Jayne Ludlow insisted Wales are back in the old routine after Rachel Rowe’s goal rekindled hopes of qualification for the Women’s Euro 2021 finals.
A vital 1-0 win away in Belarus has put Wales in second place in Group C, just two points behind leaders Norway, who thrashed the Faroe Island 13-0 and have now scored an incredible 26 goals in just three qualification matches.
There was no such goal feast for Wales in Borisov, but single goal victories are the currency Wales deal in – there were four of them in their last campaign – and Ludlow could not have been more pleased with a crucial return to her team’s old strengths of tight defending and alertness when a chance comes their way.
Rachel Rowe was certainly on her toes when she drilled a left foot shot, low into the far corner in the 82nd minute – capping an excellent return for the Reading midfielder who was playing her first international after a year away with a knee injury.
“I’m really pleased for Rachel, it was a great performance from her,” said Ludlow, whose team had stumbled to a 2-2 home draw against Northern Ireland in their last match.
“The whole squad stepped up to the mark today and it was great to get the clean sheet, too.
“It’s back to usual service for us – winning 1-0.
“We’ve come away from home and defended really well. We’ve restricted them to very few chances and in the end we got our goal.
“We had lots of chances and maybe should have taken one or two more. But three points is three points.
“It’s a tough place to come to. We had chances and we got the three points, so I’m happy.”
The result keeps Wales second in Group C, but, crucially, it opens up a four-point gap over third-placed Belarus.
The home side created more chances, but skipper Anastasiya Shcherbachenia sent the best one over the crossbar.
But Wales deserved all three points for their perseverance, particularly since captain Natasha Harding had a strong first-half penalty appeal turned down and hit the woodwork with a long-range shot.