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Leigh RMI 2 Gainsborough Trinity 0

By Matt Lawton
August 28 2006

Stuart Humphreys' magnificent start to his managerial career continued at Hilton Park this afternoon as his RMI side waltzed to an impressive 2-0 victory over high-flying Gainsborough. When Stuart Humphreys took the reigns as RMI manager following the resignation of predecessor Andy Nelson, Leigh were struggling at the foot of the table with two defeats from their opening two games, conceding five goals and scoring just two in the process. However, since the change in manager, RMI's defence was become a by-word for solidity, with this afternoon's clean sheet being John Lamb's fourth in a row, meaning that RMI are still yet to concede a goal under the guidance of their new manager.

It's a situation that was unthinkable only a matter of weeks ago, but such was the quality of RMI's defending this afternoon, the game could've continued for another fortnight and the visitors still might not have hit the target, despite lying in fourth place in the Conference North before this afternoon's game.

The home side made a flying start to the game, and they were in front within ten minutes when a terrific left-wing free kick from captain Andy Roscoe was flighted perfectly on to the head of right back Gavin Lee Ellison, who promptly hammered the ball in to the net to send the vocal home support in to raptures.

Mindful that RMI had enjoyed similarly successful starts earlier in the season when they'd scored the first goal in the defeats to Vauxhall Motors and Farsley Celtic, the nerves were there for all to see, not only amongst the RMI supporters, but also a couple of the home side's players as Gainsborough slowly edged their way back in to the encounter, although failing to significantly trouble John Lamb's goal.

As RMI's confidence began to grow during the course of the first half, they started to entertain their fans with a couple of periods of scintillating passing football, much to the delight of the locals, creating a couple of decent chances in the process.

The visitors enjoyed a certain amount of pressure on the RMI goal shortly before the interval, but such is the growth in stature of RMI's defence that even a series of corners for the away side failed to knock the determination of the home defence to keep the ball away from goal.

Despite two enforced first half substitutions limited their capacity to change things around, Gainsborough came out for the second half with a far more determined attitude in the hope of at least gaining a point from the game, but it was RMI who had by far the best scoring opportunity early in the second stanza, with a terrific twenty-five yard Andy Roscoe free kick hammering the woodwork with the Trinity goalkeeper Adam Sollitt reduced to a virtual spectator as the ball flew past him.

As the second half wore on, Gainsborough started to enjoy a lot more possession and territory, putting the RMI defence under an increased amount of pressure, yet still they failed to pose a particular threat, despite throwing more men in to attack, with the latter meaning the visitors were becoming more and more vulnerable to a counter attack.

The match-clinching second goal didn't come from a breakaway though, with midfielder Scott Willis, who surprisingly started the game on the substitutes bench, scoring a sublime free kick from well outside the area with just fifteen minutes left, with the ball flying in to the net with the aid of the underside of the crossbar.

Cue to the party on the terraces with victory all but sealed.

The visitors poured forward in the desperate hope of at least pulling one goal back, but it was RMI who were the most likely to score when a thrilling counter attack ended with Chris Simm putting the ball inches past the post when clean through, while John Lamb and his defence stood firm at the other end.

All in all, a fully deserved victory for RMI, and one that will greatly help the confidence of the side with such a comprehensive win over a side that were riding high in the league before this afternoon's game. Although the chants of RMI winning promotion this season may be somewhat premature, the confidence in the Leigh ranks is growing with every result.

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