Darlington 0 v Rushden & Diamonds 0

by David

Rushden & Diamonds went into the match hoping to continue their unbeaten run, they did just that with another 0-0 draw in the North East this afternoon. Although the Diamonds had more chances throughout the match, they couldn’t get the ball past Collett in the Darlington goal.

Rushden & Diamonds had the first corner of the match on 7 minutes, but Robert Duffy headed wide of the post.

The best chance of the half fell to Darlington’s Danny Mellanby after Mark Peters mis-judged his header, Mellanby waiting behind him, hit the ball on the half-volley and the ball went over the bar.

Darlington were awarded a free-kick 22 yards out after 18 minutes, but Conlon’s low, weak kick was deflected away for a corner, which came to nothing. Although Darlington had a large spell of possession, Diamonds soaked up the pressure and continued their own attacks.

After 22 minutes, Diamonds almost opened the scoring with a superb drive from Garry Butterworth, but Andy Collett caught well. Diamonds then took the initiative, attacking on several occasions, but unable to produce the telling ball. On 34 minutes, a great ball from Hanlon, gave Scott Partridge the chance to turn and shoot, but his shot was well wide.

Moments later, Darlington had another good chance, with a two-on-two situation. Richard Hodgson broke down the right and opted to have a shot on goal, however, Barry Conlon was free in the box and would have been the better option.

HALF TIME: Darlington 0, Diamonds 0.

Diamonds came out in the second half and went straight into attack, a corner was won and taken by Jon Brady, before the same player gifted Partridge with a shooting opportunity 20 yards out. Partridge though, never tested the keeper with his shot going well wide.

Darlington got themselves back in the match and ran at the Diamonds attack, but never managed to test Pennock in the Diamonds goal. On 56 minutes, Darlington replaced Mark Convery with Neil Wainwright.

On the hour mark, Scott Partridge made a challenge deep in his own half and ran the ball up to the halfway line. His pinpoint pass found Robert Duffy on the edge of the box, but his first touch gave the Darlington defence enough time to get back and clear.

Diamonds upped the tempo and attacked at every opportunity. Shots from Burgess, Hanlon and Partridge were all blocked by the Darlo defence. Runs into the box by Butterworth, Hanlon and Partridge were all stopped. Although Darlington were still getting the occasional break, Diamonds had the upperhand, but like in previous matches, the shooting lacked power and the scores remained even.

On 70 minutes, Jean-Michel Sigere came on for the tireless Robert Duffy upfront.

With only 8 minutes of normal time remaining, Tony Pennock had to make an outstanding save from a piledriver from Alex Jeanin.

On 85 minutes, Ritchie Hanlon had Diamonds best chance of the match. Jon Brady’s cross from the right found him in space at the back post, but the luck wasn’t in Diamonds favour and his shot went wide of the post.

Diamonds continued to press, but it was all in vain. Partridge worked his magic on the left and found Brady on the right. His shot-come-cross was headed over by Sigere with Burgess in a better position behind him. At the other end of the field, Pennock had to be alert again in the dying seconds when a Danny Mellanby deflected shot from 6 yards, came off the crossbar and Diamonds could clear.

FULL TIME: Darlington 0, Diamonds 0.

Diamonds: Pennock, Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Burgess, Setchell, Wormull (Brady H/T), Hanlon, Sambrook, Duffy (Sigere 70), Hunter.
Subs Not Used: Rodwell, Mills, Naylor.

Darlington: Collett, Heckingbottom, Liddle, Jeanin, Ford, Atkinson, Conlon, Convery (Wainwright 56), Mellanby, Hodgson, Betts.
Subs Not Used: Brumwell, Jackson, Harper, Van Der Geest.

Attendance: 4,365.

MOM: Mark Peters.

Exeter City 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

by David

Rushden & Diamonds started the match looking for back-to-back wins for the first time this season. After beating Cheltenham Town at home on Saturday, the Diamonds were in full spirit during the trip to Devon.

Although the opening twelve minutes belonged to the Diamonds, Exeter City got into the match and had the majority of the chances in the first half. The Diamonds also started the second half the better team, before conceding a goal against the run of play. Exeter’s Christian Roberts was sent of for a second bookable offence before Ritchie Hanlon managed to salvage a point with an injury time header.

After only 3 minutes of play, Scott Partridge wriggled through the defence and producing a low shot under pressure, but the keeper dived low to his left, denying the striker his first goal for the Club.

