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."

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 11th October 2013

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium98101731425
2Croatia9522127517
3Serbia93241310311
4Wales9306819-119
5Scotland9225612-68
6Macedonia9216611-57

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy96301771021
2Bulgaria9342148613
3Denmark93421112-113
4Czech Rep9333129312
5Armenia94051011-112
6Malta9108522-173

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany98103172425
2Sweden9621169720
3Austria94231710714
4R. of Ireland93241316-311
5Kazakhstan9126518-135
6Faroe Islands9018426-221

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands98103252725
2Turkey9513167916
3Romania95131712516
4Hungary94231920-114
5Estonia9216618-127
6Andorra9009028-280

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland96301661021
2Iceland95131614216
3Slovenia95041410415
4Norway9324912-311
5Albania9315911-210
6Cyprus9117415-114

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia97021941521
2Portugal9531179818
3Israel93421813513
4Azerbaijan9153610-48
5Northern Ireland9135816-86
6Luxembourg9135723-166

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bos-Herze97112962322
2Greece9711104622
3Slovakia933398112
4Lithuania9324910-111
5Latvia9216818-107
6Liechtenstein9027423-192

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England95402942519
2Ukraine95312041618
3Montenegro94321612415
4Poland93421810813
5Moldova9225715-88
6San Marino9009146-450

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain7520123917
2France7421126614
3Finland723256-19
4Georgia712438-55
5Belarus8116716-94
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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