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Leigh RMI 0 FC United of Manchester 4

By Matt Lawton
August 5 2006

RMI's unbeaten pre-season run came crashing to an end as they were humiliated by FC United of Manchester at Hilton Park this afternoon. One year on from making their debut with a friendly at Hilton Park on a sun-drenched July afternoon, FC United of Manchester and their legions of vociferous supporters arrived in the Leigh rain, harbouring hopes of another season of promotion as they prepare for life in the first division of the North West Counties league.

On Tuesday evening, United visited Conference National side Halifax Town and came away from West Yorkshire with a resounding 4-2 victory. Star of the show that night was striker Steve Torpey, a player who certainly caught the eye last season as United romped to the second division championship, and as a result was offered a full-time contract with Halifax, which he accepted earlier this week. Despite that set back, Karl Marginsonís side, who featured former RMI players Liam Coyne, Steve Smith and Leon Mike during the course of the game, arrived at Hilton Park keen to test themselves against opposition from a higher league.

If that was their intention, then they may well have left Leigh disappointed after a torrid performance from the home side gifted a comfortable victory to the visitors. RMI boss Andy Nelson is sure to be fuming at the lack of attacking play offered by his side, with Leigh failing to manage a single shot on target in the entire ninety minutes, with only Scott Willis and George Melling coming anything near to the goal, and even then only in the first half.

As such, the action was almost exclusively at the other end, and former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper James Salisbury, making his second home Ďdebutí in the RMI goal after he returned to the club earlier in the week, miserably failed his first test when a weak shot from United winger Rory Patterson squeezed underneath his body and in to the back of the net, much to the delight of the travelling hordes in red.

Salisburyís day didnít get any better as United soon doubled their lead when a massive mix-up in the RMI box when failing to effectively clear a cross led to Leigh captain Andy Roscoe embarrassingly fumbling the ball past his own goalkeeper.

After impressive performances so far this summer, RMIís confidence, both on and off the field, was crushed, and it came as no surprise that United grabbed their third goal before the break. A long ball upfield from former RMI centre back Coyne caused confusion in the home defence, with the ball finding itís way to the impressive winger Patterson, who hit an excellent shot in to the corner of the net from outside the penalty area.

Both sides made several substitutions during the course of the second half, and the game lost a lot of itís rhythm as a result. RMI continued to provide no threat whatsoever in the opposition half, with United duly grabbing their fourth goal late on when substitute goalkeeper James Mann was beaten from a header.

After a previously encouraging pre-season campaign, morale is now at a very low ebb amongst the small RMI faithful, and a big performance will be needed at Skelmersdale United on Tuesday evening in RMIís final pre-season game ahead of the league visit to Vauxhall Motors next Saturday.

Indeed, things can only get better.

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