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Redditch United 1 Leigh RMI 2

By Matt Lawton
August 13 2005

RMI boss Andy Nelson saw his side claim a 2-1 victory in Worcestershire in his first competitive match in charge of the club, RMI’s first game outside of the non-league top flight since May 2000. In a real ‘game of two halves’ played in almost constant torrential rain, RMI claimed an impressive victory in the face of a stern challenge from a Redditch side that claimed a top half finish in last year’s Conference North.

After an edgy opening, it looked as though it would be the same old story for RMI as they struggled to cope with the enthusiasm and pace of Redditch, with the hosts deservedly going in front early on, and they could’ve bagged a few more goals in the first period if it wasn’t for some wasteful finishing and a decent goalkeeping display from RMI’s John Lamb.

Despite the pressure from the home side which saw them go close on several occasions, hitting the post and having a shot cleared off the line, RMI somewhat undeservedly equalised during the first half when, following a couple of poor attempts on goal from set-pieces earlier in the half, Chris Simm chased an excellent through ball and found himself one-on-one with the home goalkeeper. In such a good position, you’d expect most strikers to power the ball past the goalkeeper and place it in to the corner, but Simm tamely hit his shot virtually straight at the Reds goalkeeper, only for the ball to trickle between his legs and in to the net in the greasy conditions, much to the delight of the drenched RMI fans in the rather curious-looking uncovered temporary stand behind the goal.

The hosts could’ve immediately regained the lead but a good save from Lamb denied them on the counter attack, leaving the sides level at the break.

RMI manager Andy Nelson faced his first real challenge as Leigh boss at half-time, faced with the task of lifting his demoralised troops after a poor first half performance which saw them thoroughly outplayed.

Nelson and his side responded to the challenge, arriving on to the field for the second half several minutes before their opponents, playing with renewed vigour and determination in the opening exchanges of the second stanza.

Despite more mounting pressure on the RMI goal, it was RMI who were creating the more clear cut chances and were certainly doing well to catch Redditch out with through balls behind the defence for the strikers to chase on to. It was RMI who took the lead during the second half when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball finally reach Chris Simm, who calmly slotted his second goal of the game in to the unguarded net.

Redditch forced a succession of corners towards the end of the game, with the goalkeeper joining their attack on a couple of occasions, but even the sending off of an RMI player for a second bookable offence couldn’t take this victory away from RMI, and they celebrated jubilantly at the end at the capture of the three points from their first game of the season.

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