MATCHDAY 2 of the South Wales Under-16 development tournament produced two draws with Wales finishing 1-1 against the Faroe Islands, whilst Iceland and Northern Ireland played out a goalless draw.
At Briton Ferry Llansawel’s Old Road ground, George Thomas headed Wales back on level terms shortly after the Faroese had taken a second-half lead.
Goals proved to be a far scarcer commodity at the GenQuip stadium, Port Talbot as Iceland and Northern Ireland cancelled themselves out.
Watched on by a number of scouts from the Premier League and Championship – Liverpool, Leicester City and Blackburn among the clubs represented – Northern Ireland were unable to break down Iceland despite being dominant in possession.
The Northern Irish persevered with their 4-1-4-1 throughout, patiently looking to play out from their two centre-backs, with the composed Ben Kennedy screening the defence and a four-man midfield each taking turn to support lone striker Adam Sally.
Iceland, who sat deep playing a 4-2-3-1, did well to break up play but their workload was made more demanding by poor ball retention, allowing Northern Ireland to regroup and again try to work the ball through from back to front.
Despite this, chances remained at a premium with Tottenham midfielder Chris Paul’s rising effort over the frame of the goal the best of a limited number of first-half chances.
Much of Iceland’s resilience was down to dominant defender Anton Freyr Hauksson, who stood his ground well making a several interceptions, whilst the composure of goalkeeper Hordur Fannar Bjorgvinsson installed confidence in his defence.
Chances in the second period proved to at even more of a premium than in the first, with Jonathon Smith of Linfield shooting wide and substitute Jason Greenaway heading, unchallenged, straight into the arms of the Icelandic keeper.
Although limited in their opportunities in front of goal, Iceland did threaten late in the game as Kristofer Pall Vioarsson worked the ball down the left before sending a low right-footed strike wide across goal, past the outstretched Northern Ireland keeper Brett Long.
Iceland, who remain unbeaten having defeated the Faroe Islands in their opening game, will certainlybe more pleased with the result than Northern Ireland, who are yet to score.
In Sunday morning’s final round of games, Wales face Iceland at Port Talbot and Northern Ireland play the Faroe Islands in Llanelli. Both games kick-off at 11am with free admission.