Leigh RMI 6 Nuneaton Borough 2, by Martyn Hindley NUNEATON Borough suffered the backlash of RMI's FA Trophy exit, as, in the first Hilton Park league game since New Year's Day, Leigh handed the Manor Park outfit a six-goal mauling.

Opportunities came thick and fast for the Railwaymen in the first half, as Chris MacKenzie was forced to pick the ball out of the net four times.

In the fourth minute, Ian Monk released Tony Black, but the dreadfully out-of-sorts striker spurned the opportunity with a lazy chip that exuded a lack of confidence. Just seconds later, the error was forgotten, as Ged Kielty found Dave Ridings with a precise corner, and his wonderful touch off the chest fell kindly for Monk to slot home from 15 yards.

It was just the tonic that Leigh fans deserved after enduring the painful defeat to Hereford 12 days before, and it went part way towards exacerbating the memory of September's dismal defeat in the Midlands. Revenge was to be sweet!

Black spurned another chance when sent clear by Spooner's glorious field length ball, but the manner with which Leigh were creating chances indicated that the scoreline was soon to double, and it took only until the 18 minute to do so. Kielty intercepted Michael Love's ball 30 yards out, and after an individual run, calmly drilled into the bottom corner.

The rout was being conscientiously planned through the hard-working midfield of Ridings, Kielty and Monk, who were almost relentless in the onslaught, and, to the delight of the Leigh supporters, a third was forthcoming.

Steve Jones had been almost anonymous before his demonic cross was met by Black's flick on and Ridings converted the simplest of tap-ins from three yards in amazement at the time made available to him.

Steve Waywell was later to label the first half performance as "the best in my Leigh career", but the manager was given time to catch his breath in the 14 minutes it took to add the fourth. Kielty's corner was only half cleared by the gaggle of defenders congregated around the six yard box, and Jones took advantage of MacKenzie's poor positioning to volley home and finish any hopes of a Nuneaton revival.

The visitors' respectable following had, through Jamie Williams, forced an excellent diving parry from Dave Felgate on the eve of his 41st birthday, but that was as far as the comeback was due to go until Williams recorded a consolation 19 minutes from time, prodding home from close range.

It was only the third league goal against the Railwaymen in 2001, but it was soon followed by a farcical party piece from MacKenzie at the other end that allowed Leigh to re-establish the four goal cushion. Dribbling past the winger in Fabien Barthez style, the former Leyton Orient shotstopper embarrassed himself by losing his footing - Jones the grateful recipient.

Nuneaton replied in the 90th minute through Williams again, but Leigh capped off their near-perfect day with another of their own: Jones claiming the hat-trick and matchball by converting a penalty after Monk had been upended.

Leigh remain unbeaten in their last five league games and with 11 points from the last 15 available, currently occupy ninth place in the table.

RMI: Felgate, Spooner, Trees, Durkin, Farrell, Swan (Murphy 73), Monk, Ridings (Gardner 81), Kielty, Black, Jones. Attendance: 501

Referee: Mr.G.Brittain (Doncaster)