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Leigh RMI 1 Southport 1

Ian Monk

By Matt Lawton
February 15 2003

Ian Monk scored on his return for Leigh RMI as they scrapped out a vital Conference point in a feisty 1-1 draw with Lancashire rivals Southport at Hilton Park. Leigh started well and pressed Steve Dickinson's goal right from the outset although they failed to create many clear cut chances. Dino Maamria, on his possible Hilton Park swansong, spurned RMI's best opportunity when he forced a magnificent save out of former team mate Dickinson in the 'Port goal. Leigh forced a succession of corners as they looked to make the breakthrough but the Southport defence stood firm.

The visitors only troubled Stuart Coburn's goal once in the opening twenty minutes when Southport striker Mike Thompson fired wildly over the crossbar. It was The Sandgrounders who took a suprise lead though against the run of play when full back Dean Howell fired past Stuart Coburn to delight the sizeable travelling support.

Southport came in to the game more and more after their goal and if anyone was going to score before half time, it looked as though it would turn out to be the visitors. However, the Leigh defence stood firm to keep the score down going in at half time.

Leigh came out for the second half a lot more determined after an undoubted rollocking from manager Mark Patterson in the changing rooms and attacked right from the outset, forcing a save from an attack straight from the kick off.

Leigh continued to pressurise the Southport goal and finally got their reward on the hour when winger Ian Monk, on his Hilton Park return following a long injury lay off, finally broke Dickinson's resistance in the Southport goal to deservedly pull RMI level.

Leigh could've, and really should've, then pressed on for a winning goal but they almost looked happy with a point and seemed to lack urgency.

Southport almost nicked an unlikely victory when Thompson beat Coburn but not Neil Durkin who cleared the ball off the line.

A draw really was a fair result as both sides really created an even number of clear cut chances but the Leigh supporters will be disappointed with the way RMI failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck following their equaliser. Leigh will certainly have to display a lot more urgency in the coming weeks after relegation rivals Gravesend & Northfleet won their Conference game today.

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