Ben Woodburn scored a 91st minute to secure victory over Trinidad & Tobago in Wales’ return to the Racecourse Ground.
Wales were made to work hard by their opponents who provided a competitive test for an experimental Wales side in their preparation for their European Championship Qualifying campaign.
Wales had early attacking intentions as Ryan Hedges crossed to Tyler Roberts for a looping header which was comfortably saved by Marvin Phillip.
Trinidad created a chance of their own as Levi Garcia teed up Khaleem Hyland who curled his shot straight at Danny Ward.
Debutant Will Vaulks impressed as he drove the hosts forward through the break-up of play from Trinidad.
Trinidad didn’t create a lot of opportunities but put together a few passages of plays that could have troubled Wales.
George Thomas went closest after Hedges laid it off from a short-corner, firing just wide of Marvin Phillip’s goal.
Wales dominated possession in a goalless first half but were unable to find a cutting edge in the final third as they sought a clear-cut opportunity.
In the second half, Woodburn showed good feet to feed through Thomas, who forced Phillip to save to his near-side.
Chris Gunter made an important goal line clearance to deny his opposite number Aubrey David the opening goal after Garcia pulled the ball back to him.
Vaulks who continued his performance into the second-half almost opened his Wales account, but his goal-bound shot was blocked.
Wales had the ball in the net, but it did not count. Hedges lofted a ball over to Thomas who flicked a header past Phillip but the linesman’s flag denied Thomas his first Wales senior goal.
A header from outside the box from Vaulks sailed just over the bar of the Trinidad goalkeeper as Wales continued to pile the pressure on.
Lee Evans almost snuck home his effort after Lawrence heeled it back to the midfielder with Phillip forced into action at his post.
Opportunities came at a minimum towards the end of the game, but Wales continued to carry the ball forward in search of a late winner.
Ben Woodburn and Wales made the most of the additional four minutes shown as they opened the scoring. Vaulks crossed into Woodburn who chested from close-range to secure Wales the victory.
The 18-year-old almost doubled his tally when a free-kick sailed just wide of the post. His effort was the last action of the game as Tim Marshall blew for a Wales victory.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip; 2.Aubrey David, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 5.Daneil Cyrus, 18.Triston Hodge; 19.Kevan George (Yellow 41), 23.Leston Paul (15.Neveal Hackshaw 80th), 8.Khaleem Hyland (capt); 13.Nathan Lewis, 10.Levi Garcia (11.Lester Peltier 60th); 9.Willis Plaza (7.Cordell Cato 46th).
Unused substitutes: 21.Nicklas Frenderup (GK), 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 6.Carlyle Mitchell, 12.Ross Russell Jr, 14.Akeem Humphrey, 16.Alvin Jones, 17.Mekeil Williams, 20.Duane Muckette.
Coach: Dennis Lawrence.
Wales: 1.Danny Ward (21.Adam Davies 46th); 6.Ashley Williams (capt) (15.James Lawrence 61st), 4.Paul Dummett (13.Declan John 61st), 14.Ryan Hedges; 2.Chris Gunter, 16.Lee Evans (Yellow 81), 7.Will Vaulks, 3.Neil Taylor; 10.Ben Woodburn, 9.Tyler Roberts (17.Rabbi Matondo 71st), 11.George Thomas.
Unused substitutes: 8.Matthew Smith, 18.Connor Roberts, 19.Harry Wilson.
Coach: Ryan Giggs.
Ben Woodburn scrambles late reward for starless Wales against Trinidad.
Gareth Bale was present but not risked for a match in which Wales snatched a late winner through Ben Woodburn, a deserved outcome after constant second-half pressure that improved Ryan Giggs’s underwhelming record.
Having taken over a year on Friday, Giggs’s 10th match in charge ended as a fourth victory to go with five defeats and a draw. Before Sunday’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia the manager protected all his A-listers. This meant no Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ben Davies or first-choice goalkeeper, Wayne Hennessey.
Giggs pointed to Bale’s full part in Real Madrid’s win over Celta Vigo last Saturday. “It was a first 90 minutes in three months,” he said. “He took part in a little bit of training yesterday, trained this morning really well but it was too much of a risk for him.”
Instead there was a chance for the fringe members to push a claim with Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett the sole regular Premier League performer – the Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward a reserve, along with Liverpool’s Woodburn.
Dennis Lawrence’s Trinidad & Tobago came into the contest having lost their last two games and in Sheldon Bateau of Norway’s Sarpsborg had a solitary Europe-based player.
Lawrence, a former Wrexham player of five years, watched as Wales started brightly. Woodburn, the striker in Giggs’s 4-2-3-1, slipped a ball into Ryan Hedges and his dink was reached by Tyler Roberts though the Trinidad goalkeeper, Marvin Phillip, was not troubled.
The visitors operated a 4-4-1-1 and the captain, Khaleem Hyland, offered a first threat, taking aim from distance at Ward’s goal. Then came a burst of quality as the Trinidad No 9, Wills Plaza, found Hyland and he recycled the ball to Nathan Lewis at speed; Wales were grateful nothing came of it.
So, too, were the visitors when George Thomas sprayed wide as the interval neared. Just before the whistle Woodburn suffered a painful challenge from Kevan George but was able to resume.
