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International: Robert Earnshaw wastes Welsh chance to embarrass England

England 1Wales 0

DESPITE proclaiming their desire to give England a bloody nose in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, Gary Speed’s Wales failed to grasp a prime opportunity to do so at Wembley.

England were poor and Wales, who dominated the second half, were left to rue what might have been.

Stewart Downing laid on the winner for Ashley Young in the 35th minute, beating Wayne Hennessey – the Wolves keeper once of Connah’s Quay – with a low shot as the ball came through a crowd.

But the worst moment for Wales came courtesy of Robbie Earnshaw.

Aaron Ramsey’s free-kick to the far post was knocked back across the face of goal by Darcy Blake, but substitute Earnshaw somehow contrived to drive the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Both Blake and, on the sidelines, Speed, held their heads in their hands because such gilt-edged chances don’t come along too often, but Wales hid their disappointment well and kept hunting for an equaliser.

Mancot-born Speed has now lost six of his seven games in charge but the performance on Wednesday – coupled with Saturday’s 2-0 win over Montenegro – will have given him heart.

“I'm very, very proud of the players," said the former Hawarden High student after the England match.