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Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3

By Matt Lawton
March 22 2011

Visitors Skelmersdale United kept their Evo-Stik League First Division North title hopes alive at Crilly Park but it wasn't without a huge scare as they ran out victors by the odd goal in five in an enthralling encounter.

With leaders Chester not playing, Skelmersdale made the trip across Lancashire knowing that a win against Leigh would bring them within four points of top spot as the league heads in to it's final stages but they struggled to get much of a foothold early on as they played up the Crilly Park slope.

The visitors were given a massive scare on twenty three minutes when skipper Michael Burke was booked for handball thirty yards out from his own goal and Stuart Rudd sent a stinging strike from the resultant free kick that Skem goalkeeper Tom Brocklehurst had to get a strong hand behind to keep out.

However, Skelmersdale would only hold out for seconds longer when the throw in that followed Brocklehurst's previous save was worked to Leigh full debutant Nikos Papargiris to send in a cross from the left flank that found Rudd at the back post to fire home against his former club and finally secure his four hundredth senior goal, ten games after he last hit the net when on his Leigh debut in a 1-1 draw at Woodley Sports.

Genesis went close to a second goal on thirty five minutes when Nathan McDonald saw a header from in front of goal well held by Brocklehurst after Connor Millington had headed a Dave Dempsey corner back in towards goal.

For what seemed to be the umpteenth time this season Leigh then threw away a one goal lead with five minutes of the first half remaining and instead ending up going in a goal behind at the break. First, Skelmersdale equalised on forty minutes when Rudd was unfortunate to claim the dubious honour of scoring at both ends when a routine free kick flicked off his head and over a stranded Phil Priestley who had come off his line to claim what seemed to be a straightforward claim. Things got even worse two minutes later when a free kick was delivered from the right hand touchline and Shaun Tuck was left unmarked at the back post and afforded enough space to pick his spot when heading home.

Home fans could be forgiven for fearing the worst when Skelmersdale extended their lead in ruthless fashion after just two minutes of the second half when the ball was pumped forward to release Ryan Wade on goal to clinically slot the ball past Priestley.

Instead of collapsing as has sometimes been the case on other occasions during the season, Leigh stepped up a gear and were right back in the game on sixty one minutes when substitute Neil Smith flicked a header on for Nathan McDonald to scramble home his second goal for the club and put the match right back in the balance.

Brocklehurst was called upon to make an excellent block from point blank range to keep out a Papargiris shot while Priestley made several terrific saves at the other end to keep the match alive.

Skelmersdale were forced to endure a succession of corner kicks with six minutes remaining, the third of which found it's way to Stuart Rudd but his ambitious overhead kick went wide of the target.

As the game headed in to stoppage time, Priestley made a fantastic save to tip over a Wade strike before Lee Parle clipped the Genesis crossbar, but it was the hosts who had the last chance of the game when Rudd wasn't aware that he'd left unmarked in the area from a free kick and instead didn't manage to threaten Brocklehurst.

Time is obviously not on Leigh's side as the end of the season draws ever nearer, but not the first time this season their fans were left asking "what if?" after putting up a valiant fight to one of the league's front runners.

Leigh's next outing sees them make the short trip to Salford City this Saturday (26th March, 1pm kick off to avoid clashing with the Wales vs. England international game) before welcoming fellow strugglers Ossett Albion to Crilly Park the following Saturday (2nd April, 3pm).

Leigh Genesis; Phil Priestley, David Webb (Neil Smith 51), Dave Dempsey, Alex Grisedale, Rob Flint, Steve Ferrigan, Dale McDonald, Connor Millington (Leyton Ellison 84), Stuart Rudd, Nathan McDonald, Nikos Papargiris (Terry Murphy 74). Subs (not used); Andrew Farrimond, Steve Brockley

Tuesday 22nd March 2011
Evo-Stik League First Division North
Crilly Park, Atherton
Attendance: 129
Half time: LGFC 1 Skelmersdale 2
Stuart Rudd (23)
Nathan McDonald (61)
Stuart Rudd (OG 40)
Shaun Tuck (42)
Ryan Wade (47)

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Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3 (IP Logged)
22/03/2011 23:10
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Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Leyther_Matt (IP Logged)
23/03/2011 00:15
Thought we deserved a point tonight though maybe that's just looking at it from the point of view that on another day we might have got a thumping at 3-1 down with 43 minutes left?

Really good performance from the lads, cut out the daft mistakes and we'd be mid-table! That's all of the top three having a scare at Crilly now.

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Nick_Astra_Army (IP Logged)
23/03/2011 02:12
gutted i missed another good game also im pleased that our scout in greece is doing a fine job!

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Leyther_Matt (IP Logged)
23/03/2011 12:48
Nik the Greek is ex-Trafford and came recommended by the McDonald brothers.

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Leyther T (IP Logged)
23/03/2011 21:22
very hard lines last night, should give salford a tough game on saturday

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Leyther_Matt (IP Logged)
23/03/2011 23:10
They seem to be in a bit of a rut at the minute but we still need to be on top of our game to get anything from it.

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Nick_Astra_Army (IP Logged)
24/03/2011 00:28
Nik the Greek is ex-Trafford and came recommended by the McDonald brothers.

so is he actually greek then? lol

Re: Leigh Genesis 2 Skelmersdale United 3
Leyther_Matt (IP Logged)
24/03/2011 09:51
No idea!

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