with a chip that confused Pacovski.

Wales took the lead in the 67th minute when Ramsey unpicked the defence with a superb ball for Bellamy, who squared the ball to Church to convert.

Ramsey continued to trouble the Macedonian defence and won a penalty when he was brought down by Nikolce Noveski, but the Arsenal midfielder's spot-kick was comfortably saved by Pacovski.

There were a few panics in the Welsh defence late on, with Hennessy saving well from the threatening Pandev.

Wales's last game is against group winners Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday.

Wales manager Chris Coleman told BBC Radio Wales: "It is one of my happier nights. When you get a lot of young players in the squad and then we get a result like that for us it was a show of intent.

"We wanted to show people that we have got a little bit of depth in the squad - more than what we thought by the looks of it - because I thought our lads were absolutely brilliant.

"We played some great football at times, made chances. We rode our luck a bit, they had a few chances but overall I thought we deserved to win it."

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Belgium98101425
2Croatia9522517
3Serbia9324311
4Wales9306-119
5Scotland9225-68
6Macedonia9216-57

B

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Italy96301021
2Bulgaria9342613
3Denmark9342-113
4Czech Rep9333312
5Armenia9405-112
6Malta9108-173

C

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Germany98102425
2Sweden9621720
3Austria9423714
4R. of Ireland9324-311
5Kazakhstan9126-135
6Faroe Islands9018-221

D

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Netherlands98102725
2Turkey9513916
3Romania9513516
4Hungary9423-114
5Estonia9216-127
6Andorra9009-280

E

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Switzerland96301021
2Iceland9513216
3Slovenia9504415
4Norway9324-311
5Albania9315-210
6Cyprus9117-114

F

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Russia97021521
2Portugal9531818
3Israel9342513
4Azerbaijan9153-48
5Northern Ireland9135-86
6Luxembourg9135-166

G

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Bos-Herze97112322
2Greece9711622
3Slovakia9333112
4Lithuania9324-111
5Latvia9216-107
6Liechtenstein9027-192

H

TeamPWDLGDPts
1England95402519
2Ukraine95311618
3Montenegro9432415
4Poland9342813
5Moldova9225-88
6San Marino9009-450

I

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Spain7520917
2France7421614
3Finland7232-19
4Georgia7124-55
5Belarus8116-94
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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