Welsh revival boosted by Vokes

Wales 4 Norway 1
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The Independent Football

Wales' impressive revival under Gary Speed continued yesterday with the Wolves striker Sam Vokes rounding off a comprehensive victory with two goals inside the last three minutes. It was Wales' third successive victory, the first time they had enjoyed such a sequence of success since 2008. Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a fierce volley after 11 minutes and Craig Bellamy doubled the lead five minutes later with a superb curling effort from the edge of the box. Erik Huseklepp's second-half tap-in gave Norway hope but Vokes, who had come on as a late substitute made the game safe.

Wales made a confident start with their captain, Aaron Ramsey, heading over from a Bellamy free-kick and Andrew Crofts dragging wide from the edge of the box. Bale cleverly chested down a long Adam Matthews' pass to Steve Morison, with the Norwich striker's instant return allowing Bale to smash a volley beyond Norway goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein for his third goal in consecutive internationals.

The visitors barely had possession and were soon 2-0 down thanks to a stunning strike from Bellamy. The Liverpool striker used Matthews' overlapping run down the left as a decoy to cut inside and curl home his first international goal in 15 months from the edge of the area.

An unthreatening Norway were gifted a way back in the 61st minute. Huseklepp miscontrolled but Wayne Hennessey failed to gather the loose ball and it rebounded off Crofts into a vacant six-yard box, leaving a simple finish.

Wales's win was secured when Bale and Bellamy combined brilliantly for the Spurs' winger to set up Vokes to slide home in the 88th minute. Vokes rounded off the scoring by firing low into the bottom left hand corner a minute later.

Wales (4-4-2): Hennessey; Gunter, Matthews, Williams; Blake, Allen (Robson-Kanu, 77), Crofts, Ramsey (King, 90), Bale; Bellamy (Edwards, 90), Morison (Vokes, 70)

Norway (4-4-2): Jarstein (Bugge Pettersen, h-t); Ruud, Waehler (Demidov, h-t), Hangeland, Riise;Pedersen, Tettey, Grindheim (Brenne, 55) Jenssen (Parr, 85); Abdellaoui (Braaten, 77), Huseklepp.

Referee Gerhard Grobelnik (Austria).

Man of the match Bale (Wales).

Match rating 8/10.