WALES prepared for their upcoming European Qualifier with Slovakia on Sunday by securing a last-gasp win over Trinidad & Tobago in the first international football match to be held in Wrexham for over a decade.

The Racecourse was the scene of yet another infamous night as Ben Woodburn struck in added time to seal a Wales victory, little over 11 years after they beat Norway 3-0 at the same venue.

But while the Wales team were making a long-awaited return, a packed Racecourse stadium were just as excited to welcome back a former Wrexham favourite, Dennis Lawrence.

Many of the 10,326 people who squeezed their way into The Racecourse on Wednesday night will look back fondly at the five seasons Lawrence spent at Wrexham AFC, which concluded with him becoming the team’s first player to play in a World Cup (in Germany 2006).

Fast forward to 2019, and Lawrence has returned to his Wrexham “home” for a special footballing occasion as the Head Coach of Trinidad & Tobago.

Speaking exclusively to The Leader after seeing his side lose the game to a 92nd minute goal from the 19-year-old Liverpool and Wales forward, Ben Woodburn, Lawrence says:

“Obviously I was disappointed for the boys because I don’t think they deserved that result. But we came here for a good exercise, which we got tonight by playing against a top-quality team.

“I thought the boys did really, really well. They showed a good attitude, good professionalism, and were very unfortunate to concede that late.

“I’m proud of them (the players), but I’m not proud of the result because I’m not into losing games. But we take it, learn from it, and go again.

“This is my home really, or my second-home if you want to call it that, and it was good to have the boys here and have them experience Wales and Wrexham.

“It’s been fantastic for me being back here in Wrexham, and the pitch was very good too, just as I left it.”

In the absence of star names such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Tyler Roberts was included in a youthful Wales forward line that started the game in Wrexham.

The 20-year-old forward is currently plying his trade domestically for Leeds United in the Championship, but how did playing at The Racecourse compare to his appearances in front of an expectant Elland Road crowd?

He says: “I had the same buzz before the game because representing your country is a massive thing, no matter where you are.

“But it was just nice to get out there in Wrexham to play for Wales because It’s been a while.

“I think scoring late shows that we’re never going to give up, and we’re always going to fight to the end. We can score goals at any time, and that’s a great trait to have.”

Wales now return to Cardiff where they will face Slovakia in their first Group E European Qualifier on Sunday, March 24, but many will be hoping to see the national team back in North East Wales again soon.