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Leigh RMI 1 Cammell Laird 0

By Matt Lawton
November 25 2006

Ten man RMI had to ride their luck throughout a second half Cammell Laird onslaught, but they eventually claimed the victory and progress in to the next round of the FA Trophy, as well as a financial windfall with a winners cheque for £3,000. After a run of four successive victories in the Unibond League First Division, Lairds came back down to earth with an almighty crash last weekend with a 4-1 defeat at Gresley Rovers, while RMI allowed themselves to lose a one goal advantage in a 2-1 defeat at Harrogate.

On a chilly afternoon at Hilton Park, it was RMI who made the brighter start and could have taken an early lead when striker Chris Simm, returning to the side after serving a suspension, managed to resist the attention of a firm Lairds defence and dribble the ball around the goalkeeper, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by a retreating defender.

RMI continued to dominate, with Simm in particular creating havoc in the final third of the pitch. Simm won a free kick on the edge of the area after being crudely hacked down as he controlled a through ball, with Andy Roscoe’s strike from the free kick being deflected away. Roscoe’s resultant corner caught the wind and almost went straight in to the net, only for a Lairds defender to again clear the ball off the line with the goalkeeper stranded.

The home defence, featuring Steve Brockley for the first time in several months, had precious little to deal with as the visitors posed only a sporadic threat to the RMI goal, with a freak deflection at the other end almost putting RMI in front after it looped over the goalkeeper’s head, only to hit the crossbar as Leigh dominated the first half.

RMI eventually took the lead early in the second period when a superbly crisp passing move put winger Steve Settle in the clear to lash the ball in to the net for the second week in succession, with Hugh McAuley and impressive debutant John Dillon particularly prominent in the build up to the goal.

The goal finally sparked the visitors in to action, and they had a golden opportunity to restore parity when RMI full back Tony Filper, in only his second game for the club, was sent off for an alleged deliberate handball that prevented a Lairds header from going in to the goal.

Now was the time for RMI goalkeeper John Lamb to become the star of the show, and he magnificently saved the resultant penalty, before performing heroics to again deny the visitors an immediate equaliser.

As the visitors pressed forward in the hope of making their numerical advantage count, Lamb produced a string of excellent saves, both to tip the ball over the crossbar, as well bravely blocking the ball in several goalmouth scrambles.

The Leigh goal certainly led a charmed life as Lairds were continually denied by a combination of Lamb, his defence and his goalposts, but it was the bit of luck that RMI have been craving for in recent weeks, and they managed to hold on for the victory, almost doubling their advantage when Chris Simm missed a terrific opportunity when he knocked the ball wide of the target after finding himself with a clear run on goal late on.

Although Stuart Humphreys’ side can certainly consider themselves lucky not to be heading to Birkenhead for a replay on Tuesday evening, it’s the first victory that his side have enjoyed since defeating Alfreton at Hilton Park in September, and it will fill the squad with confidence ahead of the visit of Hyde United on Friday evening.

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