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FOOTBALL: McHugh helps North Leigh end losing run
8:00am Monday 20th January 2014 in Sport
North Leigh ended their run of six successive defeats in Calor League Division 1 South & West with a 2-2 draw away to Godalming on Saturday.
But the Millers owed a big debut to on-loan keeper Adam McHugh, who made some remarkable saves in the second half.
With Godalming’s ground being unavailable due to extensive flooding, the game was switched to Guildford City’s Spectrum Stadium.
The pitch, which had been under water the previous day, was just about playablebut made smooth passing impossible.
The visitors dominated the early stages and went close through Andy Gunn’s header and Morgan Williams’s free-kick.
Their pressure told on 25 minutes when Wayne Turk delivered a teasing high cross to the far post.
North Leigh skipper Stuart Hole outjumped Godalming’s big centre-back Gavin Miller and headed it past home keeper Zaki Oualah.
This should have been the springboard for the Millers to go on and win, but they were were hit by two goals in goals in as many minutes from Godalming substitute Dan Read.
Seconds after coming on, he nodded home from close range past a helpless McHugh as a deflected shot dropped into his path Two minutes later, a punt upfield found North Leigh’s central defenders wanting, and Read coolly stroked the ball past the advancing McHugh to put his side ahead.
The Millers battled away and deep into first-half injury time, good work from Jacob Walcott and Williams set up Brian Bowles, who hammered home the equaliser.
Although North Leigh attacked for much of the second half against a packed defence, they were saved from another defeat by three remarkable stops from McHugh, who is on loan from Forest Green.
First, he somehow blocked a fierce shot from Godalming’s Chris Wales.
Then, with the game moving into injury time and in a rare Godalming breakaway, McHugh stopped both a close-range drive from substitute Jack Mazzone and also his follow-up shot.
The Millers should have had the game wrapped up by then.
They went closest with a header from Kieran Sanders, but could not capitalise on a series of corners as the home defence rode their luck.
North Leigh: McHugh, Hole, Hopkins, Turk, Gunn, Westlake, Bowles (Else 81), Osborne-Ricketts, Walcott, Sanders (McDonagh 70), Williams (Dobson 87). Subs not used: Caton, Organ.
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