Wales C v England C: Post-match tactical analysis

Last nights gritty performance for the Wales C international against an England C side, made up numerous full-time player, showed that the JD Welsh Premier League is unique as a collective.

Under the shining light of the Sgorio cameras, the side comprised of Welsh players based in the top flight was evidence that the domestic game in Wales had plenty to offer in terms of quality and competitiveness. The squad, comprised of usually understated players like Bangor City’s Danny Gossett, became a beacon of hope and a shining example of the homegrown talent on offer here domestically.

The coaching manual followed by many coaches often insists on the mantra “if Plan A doesn’t work, do plan A better”, myself included. Despite a break from management, Mark “Jonah” Jones showed faith in his structure to very nearly grab a point against a very talented English side. The former Carmarthen Town and Port Talbot Town manager proved his versatile attitude to various tactical approaches was worthwhile as his Wales side proved competitive against their superior English counterparts.

The turnaround started with the withdrawal of the top two, Adam Roscrow and John Owen, who both battled hard all game, but couldn’t get an inch on some very tidy defending. You could argue that at club level, both players like to drop both wide and deep to receive the ball, leaving a lack of a focal point in the middle, particularly as Venables looked slightly un-natural in what looked like a deeper role from his standard Bala setup.

Jonah introduced Marc and Toby Jones with roughly half hour still to play, giving the Welsh attack another dimension.

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Aberystwyth man Toby Jones regularly dropped into space, in a sort of Ramdeuter role, whilst Carmarthen forward Mark Jones offered more in terms of a target, winning four free kicks in dangerous positions, as well as getting on the score sheet from a cross delivered by Barry full-back Chris Hugh, who the manager has praised for his performance. However, the Old Gold striker’s introduction most importantly provided room for Chris Venables to play his more accustomed role, as a false nine.

Whilst this may be deemed to have been a Plan B for Wales, and on paper it certainly looks to have been that way, it is unnecessary to deem it an inappropriate way of going about getting a result. The style of the Welsh teams play did not flicker from the first minute to the last , suggesting that although Jonah only had a very limited time with his squad before the game, he had very concisely articulated a game plan, which the squad has brought into and as they grew in confidence, excelled at.

Despite the result, Jonah showed that his side’s quick adaptation to numerous tactical systems is evidence of their sucess. Given time, who knows how successful the Wales C side could be, but one thing is for sure, tactical versatility is not evidence of Plan A being unsuccessful, but evidence of a side’s versatility and their ability to adapt in order to succeed.



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