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Leigh RMI 1 Kettering Town 2

By Matt Lawton
September 9 2006

An injury time goal from Kettering gave the visitors all three points and condemned RMI to their second successive defeat at a sun-drenched Hilton Park. After managing to prevent any of their Conference North opponents from scoring a goal for nearly seven hours of football, RMI came back down to earth with a bump last weekend with a 1-0 defeat at league leaders Blyth, and they welcomed another high-flying side in the form of Kettering to a sun-drenched Hilton Park, a complete contrast to last weekend's North Eastern monsoon.

RMI started almost brightly as the weather and after creating a couple of chances with through-balls past the Kettering defence, Chris McDonagh sliced the visiting defence with a perfect pass that gave winger Steve Settle all the time in the world to pick his spot and put the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper in to the net with less than ten minutes on the clock.

Instead of sitting back on their lead, RMI had Kettering on the back foot and continued to create chances, and could've doubled their lead when Chris McDonagh found himself in a great position, only for his shot to fly inches wide of the post.

As RMI continued to put on the pressure, they had a penalty appeal turned down when it seemed that the arm of a Kettering defender had blocked one of several shooting attempts in a manic goalmouth scramble, before the visitors finally managed to clear the ball.

After that early period of pressure that could've maybe seen RMI a couple of goals to the good, the pattern of the game was turned almost completely on it's head as Kettering started to enjoy more and more of the ball, and increasing John Lamb's workload in the RMI goal as a result, although the Leigh defence stood firm as it has done so many times in recent games and ensured that the home side remained in the lead at the break.

Kettering started the second half like a house on fire, with the ball almost a permanent fixture in the RMI penalty area. It looked as though it could be RMI's lucky day as the visitors squandered several chances, while Lamb was grateful that his goalpost saved him on one occasion, before the pressure finally told and Kettering substitute Marna levelled the scores on the hour mark.

Despite the introduction from the bench of striker Chris Simm, RMI continued to fail to pose a serious threat and the one-way traffic continued. The visitors should've taken the lead for the first time with twenty minutes remaining, but the ball somehow ended up flying over the Chadwick Street End crossbar when the Poppies winger had a clear sight of goal only a few yards out.

Just when RMI thought they had survived, the fourth official signalled that there would be five minutes of injury time to be added on, and the visitors almost immediately grabbed the winner when Rene Howe took advantage of some hesitation in the RMI back four to poke the ball in to the net and send the sizeable travelling support in to raptures.

As on so many occasions in the past, RMI had fought some bravely, only to be felled at the death, and they'll have to pick themselves up ahead of Tuesday's derby game at home to Lancaster City.

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