THE score was 0-0. Minutes on the field understandably meant more to manager Robert Page but for Wales fans this wasn’t merely a tune-up for Euro 2020.

Wales drew a frankly awful, near-eventless game against Albania and they will head on to play Switzerland on Saturday when things really matter, but for the 6,500 that were at Cardiff City Stadium this meant more than a friendly.

They could send Page’s side on their way to Baku in person; everybody in the ground in Leckwith knew that they weren’t just cheering for themselves but for those watching on S4C.

The Wales regulars got their reward (although reward might be pushing it) by being there for what was a pretty poor game, and for the majority this was live action for the first time in over a year.

Perhaps some had seen Newport County AFC or Swansea in the play-offs, maybe some are fans of Premier League sides and had hopped over the border.

But this was proper stuff, albeit the anthem and post-match well-wishing were the moments that will live long in the memory rather than match action, along with the rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in the 85th minute.

The National Wales:

Granted, supporters may have regretted turning down invites to a barbecue while watching a drab game but they were there; store away the ticket stub with pride.

For the players this wasn’t a game to push for a place in the side to face the Swiss, nor fluff your lines.

Page has known for quite some time the XI that he would like to field in Baku, it’s just been on those individuals to either stay fit or show they are sharp enough.

But you are reading this on the South Wales Argus rather than another media organisation so may ponder what did Dylan Levitt offer that now former Newport County midfielder Josh Sheehan couldn’t.

The answer is not a lot, and despite the bias it seems an odd call to leave the ex-Exiles playmaker out of the 26, but the inclusion of novice Ruben Colwill in the Euros squad shows that this isn’t just about the here and now.

Sheehan will star at a higher level and will hopefully get the recognition he deserves after moving on, and we all have to move on.

After Lee Evans, Sheehan and (the uncapped) Tom King, hopefully County will provide another international down the line, with Lewis Collins and Lewys Twamley among the next generation hoping to be on the biggest stage.

But Sheehan will always be County and ignore the face he was playing in English football’s fourth tier, he would have fitted in at Cardiff City Stadium.

But he hasn’t been selected and we have to focus on those that are building to Baku, and the Saturday action was minimal.

Wales made eight changes for the clash with Chris Mepham, Neco Williams and Joe Allen the sole starters from the XI from Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to France.

The National Wales:

Williams had been cleared to start shortly before the game after UEFA decide he didn’t need to serve a one-match suspension for his controversial dismissal for handball in Nice.

That was a relief for manager Robert Page, who was worried about the Liverpool defender’s lack of game time ahead of the class with the Swiss – the 20-year-old had enjoyed just one brief cameo after the World Cup qualifying win against the Czech Republic.

He was in the starting line-up along with captain Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey and Ethan Ampadu, while Joe Allen got another chance to get minutes in after an injury-plagued campaign.

Here is the point where the match action normally follows but very little happened in the first half with neither side working the goalkeepers.

Albania had the best chance but forward Rey Manaj fired over the bar after getting past Chris Mepham.

Ramsey flicked a shot over at the near post but that sounds more exiting in print than it was in the flash.

It was goalless at the break and targetman Kieffer Moore was introduced at the break and he made a difference by providing a focal point, although it remained goalless on the hour when Page rang the chances.

The boss had always said the fixture was about minutes in the legs and building towards the clash with the Swiss and on the hour he brought on Matt Smith, Harry Wilson and Joe Rodon for Allen, Ramsey and Ben Davies.

That was followed by a switch with 20 minutes to go when Gareth Bale came on for Tyler Roberts.

The change sparked the best moment of the game – not a fierce contest – when Neco Williams tested Albania stopper Gentian Selmani with a fierce drive after a corner was not properly cleared.

That was followed by a peach of a ball into the box by Bale that le to Moore calling Selmani into action action, although it was a regulation save.

Wales could not force a winner but, crucially, a drab game finished without injury.

Wales: Henneseey, Ampadu (Moore 45), Mepham, Davies (Rodon 61), Norrington-Davies, N Williams, Allen (Smith 61), Ramsey (Wilson 61), Levitt, Brooks (J Williams 75), Roberts (Bale 71).