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Cammell Laird 1 Leigh RMI 1

By Matt Lawton
July 25 2007

A second half Phil Charnock equaliser earned Leigh RMI a spare of the spoils from their second pre-season friendly of the summer in a relatively even encounter away to Unibond Premier League outfit Cammell Laird, a game that saw some of the fringe players of Stuart Humphreys' side appear for the majority of the proceedings.

After his side's 3-1 defeat at Lancaster City in their first friendly of the summer, Leigh boss Stuart Humphreys took the opportunity to utilise much of his squad, with the likes of Mark Jackson and Lee Unsworth starting the game after being originally on the bench on Saturday, while opponents Cammell Laird fielded ex-RMI man Lee Atherton at the heart of their defence.

It was ex-Preston striker Jackson, starting in place of the rested Kevin Rapley, that had two of the game's early opportunties, firing his first shot wildly over the crossbar before forcing the Lairds goalkeeper in to a decent save after some good build up work from the impressive Dan Owen allowed Michael Warwick to deliver a terrific cross, similar to the one that helped Rapley score RMI's goal in the game at Lancaster on Saturday.

Although RMI goalkeeper John Lamb had a warning shot to deal with when a shot-cum-cross almost caught him out and hit the outside of his post, he had relatively little to deal with until Leigh centre back Gavin Lee-Ellison made a hash of dealing with a long ball that left the onrushing Lairds striker with the simply task of slotting the ball past a helpless Lamb.

As was emphasised in the wake of the defeat to Lancaster, the result isn't the main thing that matters in such friendly games, but Leigh were in no mood to suffer their second loss within a week and came inches from levelling the scores when an accurate Unsworth cross was looped agonisingly wide of goal by the busy Owen in the final action of the first period.

Although RMI were a goal behind at the break, they were back on level terms barely a matter of minutes after the restart when a cross from the hardworking Unsworth was delightfully laid off by Mark Jackson to midfielder Phil Charnock, who made no mistake in drilling the ball in to the net from outside the penalty area.

Midfielder Scott Willis entered the fray and came close to putting RMI in front with a free kick from just outside the box that flew wide of the post.

That particular free kick had occured after the linesman had spotted a handball outside of his area by the goalkeeper, and although the Lairds man was allowed to remain on the field, Willis was to have no such luck only a matter of seconds later. After a minor midfield altercation, the referee asked the Leigh management team to subtitute Willis for his part in the feud, saving him a red card and potential suspension in view of the nature of the game.

Much of the second half belonged to RMI, but as each side started to make more and more substitutions, goalscoring chances started to wear thin, although Jackson was unlucky to be denied by a smart low save from the goalkeeper, with the immediate rebound being deflected wide of the target.

Winger Steve Settle, one of RMI's most impressive performers of last season, came on as a substitute and later in the game found himself moved to the rather unfamiliar position of centre forward, where his pace and spacial awareness could prove to be a vital weapon in Leigh's attack.

Indeed, it was Settle who was to have the final chance of the game when he was denied by the goalkeeper's legs after he found himself clean through on goal, but a draw proved to be a fair result and another physical encounter will have helped RMI to prepare for their trip to face Colwyn Bay on the North Wales coast this coming Saturday.


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