Hartson and Bellamy pairing set to trouble England

Latvia 0 - Wales 2
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Latvia were shot down by the double act that the Wales coach, Mark Hughes, believes can frighten England in their World Cup qualifier in October.

Latvia were shot down by the double act that the Wales coach, Mark Hughes, believes can frighten England in their World Cup qualifier in October.

John Hartson and Craig Bellamy scored in the last 10 minutes here last night to give Wales an impressive victory over a side that drew with Germany at Euro 2004. Wales rode their luck - twice Latvia hit the woodwork - but defended brilliantly against a very quick and forceful side before claiming the victory late on.

Hartson said of his partnership with Bellamy: "Craig worked hard and deserved his goal. One up front is hard work and we had some great results playing with it.

"But with Craig's pace and the width of the lads, I'm sure we'll create problems for teams. We're unbeaten in five games, which is good form."

Hartson has not played for Wales since the November play-off disaster against Russia, and has played alongside Bellamy in just five of the last 15 matches.

But their finishing will give Wales confidence as they begin their World Cup campaign in Azerbaijan next month.

Maris Verpakovskis' speed up front caused more than a few worries for Wales early on. They replaced Paul Jones with Mark Crossley at the break and sent on Andy Johnson in place of Robbie Savage. They were tiring but Bellamy was still a danger. In the 81st minute, Gareth Roberts was fouled and Jason Koumas's free-kick was headed into the bottom corner by Hartson. A minute from time the win was sealed when Bellamy was put through by Roberts, and he slid a shot into the far corner.

Latvia (4-4-2): Kolinko; Stepanovs, Lobanovs, Zemlinskis, Laizans; Blagonadezdins (Korablovs, 74), Isakovs, Miholaps (Semjonovs, 62), Verpakovskis; Rubins, Prohorenkovs (Rimkus, 66).

Wales (4-4-2): Jones (Wolves); Delaney (Aston Villa), Thatcher (Manchester City), Melville (West Ham), Page (Cardiff City); Pembridge (Fulham), Savage (Birmingham City), Speed (Bolton), Koumas (West Brom); Bellamy (Newcastle United), Hartson (Celtic). Substitutes: Crossley (Fulham) for Jones, 46; Collins (Cardiff City) for Melville, 24; Roberts (Tranmere) for Pembridge, 69; Johnson (West Brom) for Savage, 46; Robinson (Sunderland) for Koumas, 90; Taylor (Nottingham Forest) for Hartson, 86.

Referee: V Ivanov (Russia).

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