Football: McCart in the cart

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The Independent Online
Wales B . . . .2

Scotland B. . .1

WALES began the John Toshack era with a deserved victory over Scotland in last night's friendly at Wrexham, even though their new technical director was already back in Spain.

His assistant, Mike Smith, was present as a radio summariser, and will doubtless have passed on the encouraging news. For while Toshack was not at the Racecourse, for much of the match the Scots were not at the races.

A match long on endeavour but short on inspiration belatedly came to life 15 minutes from time. Wales were comfortably defending a first-half lead provided by Iwan Roberts when Scotland drew level.

Chris McCart, the Motherwell central defender, headed in a corner taken by his club colleague, Rob McKinnon. But hardly had the Scottish celebrations subsided when the ubiquitous McCart turned goalkeeper to keep out a shot by Robert Edwards. Mark Pembridge, a model of industry in the Welsh midfield, scored from the spot.

This was not without irony. It was a penalty miss against Romania in November, by Paul Bodin, which not only cost Wales the chance of going to the World Cup finals, but probably contributed to Terry Yorath's downfall.

Whether the match told the respective camps much about the prospects for full international level must be doubtful. Iwan Roberts did his cause no harm by stabbing Ryan James's lobbed pass beyond Ally Maxwell in the 29th minute. With the exception of Pembridge, few others can have impressed the posse of Premiership managers.

WALES B (5-3-2): A Roberts (QPR); Ready (QPR), Perry (Cardiff), Neilson (Newcastle), McCarthy (QPR), Edwards (Bristol City); Meaker (QPR), Pembridge (Derby), Jones (Sheffield Wednesday); Watkin (Wrexham), I Roberts (Leicester City). Substitutes: Hughes (Luton) for Meaker, 56; Griffiths (Manchester City) for Watkin, 70.

SCOTLAND B (4-4-2): Maxwell (Rangers); Wright (Aberdeen), McCart (Motherwell), Millen (Kilmarnock), Robertson (Rangers); Telfer (Luton), McKinlay (Dundee Utd), Hutchison (Liverpool), McKinnon (Motherwell); Booth, Jess (both Aberdeen). Substitutes: McSkimming (Kilmarnock) for Hutchison, 56; Dailly (Dundee Utd) for Booth, 81; Gemmill (Nottingham Forest) for Telfer, h/t; Nelson (Partick Thistle, g/k) for Maxwell, h/t.

Referee: G Keatley (N Irl).