By Matt Lawton Despite being reduced to ten men for seventy minutes of a keenly-fought encounter, Genesis maintained their position amongst the play-off pack with a second half equaliser to claim a point against Mossley in front of the Leigh Sports Village Stadium’s largest crowd of the season so far.

After scoring two penalties in the final six minutes of the 2-1 midweek win at Clitheroe, Chris Thompson found himself in the Leigh starting line up, while Scott Sephton and Andy Heald returned to the first eleven, replacing Chris Page and Jack Dorney, who were both on the substitutes bench.

On a particularly blustery day at the Sports Village, the earliest threats on goal were certainly wind-assisted, with ex-Leigh man Karl Brown putting Stephen Drench under tremendous pressure with several inswinging corner kicks, one of which the Genesis goalkeeper came to close to inadvertently punching in his own goal, recovering at the second attempt to divert the ball over the crossbar.

Leigh’s first chances came after a bright Tom Ince run was ended by Mossley goalkeeper Peter Collinge comfortably saving his shot from distance, while Jamie Baguley was disappointed to see his attempt fail to trouble the goalkeeper after a clever Matt Jansen backheel had given him a clear view of goal.

The main talking point of the game arrived on twenty minutes when Andy Heald, scorer of Leigh’s goal when the two sides drew 1-1 at Seel Park earlier in the season, was shown a straight red card after appearing to follow through on the sliding Nick Allen, catching the Mossley midfielder in the face with his studs. A melee followed in which players from both sides were lucky to escape punishment, with Allen able to continue with the game after a period of treatment.

Understandably, being reduced to ten men saw the need for a reorganisation of the Leigh side, with Jansen sacrificed and Jack Dorney coming on to the field in his place to give Leigh a 4-4-1 formation, with Chris Thompson in the role as a lone striker.

The visitors hit the woodwork on twenty four minutes, and again it was a Brown corner that caused the problem as Graham Kay saw his header drop on to the crossbar.

Jamie Baguley saw a free kick palmed away by the goalkeeper on twenty seven minutes, with Chris Thompson adjudged to be an offside position when attempting to retrieve the rebound, but the hosts went in front on forty four minutes when the ball reached the unmarked Ben Richardson at the far post, who drilled his shot in to the top right hand corner of Drench’s net, giving Mossley a 1-0 half-time lead.

Leigh began the second half in spirited fashion, and got their reward on fifty eight minutes when Collinge failed to keep hold of Tom Ince’s shot from the edge of the area, with Thompson on hand to slide in the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.

After working so hard to get back in to the game, it looked as though Leigh might be harshly denied a share of the spoils when, with the clock kicking down, the ball fortuitously found it’s way to an unmarked Richardson on the right hand side of the penalty area, putting him clean through on goal only for Drench to save superbly with his right leg as the ball headed for the net.

Mossley came within a whisker of snatching all three points as a Richardson cross was thumped against the post by substitute Nathan Neequaye, but Leigh also had their chances with Ince in particular a constant threat on the counter attack, with arguably their best opening failing to produce an attempt on goal when, after an enterprising run, Ince’s ball was a fraction too close for substitute Chris Baguley to get a strike on goal.

The point means Leigh retain their unbeaten record at the LSV so far this season, along with sixth position in the league table, ahead of an immediate rematch with Mossley when Genesis visit Seel Park in the UniBond League Challenge Cup Second Round on Tuesday evening (7:45pm kick off).

Leigh Genesis, Stephen Drench, Scott Sephton, Kris King, Karl Munroe, Jonathan Smith, Jamie Baguley, Andy Heald, Steve Flitcroft (Chris Page), Matt Jansen (Jack Dorney), Chris Thompson (Chris Baguley), Tom Ince