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Leigh RMI 0 Workington 1

By Matt Lawton
October 1 2005

A woefully lacklustre Leigh RMI performance saw them fall to a deserved 1-0 defeat to Cumbrian strugglers Workington on a bright early autumn day at Hilton Park. With a massive FA Cup tie against Gainsborough Trinity coming up next weekend and RMI high on confidence after overcoming a tricky tie at Chester-le-Street last Saturday with a 3-1 victory, hopes were high amongst the Hilton Park faithful that Andy Nelson’s side would play with plenty of heart and passion in an effort to claim their shirts for next weekend. Instead, they were disheartened to see an incredibly lazy and lethargic performance from the RMI side, in complete contrast to the visitors, who belied their lowly position in the league with a busy and workmanlike performance.

Despite the eventual outcome, it was RMI who had the bulk of the play early on, with Lee Thompson lively up front while RMI captain Andy Roscoe went close with a free kick before Gareth Stoker tested his range with a couple of shots from distance.

As the half bore on, the visitors came to the fore and should’ve taken the lead when a terrible back-pass from Roscoe put Workington clean through, only to hit the outside of the post with only John Lamb to beat in the RMI goal.

Neither side failed to take a couple of chances shortly before half-time and the sides went in level at half-time after a first period fairly bereft of any clear goalscoring chances for either side, apart from the visitors hitting the woodwork.

The second half saw RMI at their lethargic best, consistently giving the ball away and showing a clear lack of a cutting edge, whilst the visitors sniffed their chance and significantly stepped up their game. The Cumbrians deservedly took the lead early in the second stanza when Lee Atherton inexplicably played the ball across his own goal, landing straight at the feet of Reds striker Craig Johnson, who couldn’t believe his own luck and was almost embarrassed to comfortably put the ball past a perplexed Lamb, much to the fury of RMI supporters and management alike.

As RMI pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Lee Thompson and Steve Smith left the field to be replaced by strikers Chris Simm and debutant Leon Mike, Ryan McDowell tried to lead the way and showed a bit of initiative to find his way in to the box before going down under a soft challenge. The referee ignored the half-hearted appeals of the RMI support only to give the penalty and give RMI a golden chance of an equaliser after one of his assistants brought his attention to the incident.

Much maligned winger Roscoe looked to appease his doubters by confidently stepping up to the take penalty, only to hit a dire shot far too close to the goalkeeper, who parried the ball straight to the feet of Roscoe on the rebound. A certain goal you’d think? Not so. With the goalkeeper stranded on the ground and with the whole of the goal to aim for, Roscoe somehow managed to fail to score and hit the ball straight in to the grateful arms of the goalkeeper. From then on, it was never likely to be RMI’s day.

Workington could’ve snatched a second goal before the end while RMI failed to create any serious chances of an equaliser, meekly failing to defeat as the visitors celebrated only their second victory of the season.

With a cup run such a massive target and the prize money so desperately needed by RMI, next weekend’s game with Gainsborough is a massive challenge and RMI will certainly have to book up their ideas if they are to progress to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.

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