On a very wet evening, the Wales Under 21 side beat their Moldovan opponents by 1-0.
The all-important goal came after just ten minutes when Manchester United's Tom Lawrence turned in the penalty area and shot low into the bottom corner of the net from 6 yards out.
It was no more than the Welsh youngsters deserved, after a bright opening on a pitch that had had plenty of water on it in the previous twelve hours.
On balance, the sides looked to cancel each other-out throughout the pitch. For both teams, the squads were new and there was inevitably periods of play when little happened.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Billy Bodin had a good rune and ended it with a shot that went just wide of the post. A free kick from Lawrence was punched-out by the Moldova goalie as Wales continued to press.
Striker Jake Cassidy was concussed before the end of the half and was unable to continue.
The Wales replacement was Robert Ogleby and he slotted-in well, as the rain began once more and Wales stepped-up a gear.
Chances began to come regularly to the boys in red but Moldova were heavy in the tackle and it was inevitable that the Icelandic referee would have to use his cards.
Lee Lucas almost made it two-nil when a great shot came back-off the post and Ogleby netted, only to be whistled for offside.
Then, on 72 minutes Constantin Bogdan was shown the red card for another heavy challenge.
Wales really tried to make the extra man show, but Moldova were dogged in defence though Wes Burns forced a great save from the keeper on 77 minutes.
Wales ended the game on the attack and deserved the win.
Afterwards, Geraint Williams said: "It was important to get the group off to a winning start, and on another night we could have had three or four, but on the whole I was satisfied with the performance and the result."
Wales Team for tonight:
1. Danny Ward
2. Kieron Freeman
3. Jonathan Meades
4. Lee Lucas
5. Scott Tancock
6. Joe Walsh
7. Wes Burns
8. Emyr Huws
9. Jake Cassidy
10. Tom Lawrence
11. Billy Bodin
12. Connor Roberts
13. Alex Nicholson
14. Theo Wharton
15. George Ray
16. Louis Thompson
17. Ellis Harrison
18. Robert Ogleby
On Thursday morning Ceri Stennett from the FAW's Media Department had a chance to catch-up with Swansea City midfielder, Lee Lucas and Wales intermediate manager, Geraint Williams, to get their thoughts on Friday evening's UEFA opener against Moldova Under 21's at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli (Kick Off 6pm).
Ceri: "Lee you are one of the guys who was involved in the last qualifying campaign, so your experience will be invaluable to the newer players."
Lee: "Yes, it will, but I think we did really well in the last game (friendly v Iceland) and it showed that we do have a good crop of players here who can do well. We have a few lads like me who have experience and if we can play like we did against Iceland and keep progressing I think we can do well."
Ceri: "The squad has had a few pull-outs this week, so the starting-line up looks as though it would pick itself?"
Lee: "I'm not sure what the team will be as yet, but all the new lads have done well this week and all have been playing well with their clubs, so I don't think we will be any weaker."
Ceri: "Three points from this first home game are vital?"
Lee: "Yes, I think so, especially at home. A winning start will put a little pressure on the other teams going into the break as our next match is not until August."
Ceri: "England being in the group gives everyone a boost, it's the games everyone is talking about?"
Lee: "I think we would enjoy the challenge of playing against England, but they are someway off as yet."
Ceri: "The Iceland game was a good start, do you think we have the right mix this time?"
Lee: "Yes, we all got-on well, had some good training sessions and mixed well and their was strength on the bench too as proven by two of the goal scorers (Burns and Ogleby)."
Ceri: "Finally Lee, how has your own form been this season?"
Lee: "I have been playing regular reserve football all season as well as the Under 21 trips, so I have been happy enough with my form."
Ceri: "Many thanks for your time Lee."
Ceri: "Geraint, here we are, a day before the opening match of your first full Under 21 campaign. What are your feelings?"
Geraint: "Very excited. We have had more than our fair share of withdrawals though and of course we have lost Johnny (Williams) who has been called-up to the full squad, which is fantastic and all the boys are delighted for him. So, a few new faces and some opportunities for lads to stake a claim."
Ceri: "I suppose that has always been the case for all Wales managers down the years?"
Geraint: "Yes, which is why we are trying to widen the pool and leave no stone unturned to find more lads eligible to play at all the youth levels. Dominic Kennedy (FAW Youth Teams administrator) has worked wonders in networking with clubs up and down the country and confirming eligibility of new players. However, now we are all here, we have done some good work on the training ground with Robert Page and the rest of the coaches and we are looking forward to tomorrow night."
