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Lawrence hits spot as Wales beat Lithuania

Wales 2-0 Lithuania
Geraint Williams told UEFA.com: "The scoreline didn't flatter us," after his Wales team bounced back with two Thomas Lawrence penalties.

Wales manager Geraint Williams
Wales manager Geraint Williams ©Getty Images

Two first-half penalties from Manchester United FC forward Thomas Lawrence secured Wales three points in Bangor as they eased past Lithuania and revived their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1 campaign.

Beaten by San Marino and held in Moldova last month, Wales moved level with England and Lithuania – and a point behind leaders Finland – with what was a restorative victory. Although the Lithuanians pushed hard after the break, Wales manager Geraint Williams told UEFA.com: "The scoreline didn't flatter us."

Ellis Harrison, whose strength on the ball allowed Wales to pressure their visitors, shot over on three minutes and did so again after the impressive Tomas Birškys had been denied by Connor Roberts. However, in the 21st minute Billy Bodin was brought down in the box and Lawrence converted.

Wales were clearly lifted by the goal and Lawrence, Harrison and Wesley Burns all came close to extending their advantage before the second eventually arrived. Lawrence weaved his way into the area on 40 minutes, only to be upended by Martynas Dapkus. The striker picked himself up to double Wales's lead. On 44 minutes, Burns almost put the result beyond doubt yet his effort was saved by goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevičius.

Wales dominated long periods of the second half as Lidakevičius pulled off fine saves to deny both Bodin and Burns on four occasions when a third Welsh goal appeared inevitable. One particular world-class stop on the hour was the pick of the impressive bunch, though in added time Dovydas Norvilas's floated free-kick deceived home custodian Roberts and hit the bar.

Williams said: "We created a lot of chances and made their goalkeeper work, which is something we haven't done recently. He made three or four fantastic saves, we have kept a clean sheet, and we have earned ourselves a 2-0 win with a good performance.

"It was an important win for the players. We play possession football, but what we must not lose sight of is working hard to get the ball back and to be intelligent when we have the ball. Between both boxes we have been as good as anyone in this group, but inside the 18-yard line we haven't taken our chances. Things came together for us today."