Wales crash out after defeat to Ireland

James McClean was the hero as the Republic of Ireland secured a tense 1-0 victory over Wales in a shoot-out for a World Cup play-off spot at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales dominated possession but, in the absence of injured star forward Gareth Bale, lacked conviction in the final third and saw their 10-match unbeaten run in competitive home fixtures brought to an end by McClean.

Although top spot in Group in D was not out of reach for either side before kick-off, Serbia’s 1-0 victory over Georgia gained them automatic qualification to Russia 2018 and forced Martin O’Neill’s side into the play-offs.

Chris Coleman’s men appeared to be in control from kick-off but struggled for creativity after a blow to the head resulted in Joe Allen being substituted before half-time.

It was a lapse in concentration that ultimately cost Wales. Wayne Hennessey rolled the ball out to Ashley Williams and the industrious Jeff Hendrick stole possession to set up McClean to lash home a winner for the third time in the campaign.