Leigh RMI 3 Morecambe 1

Last updated : 24 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Lowly Leigh RMI put a dent into Morecambe's promotion hopes with this fine victory at Hilton Park aided and abetted by a David McNiven hat-trick.

The Leigh marksman brought his tally for the season to 20, 18 in the Conference, and the victory ended a dreadful run of five straight defeats for Leigh.

The visitors will be kicking themselves all the way home for they had much the better of the first half creating many chances that went begging before McNiven struck three minutes before and three minutes after the break.

He concluded his hat-trick just after the hour from the penalty spot and it was left to Ryan Sugden to pull a consolation goal back for the visitors in the fourth minute of injury time.

Ian Martin, in the home goal, was much the busier and he made a fine save in the 17th minute when Sugden headed Kieran Walmsley's cross straight at the keeper.

Sugden again provided the danger three minutes later when he cut in from the left to curl a right foot shot over the angle of post and bar.

Stewart Drummond was robbed in midfield by Paul Shepherd who then sent Andy Roscoe free down the left. He picked out Chris Lane when he could not direct his header on target.

In the 24th minute, Sugden rounded keeper Martin and it was left to Martyn Lancaster to clear the shot off the line.

Kris McHale did well to win the ball on the left before shooting tamely at Craig Mawson.

The best chance of the game fell to Sugden after he was set up by Nick Rogan. He picked out the striker with a square ball and he had the easiest of tasks of side-footing the ball into the empty net but struck the foot of the post and the ball with the rebound bouncing to safety.

Keeper Martin then pulled off a superb point-blank range save from Jim Bentley's header and it proved a vital effort.

Leigh came away immediately with Lane having a shot blocked by Mawson with McNiven on hand to tap home the rebound.

The same combination came up trumps again for RMI three minutes after the break. Lane crossing from the right and McNiven tapping home once more.

Martin saved well from Rogan but Leigh made it three in the 63rd minute. David Perkins fouling McNiven in the box and the striker got up to slot home from the spot for his hat-trick.

Sugden finally got on the score-sheet in the fourth minute of injury time when his shot from just inside the box beat Martin albeit with the help of a deflection.