Oct 11, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Millennium Stadium
Church (67')
John (58'), Taylor (75')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Sikov (80')

Result: Wales move off bottom of Group A with Macedonia win

Wales player Craig Bellamy reacts during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Macedonia at Cardiff City Stadium on October 11, 2013
© Getty Images
Simon Church scores the only goal of the game as Wales beat Macedonia at the Cardiff City Stadium to move above their opponents and off the bottom of Group A.

Simon Church scored the only goal of the game as Wales beat Macedonia 1-0 to ease some pressure on manager Chris Coleman and move off the bottom of World Cup qualification Group A tonight.

The Dragons, who are now also above Scotland in the table, have a two-point advantage over Macedonia going into the final fixture of the campaign as they try to avoid the wooden spoon.

Despite missing several key players, including captain Ashley Williams and £86m-man Gareth Bale, the hosts had the better of a first half in which Hal Robson-Kanu felt he should have been awarded a penalty.

The referee was unmoved when the Reading winger seemed to be tripped as he advanced into the box on 30 minutes, and other Wales ventures forward in the opening period were also fruitless.

Neil Taylor was the first to test Macedonia goalkeeper Tome Pacovski, when he struck left-footed from outside of the box, while Craig Bellamy also called Pacovsk into action with a powerful drive, moments after Church headed wide at the near post.

Macedonia, though, were a threat on the break and had the best chance to break the deadlock before the interval when Nikolce Noveski rounded Wayne Hennessey, only to smash wildly over the crossbar.

When the action resumed, David Vaughan clipped the woodwork with a misdirected cross, and Wales's pressure was finally rewarded when Church applied the finish to a swift Dragons move.

Stand-in skipper Aaron Ramsey turned his marker inside the Macedonian half before releasing Bellamy, making his last home international appearance, down the right to cross for Church to fire confidently into the away net.

Ramsey had the chance to seal the points for his country when he was tripped in the box, but the Arsenal midfielder struck his penalty straight down the middle, allowing Pacovski to make the save.

Goran Pandev and Predrag Randjelovic went close to snatching an equaliser for the visitors in the latter stages, but Wales hung on to claim their third win of the campaign, and a much-needed one for Coleman.

Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at Liberty Stadium on September 28, 2013
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