Pembridge brings overdue reward for defiant Wales endeavours

Ukraine 1 Wales 1
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Qualification may be well beyond them but Wales gave a heartening reminder of their battling qualities here yesterday by putting a dent in Ukraine's hope of reaching the World Cup finals next year.

A 30-yard strike from Mark Pembridge with 13 minutes remaining gave Mark Hughes's side a point their tenacity deserved.

Wales started with John Hartson largely on his own up front with Nathan Blake out wide and Simon Davies, making his full debut, floating just behind.

Blake immediately posed a danger, foraging down the right, cutting across two defenders and shooting wide. Ukraine, through, always offered a potent threat and on six minutes the Wales goalkeeper Paul Jones did well to turn aside an effort from Anatoliy Tymoschuk.

As uncompromising tackles were made with abandon, Wales were less than happy with the harsh treatment they were receiving from the officials. They were denied a clear penalty on 32 minutes, when Hartson was seemingly pulled back as he approached the far post to meet Davies's right-wing cross.

The play switched rapidly to the other end and Gennady Zubov hit the bar from outside the box.

Welsh tempers began to fray and after Jones was penalised for handling a back pass, Blake was booked in the row that followed and now misses his country's next match, against Armenia in September.

But Wales were still eager to attack and on 39 minutes Giggs curled a 20-yard free-kick onto the post. However, two minutes from the break Wales were punished for some slow marking as the ball was fed in for Zubov, who angled his shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Wales began the second half with renewed zeal and within a minute of the restart, Davies's fierce right-foot shot from just outside the penalty area drew an athletic diving save from Alexander Shovkovski.

The visitors, though, were indebted to Jones on 64 minutes when he produced a fine one-handed stop from Andrei Vorobei.

The value of that save was underlined nine minutes later when Pembridge's shot skidded on the turf and under keeper Shovkovski's body.

As the tackles continued to fly in, Hartson was booked after a dust-up with Vladyslav Vaschuk. That puts Hartson out of the next match.

UKRAINE (5-3-2): Shovkovski (Dynamo Kiev); Starostyak (Shakhtar Donetsk), Parfyonov (Spartak Moscow), Holovko, Vashchyuk; Dmitrulin (all Dynamo Kiev), Tymoshchyuk, Zubov, Vorobei (all Shakhtar Donetsk); Shevchenko (Milan), Rebrov (Tottenham).

WALES (4-4-1-1): P Jones (Southampton); Delaney (Aston Villa), Barnard (Barnsley), Melville (Fulham), Page (Watford); Pembridge (Everton), Davies (Tottenham), Speed (Newcastle), Giggs (Manchester United); Blake (Blackburn); Hartson (Coventry).

Referee: J Gomes (Por).