Shoot Cover: Mark Lawrenson (22 December 1979)

Originally scheduled for yesterday’s post for The Goldstone Wrap was this Shoot! magazine cover from the final few days of the 1970s:

shootcover9

In the current edition of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine, Jem Stone wrote that:

a commanding strong tall young holding player won the ball with ease, stood up and strode away from the penalty box. He picked up speed, looked up, past one player, past two and shook off opponents and still kept going.

Can you guess which of Oscar Garcia’s players this is?

Jem Stone was watching a current Albion star who reminds him of Mark Lawrenson.

Challenging for the ball with Arsenal’s Alan Sunderland in the Shoot! cover above, I wonder if the former Preston man was about to get the better of the Gunners striker and embark on one of those trademark surges.

Going through an archive of vintage Brighton footage, I found several of Lawro’s runs that rather give the wonderful impression of him as an attacking sweeper, in the style of a Beckenbauer. While by no means exhaustive, here are a few of them:

1977/78
Lawrenson’s penetrating dribble at White Hart Lane at the end of the first half looks to have run out of steam but he still salvages a corner:

1978/79
Against Orient, Lawrenson cuts through the midfield like a knife through butter but then meets his match and Ralph Coates scores in the ensuing counter-attack:

1979/80
OK, not so much of a dribble by Lawrenson here, but the winning of the under hit pass shows the advantage of having a recognised defender in an advanced position:

1980/81
An amazing slaloming run that leads the defence of Aston Villa, eventual League champions, a merry dance, only let down by the finish:

The footage I really wanted was of Lawrenson’s famous solo run and goal against Wolves in the FA Cup in 1978/79. John Vinicombe described the ninth minute goal like this:

Vintage Lawrenson. He began a run from deep inside his own half, weaving past defender after defender. From the edge of the box, he shot and the ball bounced once before flying past Bradshaw’s right hand.

Sadly, I don’t think there was ever a video recording of that. Just like Garry Nelson’s glorious goal at Brentford in the 1980s, this one is lost to history.

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