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Skelmersdale United 1 Leigh RMI 2

By Matt Lawton
August 11 2006

Leigh RMI completed their pre-season programme on Tuesday evening when a weakened side grabbed a 2-1 victory at Skelmersdale United. United suffered their first defeat of the pre-season campaign, but it was an entertaining game that they could’ve easily have won against an under-strength RMI side, who bounced back from Saturday's disappointing home defeat to FC United of Manchester.

The game didn’t really get off to a clever start as far as Skem were concerned, with both Arron Turner & Adam Birchall having to be replaced within the first half an hour due to injuries they picked up, with Turner replaced by Paul Rogers in the 16th minute with ankle ligament trouble after a poor tackle.

Both of Leigh’s goals came via counter attacks, the first of which followed Michael Douglas’ one-on-one with the keeper, which was blocked but could changed the course of the game had it gone in, but on the break Dan Owen headed home a cross which hit the ground first and sneaked over Robbie Holcroft’s head, though the Skem goalkeeper got a fingertip to the ball.

United were caught flatfooted once again as Leigh countered another attack and it was via the same wing again and a three man move which ended with a square ball to Chris Simm who slotted the ball wide of Holcroft from just inside the box.

Leigh fancied themselves for a comfortable victory it seemed as they searched for a third goal with Drew coming close in the 27th minute with a 25-yard effort which hit the top of the crossbar.

Adam Birchall had to leave the pitch with a suspected rib fracture on the half hour mark and Dave Standley was his replacement. Tactical switches were made on the pitch to accommodate Standley, but if anything Skem looked tighter at the back as a result.

Carl Osman tried to lob the keeper after good build-up play by United, but the keeper made a comfortable save.

A minute from the half time interval Skem reduced the arrears. Michael Douglas played a through ball for Paul Rogers to chase. With only the keeper to beat but from an acute angle Rogers first shot was blocked, the follow-up however was poked over the line.

From Tom Harwick’s free kick, trailist Tosin Onibydo come close to restoring parity for the hosts just after the break as he sneaked in a the far post to head the ball goalward bound only to see his effort scooped off the line by the keeper.

United pressed RMI hard for most of the second half, but defensively the visitor’s stood firm, and the only effort of any note was a mazy run by Carl Osman, who should’ve been selfish and had a go himself but instead he squared it to Rogers. The ball became entangled under his feet, and just as he almost gained control, the ball was cleared.

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