You wouldn’t have thought Wales’ top goalscorer Helen Ward would have missed a penalty she had just earned for her team at the Liberty Stadium in a vital World Cup qualifier.
With 42 international goals already to her credit, it seemed odds-on that she would calmly thread the ball past the giant Melisa Envera in the Bosnian goal.
But she went for power rather than placement, and the two strides forward taken by Envera enabled her to make a vital 56th minute save to keep her side in the game.
But cometh the hour, cometh the heroine. Step forward fellow striker Kayleigh Green a few minutes later to fire home the match-winning goal to complete the double over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Green’s 62nd minute strike from five yards out not only broke the deadlock, but was good enough to take Jayne Ludlow’s team back to the top of Group A in their bid to reach the World Cup finals in France next year.
If that was no less than Wales deserved for their second half pressure, there is still plenty for Ludlow to work on before Tuesday night’s clash with Russia at Newport Stadium. The victory keeps Wales’ chances of automatic qualification in their own hands with two games to go.
They are both at home, with similarly unbeaten England still to come to round off an impressive campaign to date on 31 August. Phil Neville’s England side head to Moscow to meet Russia on Friday, 8 June, a team they beat 6-0 at home.
“We are ecstatic – and it could have been 2-0 with the penalty. But we got the result and another three points,” said a delighted head coach, Ludlow.
“The girls are on a roll and we are still on the journey. The next game is Russia and that’s all we are going to focus on. International football is all about getting results and while there is plenty to work on, I’m pleased with what we got.”
For Green, who picked up the Player of the Match award, it was a question of lightning striking twice against the Bosnians as she added to her 59th minute goal against them in the away leg in November. It means Wales are not only unbeaten in their six games to date, but have also yet to concede a goal.
“It wasn’t easy, but we stuck together. The goal was just instinct from a second rebound,” admitted Green.
“The game against Russia on Tuesday is massive, but every one we play now is going to be like that.”
As pleased as she was to score the goal that won the game, Green was full of praise for another superb defensive effort. Sophie Ingle was a rock at the heart of the Welsh back line and Laura O’Sullivan was once again safe as houses in goal.
Wales have come a long, long way under Ludlow’s expert guidance. Just how much further they can go will become evident in their final two fixtures.
Their World Cup dream is still alive and kicking and they deserve a much bigger attendance on Tuesday night in Newport than the meagre 2,645 who turned up in Swansea. After all, Wales are two wins away from qualifying for their first World Cup since 1958!