LIAM`S ANGUISH AT PEN & HONOUR TO BE IN PFA TEAM
MY ANGUISH AT THAT PENALTY...
BY STEVIE RODEN
Mansfield Town's Liam Lawrence has revealed his despair at missing a last-minute penalty that could cost him a place in the record books.
The midfielder scored his 12th spot-kick of the season during the first half against Carlisle on Saturday despite being made to re-take it.
But in the dying seconds he missed another - and the chance to equal Francis Lee's 32-year record of scoring 13 penalties in a season.
And the midfielder revealed it was indecision that allowed Matt Glennon to save it.
He said: "I was gutted because it would have got us a draw and I knew about the record.
"But I changed my mind about where I was going to place it as I ran up. You should never change your mind. You should just pick your spot and hit it, but for some reason I did not."
Lawrence missed the first penalty he ever took for the Stags, which was against Team Bath in the FA Cup last season. But he had a 100% record during this campaign up until the weekend and was on course to get his name in the record books.
He said: "I practice them as much as possible and sometimes I stay behind after training, get ten or 12 balls out and keep taking them.
"But I am still confident and I will take the next one. There are still games left and it would be great to beat that record but to equal it would be fantastic as well."
The 22-year-old now has two more chances, against Huddersfield this Saturday and then against Northampton on the last day of the season.
However, after missing out on automatic promotion, the right-winger is desperate to ensure the Stags go up through the play-offs, giving him an extra chance to break the record and add to his tally of 21 goals for the season.
He said: "We have got to win our next games and get promotion through the play-offs which we are capable of doing. I feel I have done well and I set myself a target of getting into double figures with my goals and I'm delighted with the way it has gone."
Lawrence has been the talk of transfer speculation throughout the season, with First Division Rotherham having a £125,000 bid turned down back in November. But his impressive goal tally is bound to make him a summer target for clubs in higher leagues, especially as he is out of contract.
Mansfield have yet to offer the star midfielder a new deal although one is set to be put on the table. But for now Lawrence just wants to concentrate on his football.
He said: "My personal target is to get Mansfield promoted and I do not know what will happen in the summer.
"I have not been offered a new contract yet.
"I expect there will be interest because there are not many midfielders scoring 20-plus goals. I just want to keep my head down and continue playing well to get Mansfield promoted and see what happens."
HONOUR TO BE IN THE TOP TEAM
Liam Lawrence said he was delighted at being named in the PFA's Division Three team of the season - but said he would happily trade it in for automatic promotion.
The 22-year-old midfielder has already scored 21 goals this season and his impressive displays have been rewarded with a place in the elite team.
He said: "I am delighted with the award and it is a great honour to be named in the team.
"I have had a half decent season, scored a lot of goals and this award has topped it off, although we all want promotion.
"I think this season could have gone better and we needed to be in that top three for automatic promotion.
"I would happily sacrifice this medal for a place in the top three.
"And naturally, I'm really happy to be named in the team because the side they have chosen is a very good one and I am pleased to be a part of it."
In naming Lawrence in the Division Three team, the PFA highlighted his ability and singled out a certain game in which the midfielder was highly influential.
A spokesman said: "Liam is a midfielder with an eye for goal and rated as one of the brightest prospects outside the Premiership.
"He played a huge part in knocking Wycombe out of the FA Cup with a hat-trick in the Stags' 3-2 second round win."
In the replay at Field Mill in December, Lawrence scored from the spot and converted a delightful chip from open play to gain a 2-0 lead.
After Tony Adams' Second Division outfit levelled, Lawrence held his nerve in injury time to score his second penalty and claim a hat-trick.
pfa team: Chris Weale (Yeovil); Nathan Stanton (Scunthorpe); Andrew Crosby (Oxford); Efe Sodje (Huddersfield); Andrew Dawson (Hull); Peter Beagrie (Scunthorpe); Liam Lawrence (Mansfield); Michael McIndoe (Doncaster); Alex Russell (Torquay); David Graham (Torquay); Lee Trundle (Swansea)
Latest | April 2004