Report from Wales’ win in Ireland as Wilson leaves O’Neill fighting for his job

Harry Wilson showed his star quality with a trademark free kick winner – to leave Ireland boss Martin O’Neill fighting for his job.

Not for the first time this season Wilson has pinged home a spectacular free kick in a huge stadium.

The Liverpool star, on loan at Derby, netted a classic cup strike at Old Trafford to level the game in September before they won a penalty shoot-out.

At the Aviva, the 21-year-old winning his sixth cap, gave Wales a 58th minute lead with another fine strike.

Lighting up a dour game, Harry Arter left a leg in late to foul Connor Roberts 25 yards out, and Wilson curled over the wall.

His cause was helped by Darren Randolph skipping the wrong way as it was hit.

O’Neill is now facing questions over his future, although it’s a struggle to think of who would do any better with a limited squad.

Five defeats in their last nine games over 12 months is miserable for Ireland, and just one win in June against the USA. They were jeered off the pitch.

This was Giggs’ investment in youth, just like England boss Gareth Southgate, paying an early dividend.

In the absence of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey Giggs threw in his youngsters with a front five with an average age under 21, and they had to learn quickly.

They have only won three competitive games without Bale since his debut and this was what Giggs’ called "Plan B".

It meant teenager Tyler Roberts up front, 21-year-olds David Brooks and Wilson creating and Matthew Smith, just 18, in midfield.

Even with skipper Ashley Williams, 34, leading the back four, the starting XI average aged was under 25, with seven plying their trade in the Championship.

After taking the lead they grew in confidence, and ran Ireland ragged in the latter stages finding space and threat.

Inexperience on show as early as the ninth when Smith, under pressure by a pass from James Chester, tried to turn on the edge of Wales’ box.

He was robbed by Cyrus Christie, who had time but took an early curling shot well saved by Wayne Hennesey.

But Wales settled, tried to play a passing game, and were clearly the better side.

It could have been more for Wales, with Chester shaving the post with a header.

Wilson’s youthful fitness shone through late in the game too, with one jinking run ino the box going close.

David Brooks’ ball carrying also stretched worn out Ireland and teed up Tyler Roberts for a shot.

Ireland had twice as many Premier League players as Wales starting but have not risen beyond a grind recently.

The half time entertaiment was a walking football demonstration, leaving the Aviva crowd to insert their own joke at the expense of the home side.

For Giggs and Wales, the future looks bright.

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