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Leigh RMI 0 Lancaster City 1

By Matt Lawton
September 12 2006

The first half sending off of RMI goalkeeper James Mann proved to be crucial as Leigh fell to their second home defeat in the space of a week in a game they could've so easily won. Lancaster made the short journey to Hilton Park this evening struggling in the second bottom position in the Conference North without a win so far this season and only ahead of Scarborough because of the North Yorkshire side's ten point deduction at the start of the season.

RMI meanwhile went in to the game on the back of two consecutive defeats, albeit at the hands of high-flying Blyth and Kettering, though Saturday's defeat to the Poppies came cruelly in injury time when the visitors scored their second goal in a 2-1 loss for RMI.

Regular goalkeeper John Lamb was left out of the side, with James Mann making his start of the season between the sticks and young goalkeeper Danny Moreton taking his place on the substitutes bench, while midfielder Hugh McAuley made his full debut for the club, with Scott Willis left out of the squad altogether.

The home side made a particularly bright start and could've taken the lead early on when striker Chris McDonagh had his goalbound shot tipped superbly around the post by Lancaster goalkeeper Jon Kennedy, while Chris Simm proved to be a constant menace to the Lancaster defence as RMI dominated early proceedings.

However, it was the visiting Dolly Blues that took a surprise lead after twenty five minutes when former Chester striker Mark Beesley took advantage of some lethargic RMI defending to send the ball past the reach of Mann and arrowing in to the bottom corner with his side's first shot of the game.

Despite that setback, the game returned to it's previous pattern and RMI should've been level shortly after going behind when Chris Simm beat several players on an excellent weaving run, before his shot from outside the area smashed against the crossbar with ex-Worksop goalkeeper Kennedy beaten. The ball was then hammered upfield to the edge of the RMI penalty area, and with James Mann stranded in no man's land, he had no choice but to drag down a Lancaster striker to prevent a certain goal. Predictably, the result was a red card and the game was turned on it's head with winger Steve Settle having to be replaced by reserve goalkeeper Danny Moreton.

He was called almost immediately in to action but was up to the test to palm the ball away from goal.

Despite having the one man disadvantage, RMI boss Stuart Humphreys went for broke in the second half, bringing on attacking players in the form of Lee Shillito and Dan Owen in a bid to aid Simm up front, but despite a certain degree of huffing and puffing around the Lancaster penalty area, they failed to get on the scoresheet and the visitors were able to celebrate an unlikely first victory of the season.

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