San Marino 1 Wales 2: Earnshaw returns with a goal but Wales fail to convince

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The Independent Football

Wales manager John Toshack admitted he was praying for the final whistle as his team hung onto a 2-1 victory over San Marino. Toshack had seen his heavily-criticised side dominate the first half of last night's Euro 2008 qualifier with goals from Robert Earnshaw and Joe Ledley.

But the Group D minnows hit back with a second-half strike from Andy Selva, which gave the Welsh contingent a nerve-wracking final few minutes.

The Wales manager said: "I still feel we have a lot of work and talking to do if we are going to change some players' attitude. I still want to push younger players in. Some of these lads have had a rollicking, but these days you don't seem to be able to do that to young players. They think they know it all."

Toshack looked drained after a week of soul searching and recriminations in which he doubted his own position. He added: "I hope the next 10 days we are together will be better than this one was. OK, so this was a win, but that's all.

"We set about the first half in the right way, scored two and could have had more. But in the second period we had to make a change because David Vaughan was struggling with a groin injury and we didn't really get started after that.

"We gave away a needless free-kick for them to score. From then on, we were biting our nails and calling for the whistle. That was a pity because it should not have been that close. But it was difficult against a defence that did not come out. But to concede like that, with us not marking properly and generally being sloppy disappointed me."

* Kyle Lafferty scored a 72nd-minute equalizer to give Northern Ireland a 1-1 draw with Sweden and keep their slim hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 alive. Lafferty curled a right-foot drive from inside the box into the top left corner to cancel out Olof Mellberg's opener.

Wales (4-4-2): Price (Derby County) ; Bale (Tottenham), Eardley (Oldham Athletic), Gabbidon (West Ham), Nyatanga (Barnsley); Robinson (Toronto), Vaughan (Real Sociedad), Davies (Fulham), Ledley (Cardiff City); Earnshaw (Derby), Bellamy (West Ham). Substitutes used: Ricketts (Hull City, for Vaughan, 62).

San Marino (4-4-2): Simoncino; Valentini, Vannucci, Albani, Della Valle; Bonifazi, Simoncini, Mucciloi, Andreini; De Luigi, Selva. Substitutes used: Bonini (62, for Bonifazi), Bugli (76, for Vannucci), Vitaioli (80, for De Luigi).

Referee: A Zammit (Malta)

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