Saturday 18th February 2006

Stafford Rangers 0 Leigh RMI 0
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 1035

Leigh RMI defended stubbornly for ninety minutes and became the first side to stop the leaders from scoring in a Nationwide North game this season.

Well beaten in two meetings with Rangers this season at Hilton Park, the Railwaymen clearly came to Marston Road intent on gaining a point, which they did.

But Stafford manager Phil Robinson refused to be disheartened. He said: “It is a point in the right direction. We thought it was going to be difficult. They kept a lot of bodies behind the ball and didn’t seem too intent on getting forward.”

The kick-off was delayed by twenty minutes after assistant referee, Mr Hall, suffered a calf injury in the warm-up.

Once the game got underway with a replacement official, the visitors should have an early lead. Chris Simm got clear down the right but home goalkeeper Dean Williams blocked the resulting shot at the near post.

Stafford took a while to get going and midway through the first half, Levi Reid delivered a deep diagonal cross from the right to the far post. The ball fell to Nathan Smith who blasted a shot over.

Stafford almost broke through on 42 minutes. From Gibson’s corner, Craig McAughtrie saw a header blocked on the line by goalkeeper James Coates and Tony Dunne got in the way of a follow-up shot from Neil Grayson.

An injury to Coates forced the visitors to change their goalkeeper at the interval and replacement John Lamb eventually emerged a hero.

Rangers, themselves, made a double substitution on the hour mark with substitutes Peter Thomson and Dave Walker forming a revised attack.

The change looked to be working as Leigh’s rock-solid defence started to look shaky. Walker sent an angled shot inches wide and had another effort blocked.

Leigh regained the solidity at the back, though in the closing stages, defenders got in the way of shots from Craig Lovatt and Walker before Lamb pulled off a fabulous save in injury time.

Kevin Street crossed into a crowded area where Paul Groves fired towards goal. Lamb, diving at full length, pushed the ball away and McAughtrie sliced a follow-up shot wide.

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Reid (walker, 59), Street, Grayson, Smith (Thomson, 59), R. Gibson. Unused subs: Murray, Downes, Edwards.

Leigh RMI: Coates (Lamb, ht), Harris, Roscoe, Stoker, Brockley, Dunne, Settle (Shillito, 73), Willis, Simm, McDowell, Wilkinson (Thompson, 90). Unused subs: Lopez, Taylor.

Referee: S. A. Pardoe (Crewe).
Attendance: 1,035.

Goals: -

Bookings: McDowell (Leigh, 81).

Non-League Paper Star Man: Steve Brockley (Leigh).
Sponsors Man of the Match: Craig McAughtrie.