As part of our snap-shots feature, we look at Wales' last-gasp win over Scotland in Cardiff.
Last Updated: October 12, 2012 11:37pm
Gareth Bale nets to dent Scottish hopes
Wales took on Scotland on Friday desperate to claim their first victory for boss Chris Coleman and bounce back from their 6-1 humiliation by Serbia last month.
The home side did just that, restoring pride with a battling comeback win inspired by Gareth Bale, although the visitors will feel aggrieved by the penalty decision and having a goal disallowed.
Midfielder Darren Fletcher returned to the Scotland team for the first time in almost a year as captain.
As well as the skipper - who had been sidelined by a chronic bowel complaint - striker Steven Fletcher and winger Kris Commons were also back in the side after considerable absences from international football.
The trio's inclusion were among five changes from the Scots' 1-1 draw with Macedonia last month, with Danny Fox and Scott Brown the other men being brought in.
There was a new captain for the hosts too as centre-back Ashley Williams assumed the armband from midfielder Aaron Ramsey to lead a Dragons team that showed four adjustments from their 6-1 drubbing in Serbia.
In place of injured goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and defender Adam Matthews, Lewis Price and debutant Ben Davies came into the team, along with midfield pair David Vaughan and Joe Ledley.
Chris Coleman went with a 4-3-3 system for Wales, with Bale playing on the right instead of his usual left-sided berth for club Spurs. This tactical switch worked a treat, with Bale a constant threat down the right flank before his two late goals won it for the hosts.
Scotland boss Craig Levein opted for his usual lone striker upfront, but Steven Fletcher was a massive plus for the visitors in this role after he came out of his international wilderness. The Sunderland man held the ball up expertly, created the goal assist and should have had a goal himself which was disallowed, although television pictures suggested this may not have been the case. Darren Fletcher also did well after returning to the side after a long absence, but Brown was not able to play a full match, lasting just the first period.
Coleman made just two of his three permitted substitutions, bringing on Craig Davies for Steve Morison, while Hal Robson-Kanu replaced Joe Ledley as the home side chased the game. Davies had an immediate impact and should have won a penalty when Christophe Berra climbed all over him in the box but no spot-kick was forthcoming. Robson-Kanu had less of an impact but Wales kept up to their task to claim the vital win.
For Scotland, Charlie Adam had a mixed game when he came on at the start of the second period to replace Brown, creating the assist for Fletcher's 'goal' but he could have done better at closing down Bale before the Welsh forward netted his screamer to win it. Levein made a double substitution with six minutes remaining, bringing on Kenny Miller and Jamie Mackie, with Miller joining Steven Fletcher upfront as the Scots played with two strikers but his presence was not enough to force another goal.
Florian Meyer and his team of officials endured a poor game with crucial decisions both wrong and missed. The officials missed Berra climbing all over Craig Davies for what would have been a sure penalty for Wales. But Meyer then gave the home side a spot-kick when Bale tripped over himself as Shaun Maloney pressed. In between, Steven Fletcher headed home but the assistant referee deemed Adam's cross had swerved out of play and the effort was disallowed, but replays suggested this may not have been the case.
Wales produced the perfect response following their 6-1 thrashing by Serbia to give themselves a much-needed confidence boost. The Dragons halted an unwanted five-game losing run for new boss Coleman, who will be looking for his side to now push on in their tough trip to Croatia on Tuesday.
Scotland's World Cup qualification hopes suffered a severe blow with this devastating late loss, dropping to fifth in the table, a massive five points off pace-setters Belgium and Croatia. Next up is the daunting trip to face a star-studded Belgium team on Tuesday and Levein must pick his troops up quickly ahead of this game.