FOOTBALL: New signings can't spur on North Leigh

Conor McDonagh scored for North Leigh late on

Conor McDonagh scored for North Leigh late on

First published in Sport

Despite fielding their new signings Liam Malone and Mark Bell, North Leigh lost more ground in their bid for the Calor League Division 1 South & West play-offs when they lost 2-1 at Wimborne Town on Saturday.

The duo joined in midweek from Oxford City and went straight into the starting line-up away to Wimborne Town, who were boosted by an early goal.

The Millers more than matched their in-form opponents for the rest of the half.

Wimborne, however, edged the second half, scored another goal and it was only when Millers’ striker Conor McDonagh replied late on that they had cause for alarm.

Wimborne took the lead after four minutes.

Sam Griffin got past Millers defender Andy Caton down the right and crossed from the bye-line to the far post where George Webb clipped the ball past keeper Adam McHugh.

North Leigh responded strongly.

Malone and Bell posed problems, while Stuart Hole hit a stunning 30-yard free-kick that was heading for the net before home keeper Jason Harvell, at full stretch, tipped it around a post.

With Elliot Osborne-Ricketts pushed up into a striking role alongside McDonagh, the pair caused the Wimborne defence plenty of concern without forcing a clear opening.

Shortly before half-time, Har-vell again denied the vistors, saving well from Michael Hopkins’s long-range free-kick.

In the second half, with Brian Bowles on for the injured Wayne Turk and Morgan Williams replacing Bell, Mark Gee’s men continued to push for the equaliser without success.

Instead, Wimborne made it 2-0 in the 67th minute.

A cross came in from the left and was half-cleared beyond the edge of the box to Griffin, who hit a casual left-foot shot that somehow found its way past a number of bodies and the unsighted McHugh into the far corner of the net.

Hopkins headed over the bar as North Leigh pressed.

Their persistence was rewarded after 88 minutes.

Bowles beat a couple of players before threading a pass to McDonagh, who controlled the ball in the box, turned and hit it past Harvell from five yards.

But the home side hung on without undue alarm.

North Leigh: McHugh, Hole, Hopkins, Turk (Bowles 50), Gunn, Caton, Bell (Williams 59), Malone, McDonagh, Osborne-Ricketts, Woodley (Walcott 78). Subs not used: Sanders, Dobson.

Attendance: 236.

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