Wales beat Ghana 4-0 in third pool match of Commonwealth Games.
It was a well-deserved win for Wales as they dominated possession and created numerous chances, but Ghana made them wait for their goals, with three of the four coming in the last 10 minutes.
Wales showed they meant business from the start, winning a penalty corner in the first two minutes. Ghana’s defence dug in deep as they defended the first of 12 penalty corners, saving the shot from Sophie Robinson.
As Wales continued to press and stay patient, they created further chances with a second penalty saved by goalkeeper Abigail Boye. Soon after, a shot from Olivia Hoskins from the edge of the circle went over the bar.
The second quarter told a similar story. Good penalty corner play from Wales saw both Xenna Hughes and Robinson dummy before Leah Wilkinson sent the ball just wide of the far post.
In the last five minutes of the first half, Wales started to come into their own and created more threatening chances but couldn’t quite execute them.
Opportunities from Hannah Cozens, Millie Holme, and Sarah Jones failed to count, and another penalty corner from Wilkinson was saved by Boye.
As the second half got under way, Izzie Howell missed a great chance on the reverse before Wales got their fifth penalty corner, which was effectively cleared by Ghana.
Wales’ patience finally paid off in the 40th minute as Wilkinson got the first goal of the game and the breakthrough they needed. Hughes gave the perfect delivery into the circle from a penalty corner as Wilkinson deflected the shot over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The same goal scoring routine was tried again in the last seconds of the third quarter, but this time Wilkinson’s touch was sent up and over the bar.
Wales started the last 15 minutes looking for another goal to secure their lead. After a few chances, Izzy Webb finally delivered that all important second goal, sending the ball past the right foot of Boye.
A third soon followed as Millie Holme fired the ball straight into the goal from the top of the circle. After a video referral for an earlier foot in the circle, Wales’ third goal was awarded.
Beth Bingham made it four and sealed the victory in her 100th appearance for Wales. Improvising from a poorly executed penalty corner, Bingham directed a deflection past the goalkeeper and into the goal.
The win gives Wales their first three points of the Commonwealth Games. They now have two rest days before they take on England on Thursday in their final pool match.
Talking after the match, Izzy Webb said there were “a lot of positivises to take from today’s game…it’s good that we’ve got some goals behind us.”
“It’s about working as a team, sticking to our principles and being patience in attack. [Today] gives us a good platform to go forward.”
Reflecting on Ghana’s defence and the wait for goals, Bingham said “We knew Ghana would be dogged in defence so we knew we had to stick to our processes, stay calm, keep patient on the ball, keep moving into space and get the ball out of contact because they wanted us to go into contact.”
“We spoke at halftime about just keeping patient, moving the ball and chances will come - and they did in the second half.”
Looking ahead to Thursday’s match against England, Bingham added “We play in the premier league with a lot of the English girls, we play against them and with them, so we know them well and they know us well.”
“It will be a really tough match but we’re there to give it our all and see what we can do on Thursday.”