For the second half Giggs brought off Ward for Adam Davies, the Barnsley keeper making his international debut. Lawrence’s switch was to replace Plaza with Cordell Cato of Oklahoma City.
Giggs named Ashley Williams as captain despite the on-loan Everton centre-back’s struggle to play regularly for Stoke City and the manager will not have been happy to see him cede the ball carelessly.
When Woodburn slipped in Thomas the No 11’s fierce shot warmed Phillip’s fingers – and the support – as he saved to his right. Suddenly the game flared: Levi Garcia rounded Davies at the other end and found Aubrey David and his effort was cleared off the Wales line by Gunter.
From here Giggs’s men pressed and finally got the breakthrough, Woodburn’s chest home coming from a Vaulks’s ball to the back post. His goal gave Wales the perfect boost before the serious stuff, this weekend’s start to their qualification campaign for the European Championship.
“I’m gutted for the boys,” Lawrence said.
Giggs defends decision to rest Bale amid disappointed Wales fans
By Dafydd Pritchard (BBC).
Ryan Giggs says he understands why some Wales fans were disappointed that Gareth Bale was left out of Wednesday's friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.
Wrexham's Racecourse Ground was sold out for Wales' first match in the north since 2008.
But some supporters were left disappointed as Giggs fielded a second string team ahead of Sunday's opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia.
"Of course it's disappointing for the fans," said Giggs.
"They want to see the likes of Gareth. But it's my job to make sure we are ready for Sunday.
"Gareth got his first 90 mins in three months [for Real Madrid last weekend], took part in a little bit of training yesterday, then trained this morning, really well.
"So it was just too much of a risk with Sunday in mind. That was the case with a few of the players. I gave the chance for players to push forward for Sunday, but also keeping players fresh.
"Originally when I planned the game, it was going to be a first-half [at full strength] and then we make changes.
"But Brooksy [David Brooks] took a knock at the weekend on his ankle, Harry [Wilson] has played a lot of games, Connor [Roberts] has played a lot of games. Aaron [Ramsey] picked up that little knock. It gave me the opportunity to look after them at the start of the week."
As Giggs made wholesale changes to his side to face Trinidad and Tobago, an unfamiliar looking Wales team struggled to impose themselves on their opponents ranked 93rd in the world.
Former Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe, who was a part of the BBC Radio Wales commentary team for the game, said in the first half: "It's looking like a bunch of players that have been thrown together, not knowing when to pass it."
Wales improved and eventually forced a winning goal two minutes into added time as Ben Woodburn chested the ball in from close range.
"The performance, first half especially, I was really pleased with," said Giggs.
"We had a couple of days to work on a few things and felt we did that first half without that final third composure, making the right decisions and having a bit of quality.
"Trinidad and Tobago didn't have anything. But I reminded the players at half-time about Albania [where Wales lost in November]. It was exactly the same in Albania so we had to keep that clean sheet.
"We rode our luck a bit in the second half, obviously Gunts [Chris Gunter] fantastic clearance off the line and credit to Trinidad and Tobago, second half they made it difficult for us. We just had to be patient.
"To score late in the game is a great trait for teams to have so really pleased with the result."
Wales edge T&T with late goal.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men had their hearts broken as Wales got a 93rd minute winner from Liverpool’s Ben Woodrum to give the hosts a late 1-0 victory before a packed Racecourse in Wrexham on Wednesday night.
It was a cruel way for T&T to finish the match after the held their own for most of the match and should have gone ahead in the second half.
In terms of chances, Tyler Roberts saw his header saved and Lee Evans hit over when found by Ryan Hedges. George Thomas drilled a low shot wide and had another effort from range pushed round the post.
But it was actually Trinidad and Tobago who created the best opening. A poor throw by goalkeeper Adam Davies allowed Willis Plaza to find Levi Garcia and he checked back to square to Aubrey David, whose finish was heading in until Chris Gunter cleared off the line.
Wales had a goal correctly ruled out for offside when Thomas headed in a flicked pass by Hedges and Will Vaulks went close with a firm strike.
There were a few tasty tackles in the game, the meatiest being Evans on Leston Paul. Evans was shown a yellow card when his studs down shin foul could easily have warranted a red.
Rabbi Matondo, Schalke’s signing from Manchester City, was introduced in the second half and looked lively. Before Woodburn gave Giggs his fourth victory in 10 games in charge. Now the real action begins.
Joining Bale in watching from the stands were regulars Allen, Davies, Wayne Hennessey, and David Brooks. Chris Mepham and Dan James also had their feet up and should start on Sunday. Ramsey was rested due to a thigh issue. Connor Roberts and Harry Wilson remained on the bench throughout.
For T&T, skipper Khaleem Hyland had a solid performance while goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was tidy in between the posts. T&T’s back four of Sheldon Bateau, Daneil Cyrus, Triston Hodge and Aubrey David also resisted anything the Welsh came at them with until the closing seconds.
Full Time Match Stats
Dennis Lawrence reactions following 1-0 loss to Wales
Ryan Giggs at Post Match Press Conference - T&T vs Wales
Post-Game Comments from T&T captain Hyland - T&T vs Wales