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Leigh RMI 1 Moor Green 3

By Matt Lawton
March 11 2006

RMI slipped further in to the relegation mire after they fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to Moor Green, despite dominating the first half at Hilton Park. After falling to defeat at Lancaster on Tuesday evening, RMI were quickly back in action and looking to make amends when mid-table side Moor Green made the trip to Hilton Park.

Thursday evening saw Leigh Miners Rangers take on National League One side Rochdale Hornets in the third round of the Powergen Challenge Cup in front of over 1,000 people at Hilton Park, despite constant torrential rain, and it was clear to see the effect that that particular game had on the pitch, ruling out any chance of free-flowing football from either side.

It was RMI who started the brighter this afternoon, Alex Hay being brought down on the edge of the area, with Leigh captain Andy Roscoe, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role, testing the Moor Green goalkeeper with the resultant free kick.

The Moor Green defence were being put under a certain amount of pressure and Wesley Wilkinson was unlucky to strike the ball across the face of goal after doing superbly to avoid the attentions of both Moors centre backs and their goalkeeper, before Chris Simm shaved the post with an audacious curling shot from outside the penalty area.

A mistake from the Moor Green goalkeeper saw him completely miss the ball and present Alex Hay with a terrific chance, but his goalbound shot was cleared away by a man on the line with the goalkeeper well beaten.

The pressure increased on the half hour mark with a shot again cleared off the line, this time Chris Simm failing to get the ball past a wall of bodies camped in the Moor Green goalmouth as RMI searched for an elusive opening goal.

That opening goal should've arrived with less than ten minutes remaining of the first half, with Alex Hay latching on to a terrific Roscoe through ball, only to be denied by the goalkeeper with the odds stacked in his favour in a one-on-one situation when clean through on goal.

The Moor Green penalty area resembled a siege as two more shots were cleared off the line in quick succession, this time Chris Simm and Wesley Wilkinson being denied by desperate last-ditch defending from the visitors.

It seemed only a matter of time before RMI would take the lead, but with the half-time whistle fast approaching, it was the visitors who went in front against the run of play when the RMI defence misjudged a long through ball, allowing Gary McPhee to smash the ball past James Coates in the RMI goal and give Moor Green a one goal advantage at the break.

Within the first couple of minutes of the second half, RMI boss Andy Nelson made the perplexing decision to take off both of his strikers and replacing them with Lee Thompson and Gary Williams, despite Chris Simm and Alex Hay representing by far RMI's best chance of grabbing an equaliser.

The risk certainly didn't pay off and the visitors had doubled their lead within a matter of minutes, when RMI failed to defend a free kick properly and allowed Lee Collins to score Moor Green's second goal of the afternoon.

Substitute Thompson, who seems to have put on a certain amount of weight since returning to the club from Skelmersdale, was then brought off barely a few minutes after entering the fray when he suffered a rather nasty head injury in an aerial clash with an opponent, with Ben Ashmole coming on to replace the injured party.

The scoreline reached almost rout proportions when the RMI defence went AWOL and allowed Phil Trainer the simple task of putting the visitors three goals ahead.

Ben Ashmole then missed a good chance to pull a goal back before an excellent Wes Wilkinson volley saw the scoreline pegged back to 3-1 with seventeen minutes remaining on the clock. An unlikely comeback looked on the cards when the ball seemingly crossed the goal-line following an RMI corner, but much to the frustration of RMI's players and supporters alike, the linesman and referee both refused to budge and controversially didn't award a goal.

Winger Lee Shillito used his pace to beat the Moor Green full back late on and send in an inch perfect cross, only for Ashmole to head the ball over, but by then the game was lost and RMI disappointingly fell further in to trouble, with their misery only compounded with the news that relegation rivals Vauxhall Motors and Hednesford both winning this afternoon, leaving RMI just a point clear of bottom spot, with a six-pointer at second bottom Worksop to come next Saturday.

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