Football: Peschisolido's brace ends Leigh's odyssey

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The Independent Online
Leigh RMI 0 Fulham 2

PAUL PESCHISOLIDO ended Leigh's FA Cup adventure with two first- half goals as Fulham beat the Unibond League side at the second attempt last night. The Canadian won and converted a penalty and then added a spectacular second as the most expensive team in the Second Division took control against one that cost a total of pounds 3,500.

The part-timers were not disgraced, however, but nor did they ever threaten an upset.

The biggest crowd at Hilton Park since the town's rugby league club used to meet and beat Wigan on a regular basis arrived hoping that Leigh and David Felgate could repeat their heroics of the first match.

By contrast with that game at Craven Cottage, Fulham failed to test Felgate in the early stages. Instead, it was their own defence under scrutiny when Kit Symons, under pressure from Ian Monk, almost put his goalkeeper in trouble and Chris Coleman survived a penalty appeal when Neil Matthews went down.

When Fulham did get into their attacking stride they found the Leigh defence alert and well organised, notably when Keith Evans' perfectly timed tackle dispossessed Gus Uhlenbeek as he was winding up to shoot. Geoff Horsfield had the closest thing to a clear chance but he shot wide.

Just after the half hour, Fulham took the lead in a fortunate manner. Peschisolido's speed drew the Leigh centre-back, Simon Turpin, into a rash challenge and there was little doubt about the awarded penalty. Peschisolido put it away himself despite Felgate getting a foot to the ball.

There was also an element of bad Leigh luck involved in Peschisolido's second, 10 minutes later. Neil Smith knocked down Rufus Brevett's long ball, but Tony Whealing would have cleared but for slipping. There was pure quality in Peschisolido's work after that, however, as he took on the defence and slammed his shot past Felgate.

There was a distinct feeling of the fun being over, even though Leigh tried to take the game to visitors, who were sitting back on their lead. However, long-range efforts from Turpin and Peter Smyth were the best they could manage.

Leigh RMI (5-3-2): Felgate; Prescott, Hill, Locke, Turpin, Whealing; Smyth, Ridings, Evans; Monk, Matthews (Cryer, 74). Substitutes not used: James, Carr, Rostron, Senior (gk).

Fulham (3-5-2): Taylor; Symons, Morgan, Coleman; Uhlenbeek, Smith (Brazier, 86), Bracewell (Hayward, 79), Trollope, Brevett; Horsfield, Peschisolido (Salako, 74). Substitutes not used: Lehmann, Arendse (gk).

Referee: P Rejer (Leamington Spa).

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