Leigh RMI 1 Morecambe 0

LEIGH RMI avenged their Nationwide Variety Club Trophy defeat at Christie Park by defeating lowly Morecambe last night - but not without a significant fright.

Morecambe were the dominant side in the first period and did not take long to threaten Dave Felgate's goal.

Adriano Rigoglioso arrowed a powerful free kick wide of the target from 20 yards on five minutes, while Robbie Talbot should have done better with his attempt after being put through by John Hardiker.

The home side, driven by a realistic target of qualifying for next season's LDV Vans Trophy were anonymous in the first period, evidently missing the young centre-half Neil Durkin for the third successive game.

The gaping holes in defence were alarmingly present before the break, as Robbie Talbot - scorer of four of the five goals in the cup tie - presented substitute Colin Hunter with a glorious chance to open the scoring on the line, only for the striker to hit the post from two yards out. Felgate smothered Talbot's rebound to ensure that the scoresheet remained blank at the interval.

The second half almost mustered a pre-season style atmosphere as neither side created any notable chances in front of goal; Leigh supporters seemed to have had their quota of entertainment from the Yeovil Town five-goal thriller earlier in the week.

It was always apparent that Morecambe would be punished for their woeful evening in front of goal and the reality was cemented with Ged Kielty's excellent winner nine minutes from time. Steve Jones whipped in an exceptional cross from the left hand side which found Kielty with his back to goal. In an instance he had controlled the ball exquisitely on the chest and powered home a superb volley despite the valiant efforts of Andrew Banks in the Morecambe goal.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game, and there were few threats on Leigh's lead afterwards - the home side holding on for the three points that maintains their sixth position.

Other matches around the nation also affected Leigh on Thursday. Margate's victory in the Dr.Martens League means that they will almost certainly be Conference opponents next season for the Railwaymen, while Surrey outfit Kingstonian, of FA Cup fame this year, were relegated from the Conference after a goalless draw at Chester City. Leigh have only two matches remaining now, starting with their last Hilton Park fixture of a successful season against Kingstonian tomorrow, to be followed by a visit to Morecambe on May 5.

RMI: Felgate, Spooner (Harris 46), German, Trees, Farrell, Swan, Monk, Ridings, Kielty, Black (Hayder 81), Jones. Substitutes not used: Connelly, Morrell, Dootson. Attendance: 467 Referee: Mr.G.Brittain.