Iceland 0 Wales 1: Bad break for Fletcher but Evans seizes his chance

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The Independent Football

International debuts do not come much better than Ched Evans' for Wales – the Manchester City youngster grabbing the winner just three minutes after his arrival as a substitute.

Wales produced a disciplined display to extend their impressive run to six games without defeat and claimed the victory thanks to Rhyl-born Evans' first-half strike. He scored soon after replacing unlucky captain Carl Fletcher, who had been carried off with ankle ligament damage. There were few early chances but Iceland almost got Palmi Palmason clear on the right for a near-post effort and Wayne Hennessey produced a fine reflex save to thwart Palmason again.

Fletcher's first game as Wales captain was to end after just 39 minutes when he was brought down from behind by Palmason. He was carried off on a stretcher after suffering ankle ligament damage. Evans made the most of his opportunity, however, and a minute before the interval he scored the only goal with a neat backheel from Joe Ledley's cross.

Soon after the hour mark, Craig Bellamy came on for his 50th cap, playing on the right. The fit-again West Ham striker brought pace and invention and one cross almost produced a goal for another debutant, Sam Vokes, at the far post.

Palmason's stabbed effort after 79 minutes was Iceland's only chance of the second half. With a minute left, Andrew Crofts came on for Jason Koumas, who had assumed the captain's armband, and it was returned to Bellamy for the final moments.

Iceland: Sturluson; Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Thorarinsson, Gunnarsson, I Sigurdsson, Palmason, K Sigurdsson, Jonsson, Hallfredsson, Thordarson, Thorvaldsson.

Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Williams, Morgan, Nyatanga, Collison (Tudur-Jones, 61), Fletcher (C Evans, 41), Koumas (Crofts, 89), Edwards (Bellamy, 62), Ledley (Eardley, 49), Eastwood (Vokes, 49). Subs not used: Price, S Evans, Jacobson.

Referee: A McCourt (N Irl).

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