Collison on target for Wales

Jack Collison was on target for Wales again as they moved top of their European Under-21 Championship qualifying group with a 4-0 victory in Malta on Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Flynn's side had to be patient for the victory that moves the principality to the top of qualifying Group 10. The deadlock was finally broken through Manchester City prodigy Ched Evans in the 62nd minute before three goals in the final ten minutes made sure. First, Simon Church of Reading doubled the advantage before Collison added the third. Evans then struck his second in the dying seconds from the penalty spot to complete a good day's work.

After collecting 12 points from their first five fixtures, the principality are a point ahead of Romania and France, with a game in hand on the latter nation. The 19-year-old had already made a significant impact on his U21 debut last November, scoring a stunning solo goal to round out a 4-0 home victory for Wales against Bosnia-Herzegovina. He followed that up three days later with a fine display against a strong visiting France team, as Wales won 4-2.

After the Malta fixture, Wales go to Bosnia-Herzegovina on 26 March before home and away games against Romania on 20 August and 10 September. Overall, the ten group winners and four best runners-up will advance to October's play-offs, with the seven sides coming through that stage progressing to the final round in Sweden in June 2009.

"It would be great to qualify for the finals. Also, I'm not playing that regularly at the moment, so these matches will come in handy for me. We don't have many reserves games and, while I am in and around the squad, I don't feature every week so the international break will be good for me to get these games under my belt."

Collison, who made his senior debut for West Ham United as a substitute against Arsenal on New Year's Day, was yet again with the first team for Saturday's fixture at Wigan Athletic. "This season has been very good for me so far. At the start, I got to travel away with the first team, then I made my international debut and then my debut for West Ham against Arsenal. I just have to carry on working hard and keep pushing on, to cement a place at West Ham and in the Welsh squad. Making it to the senior teams on both accounts is the aim."