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Leigh RMI 2 Worcester City 1

By Matt Lawton
February 24 2007

RMI survived a second half onslaught to complete a league ‘double’ over play-off chasing Worcester, grabbing their first three points since defeating Workington in early January in the process. Although they showed a renewed sense of vigour in the second half of Tuesday’s game with Hinckley, RMI lost the game 3-2 and as such remained in the third and final Conference North relegation spot, making the encounter with Worcester all the more vital as RMI look to claw their way up the table towards safety.

Visiting Worcester meanwhile have struggled in recent games and visited Hilton Park in eleventh spot, having previously been one of the division’s front runners earlier in the season, though RMI did manage to claim a 2-1 victory in the corresponding fixture at St. George’s Lane earlier in the season.

Although RMI had the first chance of this afternoon’s game when a Chris Simm shot was deflected in to the side netting after he’d latched on to an Andy Roscoe through ball, it was Worcester who went in front with just fifteen minutes on the clock when a left wing cross was flicked in to the net by Adam Webster.

Leigh continued to dominate possession but lacked a cutting edge until Kevin Rapley, playing his third game for the club after scoring on his home debut in midweek, was brought down on the edge of the box, with Owen Roberts scoring his first goal for the club from the resultant free kick, although the Worcester goalkeeper could rue his luck after a big deflection disrupted the flight of the ball.

With their tails up, RMI needed barely six minutes after the equaliser to put themselves in front when Rapley raced on to a Roscoe long ball and out-muscled his marker before delightfully lobbing the goalkeeper and sending the vocal home faithful in to raptures.

Making his first appearance for several weeks in the hub of RMI’s midfield, Steve Porter worked tirelessly throughout the game and some terrific link up play with Rapley forced an early second half corner, while Gavin Lee-Ellison was impressive, despite appearing in an unfamiliar midfield role.

Although one Worcester strike was unlucky to succeed only in hitting the stanchion behind the goal after some neat link-up play, their desire to push forward left them vulnerable at the back, and a superb switch of the play from Rapley allowed substitute Kieran Lugsden to put Chris Simm in the clear, only for the RMI striker to be denied by a terrific one-handed save from the goalkeeper.

Barely seconds later, Simm had another golden opportunity to finish the game when he was able to intercept a poor back pass and dribble around the goalkeeper, only his shot to hit the side netting when it seemed certain that a third RMI goal was to be the outcome.

Simm was brought off to be replaced by ex-Preston striker Mark Jackson, and while Simm went to sit alone in the rain on the Railway End terrace, Jackson was able to cut inside on his right foot, with the goalkeeper’s parried save leaving the ball just inches away from the boot of Lugsden following up.

The visitors mounted the pressure with a succession of corners and long balls in to the area, but the RMI defence more than held their nerve and managed to hold out for a vital victory that hauls Stuart Humphreys’ side out of the relegation zone after Scarborough’s late home defeat to high-flying Hyde United.

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