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Hucknall Town 2 Leigh RMI 2

By Matt Lawton
April 24 2006

RMI threw away a two goal half-time advantage away at Hucknall, but with relegation rivals Redditch trashed 5-1 at Stalybridge, RMI's point could prove vital in their fight against the drop. As the end of the season draws nearer and nearer, the importance of each and every goal increases by the second, let alone how important each point is as RMI fight against their second successive relegation.

RMI went in to the game smarting from their 5-1 defeat at Hinckley on Bank Holiday Monday, leaving them level on points with relegation rivals Redditch United with two games of the season remaining.

After such a heavy defeat in their previous encounter, the signs looked ominous for RMI when Hucknall went on the attack early on, but John Lamb was on hand in the RMI goal to superbly tip a Michael Frew header over the crossbar.

That sparked RMI in to action and it was to the Railwaymen that the first half belonged to.

Scott Willis and Neil Smith both had chances to give RMI in the lead before defender Chris McGrath fired through a crowd of bodies following a corner to put RMI a goal in front just after the half hour mark.

RMI continued to dominate, and they doubled their lead just five minutes before the break when Scott Willis headed the ball across goal, allowing Neil Smith to make up for his earlier miss and scramble the ball home from close range.

With a 2-0 lead at half-time, the game seemed over for sure.

Hucknall pressed forward in the second half, but RMI seemed quite content to protect their existing lead, which merely resulted in them being pushed further and further back towards their own goal. Despite the mounting pressure, Hucknall found it hard to break through RMI's stubborn defence, and it wasn't until there were just ten minutes remaining in the game that the hosts pulled a goal back, when Michael Frew put in a cross for substitute Gary Ricketts to head the ball past Lamb.

RMI defended desperately and it seemed as though they had survived for a vital three points, until they were cruelly denied victory when Ricketts scored his second of the game to level the scores deep in to injury time at the end of the game.

RMI have only themselves to blame for throwing away victory so late on, but they will have been boosted by the fact that Redditch were hammered 5-1 at Stalybridge, leaving RMI a point in front of the Worcestershire side with just one game remaining, although RMI have to face champions Northwich at home next Saturday in their final game of the season.

It's become apparent that RMI may well be docked a point for fielding an ineligible player earlier this season, and although this is yet to be officially confirmed, it would leave both RMI and Redditch going in to their final game level on points in another twist of the tale.

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