Wed, Oct

DENNIS LAWRENCE is living proof that lightening can strike twice when it comes to hitting the net.

Little more than 12 months ago the beanpole defender held a lofty perch atop Wrexham's early-season goal scoring charts.

But fast forward to the present day and Lawrence is proving it was no fluke by once again setting the pace for his teammates to chase.

Lawrence took his league tally to four with a late scrambled equaliser against Peterborough in midweek.

And that was enough to edge him ahead of more established hit men Chris Armstrong, Hector Sam and Chris Llewellyn.

But it is not just the number of Lawrence's goals but rather the timing that has proved so crucial this season.

Put simply, when Lawrence scores Wrexham don't lose.

The Dragons have already picked up eight points as a direct consequence of the centre-half's plundering.

And after hitting the goal trail for the second season running Lawrence now has his sights on breaking into double figures.

While experienced strikers may be loath to set targets, Lawrence has no such qualms.

"It is always important to have your strikers scoring because if a team is to be successful you need at least two players who are capable of getting into the 15 to 20 goal bracket," said Lawrence.

"If it happens that one of those guys happens to be me this season, then fair enough.

"People may look at me as a defender and say 'no chance', but in this game you never know. I wouldn't be complaining if it happened."

And nor would manager Denis Smith - although Lawrence insists he is not yet ready to push for a permanent positional change saying: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

But the men whose real job it is to spearhead the Wrexham attack may be forgiven for feeling a little aggrieved if Lawrence continues to steel their thunder this season.

"I'm getting stick off the lads, but that is to be expected at the moment because I'm putting one or two of them under a bit of pressure," said Lawrence in a tone which seemed to imply he is enjoying every second of it.

"I'm giving as good as I get though because I'm delighted for myself at the moment and long may the goal scoring continue."

Winning strikes against Swindon and Bradford and equalisers at home to Walsall and Peterborough have kept the 6ft 7in fan's favourite well and truly in the limelight.

His 87th minute equaliser to salvage a point against Barry Fry's Posh on Tuesday came after an almighty goal-mouth scramble involving all but three of the players on the pitch.

But rather than talk about his goals as nothing more than a stroke of luck, Lawrence dissects them in the manner of a true striker.

"You have got to have an eye for goal and sometimes just by taking a gamble it pays off and you end up in the right place at the right time," he said.

"My goal against Peterborough was a real poacher's effort but it was also one of the most bizarre I have come across in my life.

"I watched it on Sky afterwards and I couldn't help laughing.

"The ball came into the box and just seemed to fall between everyone. Every player in there seemed to be having a go but I was just waiting to strike and hoping the ball would come near me.

"The ball was cleared but came back off one of their players and I shouted for Chris [Llewellyn] to leave it, took a touch and then put it away.

"It may have been a bit scrappy but they all count."

Last season's player-of-the-year has enjoyed another eventful start to the current campaign, dodging Hurricane Ivan while on international duty for Trinidad and Tobago and juggling the demands of League One football with a World Cup qualification campaign several thousand miles away.

St Vincent now stand between Trinidad and a place in the final phase of qualification for Germany 2006 with Lawrence's side just needing a point on home soil come November 17 to progress.

And while Lawrence is not quite as deadly in front of goal for his country, the 30-year-old believes Trinidad could make the finals.

"I have only scored once for Trinidad but I suppose I cannot expect to score for both club and country," said Lawrence.

"We are doing okay so far in this campaign and you have got to say that we have a chance of reaching the finals although we realise it is going to be difficult.

"I hope to be involved in the next squad but it hasn't been announced yet so I will have to wait and see."