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Hucknall Town 1 Leigh RMI 3

By Matt Lawton
March 3 2007

RMI came from behind to claim all three points for the second game in succession, moving five points clear of the relegation zone. After completing a league ‘double’ over Worcester City with a 2-1 win last weekend, RMI travelled to Nottinghamshire in completing a similar feat against a Hucknall side that were defeated 4-3 in a thrilling Hilton Park encounter earlier in the season.

The preparations of Leigh boss Stuart Humphreys were hampered with the departure of Eddie Hussin to Unibond League side Marine, while midfielder Hugh McAuley found out that he is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a hernia operation in midweek. It took just a couple of minutes of play at Watnall Road for Humphreys’ engine room headache to increase when Steve Porter suffered an injury that forced him to withdraw from the action, prompting a little reorganisation that saw Andy Roscoe move in to the centre of the park with substitute Kieran Lugsden playing down the left flank.

Although it was Hucknall that had the majority of the possession during the first period, it was the visitors who created the most clear cut opportunity when a right wing Steve Settle cross found it’s way to Andy Roscoe, who’s left foot volley flew inches wide of the post from the edge of the penalty area.

Despite that being the most obvious opportunity of the half, it was the hosts that arguably came closest to breaking the deadlock when RMI goalkeeper John Lamb was called upon to make a strong stop from close range before scrambling the ball away from a penalty area that resembled a beach more than a football pitch, leaving the encounter goalless at the break.

After failing to seriously trouble Lamb for so long in the first half, RMI found their state of comfort torn from beneath them within barely a few minutes of the restart when Hucknall forward Gary Ricketts flicked on a long ball in to the path of Stephen Akers, who raced towards goal and made no mistake in slotting the ball in to Lamb’s right hand bottom corner.

Just as it always seems to be the case, that setback was quickly followed by another when centre back Mark Maddox had to leave the field through injury, with substitute Tony Filipek straight in to the action with a volley wide of the post.

It seemed that RMI had blown a massive chance to get themselves on level terms when Chris Simm found himself clean through, only for his shot to be saved by ex-RMI man James Coates in the Hucknall goal, but that disappointment turned to joy within seconds when the rebound bounced to Hucknall substitute Daryll Thomas, who inexplicably put the ball in to his own net and levelled the scores when trying to clear the ball away from the penalty area.

That stroke of luck sparked RMI in to life and after Gavin Lee-Ellison had a shot saved by Coates, he put his body on the line in winning the ball in midfield and being fouled in the process, though the referee played the advantage and as such the ball reached Chris Simm, who coolly took the ball around Coates and made no mistake in putting his side in front when putting the ball in to the empty net.

With less than fifteen minutes remaining on the clock, RMI clinched all three points when Simm again found himself beating the Hucknall offside trap and clean through on goal, this time choosing to strike early and make no mistake in curling the ball past the onrushing Coates and joining the RMI faithful behind the goal in celebrating an invaluable victory that puts RMI five points clear of third bottom Scarborough, with Leigh travelling to fellow strugglers Stalybridge in another massive game this coming Tuesday evening.

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