Ceri: "Last month you had a 3-0 win in a warm-up game with Iceland, that must have given you, and the team, confidence?"
Geraint: "Yes, but not so much the result as the way we played. Getting ideas and methods across to the players is important. With a new squad you will have eighteen players who have all been taught how to do things in different ways. So, when you are setting-up tactics you have to have the boys all working in the same way as that will be vital in a match situation. With the talent that we do have, then we can be successful."
Ceri: "Moldova, our first opponents, how much do we know about them?"
Geraint: "We sent a scout to watch a friendly against Romania that they played on the same day as our match with Iceland. We have watched the DVD many times. They are a strong side who work very hard for each other. They have a target man who plays for Dynamo Kiev and he will be a handful, so we know exactly what they will bring to the table. We have to match the work-rate, stick to our game plan and be positive."
Ceri: "England of course are also in the group, but maybe it's a good thing that don't meet them until later-on in the tournament?"
Geraint: "They will be the hardest games in the group. What we need is to get our ideas over to the players and the team improves as we go along. We won't take any of the sides lightly, but we need to build-up points and the confidence will be high. I think the England games will take care of themselves in a way, as everyone will be right-up for those!"
Ceri: "Johnny Williams will be missing as we have already mentioned. From your point of view, it is a juggling-act to on the one hand want players to progress to the seniors, but also have a bead-rock of regulars to see you through the qualifiers."
Geraint: "That hits the nail on the head and is the nature of the job. The main job is to get players ready to represent Wales at full level, but if we can also be in the running for qualification to finals at the age levels, it can only be beneficial in the long-run."
Ceri: 'From a personal point of view, you've now got your feet under the table in the job. What differences have you found from club management?"
Geraint: "It is a very very different job. It helps that there are three teams (U.21, 19 & 17), but it is a juggling-act, preparing players, finding friendly matches and building-up relationships with club and academy managers. Clubs like their players to be internationals, but they don't want them away for too long. Before the end of this season, we have an Under 17 Mini Tournament in April, a friendly Under 19 game with Northern Ireland as well as inspection trips to do to check facilities for forthcoming matches. It is hectic, but one of the big differences from club football is that you have to do a lot of the work on your own from home - working on the computer, internet and by phone. I have a very dedicated staff who are also working all the time alongside their club and other commitments to make the Wales teams a success. But yes, I am enjoying the job very much."
Ceri: "All the very best for tomorrow's game."
Chris Dawson (Leeds United) has withdrawn from the Under 21 squad with injury and has been replaced by Theo Wharton (Cardiff City).
There have been four changes to the Wales Under 21 Squad.
Danny Alfei (Swansea City - Loan Wrexham)
Lee Evans (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Elliott Hewitt (Ipswich Town)
Lloyd Isgrove (Southampton)
George Ray (Crewe Alexandra)
Alex Nicholson (Newcastle United)
Louis Thompson (Swindon Town)
Ellis Harrison (Bristol Rovers)
The squad reports today (Monday) at 5pm in Swansea.
The UEFA qualifier with Moldova is at 6pm at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli. ADmission is £5 adults, £2 concessions.
Original Squad & Stand-By List:
Connor Roberts - Cheltenham Town
Danny Ward - Liverpool
Daniel Alfei - Swansea City (Loan Wrexham)
Lee Evans - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Kieron Freeman - Derby County
Jonathan Meades - AFC Bournemouth (Loan AFC Wimbledon)
Scott Tancock - Swansea City
Joe Walsh - Crawley Town
Billy Bodin - Torquay United
Elliott Hewitt - Ipswich Town
Emyr Huws - Manchester City
Lloyd Isgrove - Southampton
Tom Lawrence - Manchester United
Lee Lucas - Swansea City
Wes Burns - Bristol City
Jake Cassidy - Wolverhampton W.
Chris Dawson - Leeds United
Robert Ogleby - Wrexham
Stand-By / Wrth Gefn
David Richards - Cardiff City
Jordan Holt - St.Mirren
Alex Nicholson - Newcastle United
George Ray - Crewe Alexandra
Michael Doughty - QPR (Loan St.Johnstone)
Gwion Edwards - Swansea City (Loan St.Johnstone)
Louis Thompson - Swindon Town
Theo Wharton - Cardiff City
Tom Bradshaw - Shrewsbury Town