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Peter Davies's fanscene

In my opinion, there was one dominant performer in the excellent 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic.

In my opinion, there was one dominant performer in the excellent 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. Dennis Lawrence was head and shoulders above his teammates - both literally and metaphorically.

He won almost every header he went up for, put his foot in at all the right moments, and executed an array of vital interceptions. But more than anything, he read the game superbly. The fact that he scored Wrexham's second goal, and picked up the sponsors' man-of-the-match gong, was simply the icing on the cake.

The Trinidadian's display was not just significant in itself, but was instrumental in enabling the Dragons to record their eighth league victory of the season - a triumph that has given them a realistic chance of beating the drop.

Moreover, Saturday afternoon showed that 'Tall Man' is back. After a disastrous autumn, when he was blamed for gifting goals to a variety of opposition sides, Lawrence seems to have resurrected his fledgling Wrexham career in style.

Even though he put in several decent performances over the Christmas and New Year period, the Latics game, surely, was an important landmark. He has always been billed as an international-calibre defender; against the men from the JJB he actually looked like one.

To me, the key to DL's re-emergence is clear. He is concentrating on the basics, doing the simple things, and playing within his limitations. Before Christmas he was an accident waiting to happen; now he looks a star in the making.

There are other significant dimensions to his rehabilitation.

First, it all goes to prove that Lawrence, the man, is made of strong stuff. Earlier in the season, as his form nose-dived dramatically, he found himself fourth-choice centre-half. However, he didn't moan - he just took it on the chin, vowed that he'd be back, and served his time in the reserves and on the subs bench. So, obviously, he's a big man in more ways than one.

Second, it is interesting to analyse his relationship with the Racecourse faithful. Back in September, the no.6 was the butt of much terrace criticism. As such, both player and supporters seemed to do away with the mutual applause that passes as traditional post-match ritual.

But at present, Lawrence is the darling of the crowd - the newly-crowned Kop Idol.

Third, it would be a mistake to underestimate the love and affection that Lawrence clearly possesses for Wrexham FC. Ex-boss Flynn gave him his big break in British professional football, and in everything he says and does, the Caribbean giant gives off the impression that he genuinely feels at home at the Racecourse.

His badge-kissing goal-celebration routine is probably the most obvious example of this love affair in action. And if he is back in the first team for good, as recent performances would suggest, it is wonderful that he wants it so much.

Finally, I wonder whether Lawrence's renaissance is connected to the fact that he now has a former central defender as manager. If it is, it's a feather in the cap of Denis Smith.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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