Latest news:

Leigh RMI 1 Nuneaton Borough 0

By Matt Lawton
January 24 2006

RMI turned the Conference North table upside down as they lifted themselves out of the relegation zone, grabbing a shock victory over second-placed Nuneaton Borough at Hilton Park. With RMI struggling at the foot of the table and Nuneaton looking to concentrate on their promotion push again after their heroic FA Cup exploits, Nuneaton boss Roger Ashby could be forgiven for looking ahead to future games against those higher-placed in the league and as a result making use of his squad players for the game at Hilton Park.

With the likes of cup hero Gez Murphy and ex-RMI midfielder Stuart Whittaker sidelined through injury, Ashby made several changes to his squad from that that has struggled on the road recently, collecting just one point from a possible twelve and failing to score in their past three away league games before tonight.

On the other hand, RMI boss Andy Nelson was boosted by the home debut of Bangor City striker Alex Hay, while winger Gary Williams made his return to Hilton Park after previously leaving the club last summer to join Conference newboys Altrincham. It could be said that after conceding twelve goals in their past three games that Nelson should've been looking to improve his defence, but after a tremendously resolute performance from his rearguard, he was proved correct in his decision, even after having to reorganise just ten minutes in to the game when Chris McGrath withdrew from the action with a recurrence of an old injury, with his place at the heart of the RMI back four being taken by Tony Dunne.

While RMI peppered Darren Acton's goal with shots from distance, the visitors twice could've taken the lead when hapless ex-West Brom striker Brian Quailey fluffed his chances, on one occasion firing the ball almost on to Atherleigh Way even when in a one-on-one situation with RMI goalkeeper John Lamb.

The aforementioned Alex Hay could've had the perfect start on his first appearance at Hilton Park but Acton saved cleverly with his legs when Hay was clean through, with the scores staying at 0-0 until half-time.

With the visitors looking to keep up the chase with pacesetters Stafford at the top of the league, the general feeling at half-time was that Nuneaton's class would tell and RMI's resistance would finally end. That prediction was thrown out of the window just five minutes in to the second half when RMI midfielder Scott Willis continued his tremendous goalscoring run that has seen him score on several occasions in recent games with a terrific strike from the edge of the box that was fit to win any game, flying past Acton in to the top corner of the net.

Alex Hay had the ball in the net for what he thought was a Hilton Park debut goal, but his joy was cut short by a justified flag for offside from the linesman. Chris Simm could've won the game late on at the back post but his shot was saved superbly by Acton from point-blank range.

Despite Nuneaton looking to chase the game and get at least a point out of the encounter, it was largely RMI who were asking all the questions, or at least that was the case until very late on when John Lamb produced a terrific save to deny a header from the edge of the box.

Several minutes of painful stoppage time followed as RMI desperately held out before the relief of the full-time whistle and a deserved three points for RMI, allowing Nuneaton to be added to the list of Stalybridge, Hinckley, Hucknall, Redditch and Harrogate on the list of Hilton Park scalps this season.

Things look much brighter all of a sudden.

View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with: