Hayley Fires Welsh World Cup Winner In Home Clash

Hayley Ladd struck gold for Wales women in their World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan at Cardiff City Stadium.

Ladd, who plays for Birmingham City, scored the winner from a free-kick after 83 minutes.

Wales, unbeaten and top of their group after three matches, dominated the match against a Kazakhstan team who were hanging on for long periods.

The visitors packed their defence and manager Jayne Ludlow’s side were restricted to largely long-range first-half efforts on what was a frustrating night until Ladd scored.

Goalkeeper Oksana Zheleznyak could not deal with Ladd’s free-kick, taken wide on the left, and the ball curled into the net to secure a 1-0 victory.

“Playing at Cardiff City Stadium, seeing our posters on the wall as we walked out is a great feeling,” said Ladd. “It was a difficult match, but it’s up to us to break them down. That was our responsibility.

“We have got to earn three points against Bosnia now and that will set us up well for next year.”

England women (pictured celebrating) play Wales twice in 2018. Pic: Getty Images.

Ludlow sent on all-time leading goalscorer Helen Ward with 30 minutes left in a bid to break the deadlock.

Angharad James hit a post from Ladd’s cross before Wales scored and secured all three points.

Substitute Helen Ward almost created a second goal when she slid a pass across the face of goal, but Chloe Chivers could not quite touch the ball home.

Wales were hoping for a record home attendance and attracted a healthy attendance of 3,165, but that was shy of the 3,581 who watched the game against England at the same venue three years ago.

Wales, top of group one in their bid to qualify for their first World Cup finals, now focus on their away match against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica on Tuesday afternoon (12.30pm). Bosnia lost 4-0 against England on Friday.

Wales have five fixtures left in the group and those after their trip to Bosnia are: England v Wales (Friday, April 6); Wales v Bosnia and Herzegovina (Tuesday, June 7), Wales v Russia (Tuesday, June 12), Wales v England (Friday, August 31).

Wales: O’Sullivan, Dykes (Ward 61), Ingle (capt), Roberts, Harding, James (Chivers 78), Green (Lawrence 45), Fishlock, Rowe, Ladd, Griffiths.

Referee: Simone Ghiandai

Attendance: 3,165

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