19 July 2012
Wales fall to North Korea
The Wales women's side lost 4-2 to a strong Korea DPR side at Stebonheath Park on Thursday evening.
The match was a unique opportunity to play a team from the other side of the world and as such was a great experience for Jarmo Matikainen's squad as they prepare for the new season. That will include a crucial Euro Women's game wit5h Scotland on Saturday 15th September at Parc y
Scarlets in Llanelli.
Wales started brightly and took the lead on 12 minutes when a goalmouth mix-up in the Korea area gave captain Jess Fishlock the chance to fire-hoe from close range. It stunned the visitors who had made a steady start to the first ten minutes of the game.
The lead was held for just ten minutes however, as Korea launched a high ball into the Wales area and Wales keeper Nicola Davies failed to take the ball and Choe Young Sim got there first to head home at the far post.
Four minutes later it was 2-1 when Kim Un Hyang scored from another high ball into the box from a free kick. Davies was second best once more and the visitors had the advantage.
Both sides looked to play some attractive football on a good, flat surface, but it was clear that the Koreans were getting stronger as the game went-on and justifying their position as one of the World's strongest women's teams.
Half time came with the score at 2-1 and an opportunity for Jarmo Matikainen to give the Wales team some words of encouragement.
Korea made three substitutions at half time and continued where they left off in the first half by having much of the possession. On 55 minutes they made it 3-1 after a defensive mix-up allowed substitute Ri Ye Gyong to poke the ball home.
To their credit, the Welsh heads did not drop and striker Hannah Keryakoplis was introduced after 62 minutes to replace Hayley Ladd.
Wales found a way back into the game on 70 minutes when captain Jess Fishlock took a free kick from some 30 yards out that went straight over everyone's head and into the goal. It gave the side fresh hope and two more subs entered the game for Wales with Amie Lea (79m) and Jodie Botteril (85m for her first cap). Korea also kept the subs coming thick and fast with another four changes.
The game was settled in the 86th minute when substitute Kim Myong Gum scored at the far post to make it 4-2.
At the whistle, Wales could be pleased with a very committed performance against a class-outfit. A great work-out at a very early stage of the new season. There are two more friendlies in Belgium to come in August before the game with Scotland.