A LAST minute penalty snatched a 25-24 victory for Leigh in their final game before Christmas.

Leigh travelled to Sefton with a few changes from the week before one of only two RFU South Lancashire/Cheshire Division One matches to beat the weather.

Jimmy Wilkinson and Joe Harrison returned in the backs, while Jack Burdon, Glenn Stephens and Paul Hampson came into the forwards on a heavy pitch.

Sefton came at Leigh from the first whistle and led by a converted try after three minutes.

Leigh immediately regrouped and a good run from Johnny Drake culminated in a try, on the other side of the pitch, in the 13th minute for Ollie Shepherd.

He used his superior strength and pace to round the Sefton defence in a well-taken finish.

Rob Drake narrowly missed the conversion from wide out on the right but his successful penalty soon after put Leigh's noses in front.

Sefton responded with a penalty of their own but their fresh lead in the 38th minute was shortlived.

From a Leigh scrum on the Sefton line, followed by a rolling maul, Connor Longford got over for a try which was brilliantly converted from the touchline by Rob Drake to take the sides off for their oranges with the visitors leading 15-10.

Sefton almost replicated their first-half start when they crashed over early in the second half for a converted try but soon added another for a nine-point lead with 30 minutes left to play.

An athletic interception by Leigh’s speedster Shepherd saw him streak away from 65 metres out for a thrilling try that was again crucially converted from wide out by the trusty boot of Rob Drake to leave Leigh two points behind with 10 minutes to go.

Leigh pressed hard from the restart.

An excellent break by Rob Drake was not finished off when the final pass in the move went to ground with the line beckoning but Leigh were eventually rewarded for their spirit and perseverance when they were awarded a penalty in front of the Sefton posts.

Rob Drake dutifully stepped up and slotted the three points to steal victory in the dying seconds.

This was a spirited and workmanlike performance from a developing side and they should take heart from this showing.

After the Christmas break they meet New Brighton at Hand Lane on January 6, kick off 2.15pm.