1. ITV Report

Wales stay top of qualifying group after late winner beats Kazakhstan

Hayley Ladd fired home a late free-kick as Wales beat Kazakhstan 1-0 to stay top of their World Cup qualifying group.

Credit: PA

Birmingham City centre-half Ladd finally broke the deadlock with seven minutes left at the Cardiff City Stadium after Wales had squandered a host of chances.

Wales remain unbeaten after three qualifying matches and stay one point clear of Group One rivals England, who beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 4-0.

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Kazakhstan goalkeeper Oksana Zheleznyak kept out early goalbound efforts from Ladd and Jessica Fishlock, while she also denied Rachel Rowe in the 24th minute as Wales took control.

Angharad James and Rowe again also forced Zheleznyak into decent saves but Wales could not break the deadlock in the first period and were left to rue six shots on goal, while Kazakhstan failed to muster one.

Reading winger Rowe and Everton midfielder James, twice, failed to hit the target early in the second period and Natasha Harding was also wayward with her finishing after creating several chances.

The Liverpool forward stabbed Rhiannon Roberts' header across goal agonisingly wide of the far post before Wales went closest to taking the lead when James volleyed Ladd's excellent cross against a post.

But just when it seemed Kazakhstan would hold out for an unlikely point, Wales grabbed the all-important goal through Ladd's fine free-kick with seven minutes remaining.

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