WALES proved they can win without Gareth Bale as a stunning second-half strike from Tom Lawrence kept their World Cup dream alive in Georgia.

Chris Coleman’s men hadn’t tasted victory without their talisman since 2013 and the last time Wales won away from home without the Real Madrid star was in Azerbaijan back in 2009.

But they shook off the ‘one-man team’ tag with a composed performance to earn a fully-deserved three points in Tbilisi and stay on track for a place in Russia next summer.

It means Wales go into Monday’s final qualifier knowing that another win against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff will almost certainly be enough to secure second place in Group D and earn a place in next month’s play-offs.

Coleman made two changes from last month’s win in Moldova with Joe Ledley reclaiming his midfield spot and Sam Vokes replacing Hal Robson-Kanu up front.

With no Bale, the onus was on Aaron Ramsey to inspire Wales to victory.

And the Arsenal midfielder almost marked his 50th cap with a goal after only three minutes.

Lawrence, who retained his place ahead of teenage star Ben Woodburn, picked out Ramsey’s run into the box but the former captain sent a left foot shot just wide.

The next opportunity fell to Andy King as Joe Allen chipped the ball over the home defence and King’s volley was fired into the ground and palmed away by Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria.

Vokes did well to get across his man after half an hour but he could only help Ramsey’s cross on its way beyond Loria’s far post.

Lawrence then got a sighter as he was played in by Allen and Vokes and curled a shot a yard over the top from 20 yards.

The hosts had barely threatened in the first half but Wales got a warning if the threat that Georgia can pose.

Right-back Otar Kakabadze wriggled free of his man and sent in a dangerous cross but striker Giorgi Kvilitaia headed well wide.

As the half-time whistle sounded Coleman’s men were left to rue their missed chances and thoughts began to turn to the potential introduction of Woodburn and Robson-Kanu from the bench.

But a moment of magic from Lawrence put Wales in charge just four minutes after the break.

The Derby County forward received the ball from Ramsey and turned his man brilliantly before unleashing a thunderbolt of a shot with his right foot from 20 yards that was just too powerful for Loria to keep out.

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It was the 23-year-old’s first goal for his country in his ninth cap and he may never score a more important one.

Full of confidence, Lawrence almost doubled his tally three minutes later as he cut in from the left flank and curled the ball just past the post from the edge of the area.

Allen then played Vokes in with a cheeky back-heel in the box but the Burnley striker’s shot was blocked at close range.

The visitors continued to dominate and Ramsey forced a save from Loria as he burst into the box with Vokes failing to poke in the rebound.

That was Vokes’ final contribution as he was replaced by Robson-Kanu for the closing stages.

Wales continued to push for a second goal but at the other end Wayne Hennessey didn’t have a save to make until he denied Giorgi Merebashvili with his legs in the 79th minute.

And, despite a few nervy moments at the death, in the end one goal was enough to ensure that there is still everything to play for against the Irish on Monday night.

Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Ashley Williams, Chester, Davies, King, Allen, Ledley (Edwards, 81), Ramsey, Lawrence (Woodburn, 90), Vokes (Robson-Kanu, 74)

Subs not used: Maxwell, Taylor, Bradshaw, Brooks, Lockyer, Jonathan Williams, Ampadu, Hedges, Ward

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain)

Argus star man: Lawrence