Jones ordered off as Wales slump again

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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL

TREVOR HAYLETT

reports from Cardiff Arms Park

Wales 0

Georgia 1

Vinnie Jones brought new shame to a Welsh European campaign that continues to gather ignominy when he was sent off last night for trampling on an opponent. The controversy that has been waiting to happen came just four games into his unexpected international career and means he will miss the remainder of the qualifying series.

Jones's dismissal shows just how low Wales have sunk on the scale of respectability. There was no arguing with his early departure nor with a fourth defeat which sends them to the foot of the group, beneath Albania. Mike Smith, the Wales manager, said it cost them the game and it might also have cost him his job, sooner rather than later.

His newly-adopted country has indulged Jones and his many excesses. Last night, pictured in typical combative pose, he adorned the cover of the match programme.

Inside he was acclaimed as the new "star" of Welsh football yet those who winced at his overtly macho approach on his debut in December knew there would be a hefty bill to pay in time. That moment came after 27 minutes here when Jones first appeared to push Mikhail Kavelashvili as they went for a midfield challenge. As the ball squirted away Georgia's No8 was left on the ground, whereupon Jones chose to bring his left boot down into his groin.

It was wholly unnecessary, not to say reckless and vicious, and the referee had no hesitation in reaching for his red card. Jones took his punishment without complaint while afterwards Smith elected to give him the benefit of the doubt, saying: "I don't think it was deliberate but he certainly trod on him."

It was the final, unsavoury act of the season for the Jones boy, who was twice sent off for Wimbledon, bit the nose of a newspaper reporter and was fined by the Football Association for an abusive attack on the Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan.

Without him Wales had even less chance of holding at bay a smooth and skilful Georgian team who had put five past them in Tbilisi but were content to settle for a single goal this time. It came 17 minutes from the end, a splendidly executed chip over Neville Southall by Georgy Kinkladze. Adrian Williams sent a header wide and Kit Symons skied an opportunity but these were shots in the dark in another disjointed, dispirited performance.

WALES (4-3-3): Southall (Everton); Phillips (Nottingham Forest), Symons (Portsmouth), Williams (Reading), Bowen (Norwich); Horne (Everton), Jones (Wimbledon), Cornforth (Swansea); Saunders (Aston Villa), Hughes (Manchester United), Rush (Liverpool). Substitutes: Pemberton (Derby County) for Saunders, 84; Hartson (Arsenal) for Hughes, 84.

GEORGIA (4-4-2): Devadze (Rostselmash Rostov); Beradze (Dynamo Tbilisi), Tskhadadze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Shelia (Spartak Vladikavkaz), Chikhradze (Temp Shepetovka); Gogichaishvili (Samtredia), Inalishvili (Tennis-Borussia Berlin), Kinkladze (Dynamo Tbilisi), Ketsbaia (AEK Athens); Kavelashvili (Spartak Vladikavkaz), Arveladze (Trabzonspor). Substitute: Tskitishvili (Dynamo Tbilisi) for Kavelashvili, 74.

Referee: I Koho (Finland).

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