Ten minutes later, during a good spell for Exeter City, the home side had a couple of chances on goal, but the shots were high and wide. Exeter City certainly got themselves into the match and put the Diamonds under immense pressure, creating chance after chance.

On 23 minutes, Tony Pennock had to make a vital save after he could only fist away the first effort. Although the penalty area was packed, the Diamonds keeper had to make the save after a well hit shot from Christian Roberts.

After 30 minutes, a great back-flick from Andy Burgess gave Gary Setchell the chance to cross the ball, however Simon Wormull couldn’t quite reach the ball at the back post and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Two minutes later, Exeter had another shot on target, again after Pennock could only fist away, but this time Tony Pennock managed to get back and catch Kwame Ampadu’s shot.

On 34 minutes, a cross-field ball from Simon Wormull found Andy Burgess in some space, the young winger cut inside and shot, but the shot was deflected and easily caught by Van Heusden.

Mark Peters volleyed wide from 14 yards, when City didn’t clear from a Diamonds corner. Andrew Sambrook had an effort from long range, but his effort also went wide.

HALF TIME Exeter 0, Diamonds 0.

A minute into the second half, saw some great passing between the Diamonds frontline and midfield, but it was ended by a Butterworth chip which van Heusden collected above his head on the goal line.

Moments later, a huge penalty claim from the Diamonds ended after referee P. Taylor consulted his assistant, D. Dodd. Burgess made a run from half way which was ended when he was brought down just outside the penalty area. Mark Peters got on the end of Wormull’s free kick, but his header went well over the bar.

The Diamonds had certainly got themselves back into the match in this second period and both Hanlon and Wormull couldn’t quite get on the end of a Burgess cross as it skipped across the face of the goal.

A minute later, Gary Setchell got on the end of a Wormull cross, but couldn’t quite get enough behind the ball and the ball went wide. Straight away, Exeter broke to the other end and Cristian Roberts’ cross was headed home by Sean McCarthy. Robert Duffy replaced Sigere after 66 minutes as the Diamonds looked to get back into the match.

On 68 minutes, Sean McCarthy could have got his second of the night, but pressure from Pennock was enough to put him off and he shot over the open goal. The chance had come after a mazy run from Roberts, who cut in from the right, but his shot was saved by Pennock.

Jon Brady came on for Simon Wormull after 73 minutes and nearly made an immediate impact. His cross from the right was cleared, but only as far as Hunter, 18 yards out, and his volley from dramatically headed off of the line.

With ten minutes of normal time remaining, Robert Duffy almost got his first senior goal for the Club, but his volley from a Burgess cross was saved by Van Heusden in the Exeter goal. After 86 minutes, Christian Roberts was sent off after a second bookable offence, the player who had been booked after an hours play for a foul on Setchell was booked for kicking the ball away.

A minute remaining saw Diamonds pile on the pressure, a piledriver from Hunter was well saved by the ‘keeper and 4 minutes of injury time were shown by the fourth official.

In the dying moments, some great play down the left, found Brady on the edge of the box and his precise cross was headed home by Ritchie Hanlon to give Diamonds a well-earned point.

FULL TIME Exeter 1, Diamonds 1.

Diamonds: Pennock, Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Burgess, Setchell, Wormull (Brady 73), Hanlon, Sambrook, Sigere (Duffy 66), Hunter.

Subs not used: Naylor, Rodwell, Mills.

Booked: Burgess 43.

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Cheltenham Town 0

by Andrew

Diamonds recorded their first league win since the opening day of the season with a hard-fought win over Cheltenham Town at Nene Park. The hero of the hour was Jean-Michel Sigere whose 47th minute goal decided the outcome.

Diamonds were boosted before kick-off when Paul Underwood was named in the starting line-up. He had been widely expected to miss another game through injury, and his inclusion pushed Garry Butterworth back into a more familiar central midfield role. Shaun Carey was left out of the squad of 16.

It was the visitors who started the game brightest and Julian Alsop had a couple of good early chances to put them ahead. First his run on goal was denied by a smothering save from Billy Turley, and from the resulting corner, Alsop climbed highest only to be denied by a diving stop from the Diamonds keeper who was playing his last game before a three-match ban. Tony Naylor seemed to have a clear run on goal when Barry Hunter brought him down. Despite Hunter’s protests that he had won the ball, referee Jordan produced a yellow card.
Russell Milton shot just wide from 30 yards out on the half-hour, but the last quarter of the half belonged to Diamonds. First Simon Wormull brought a good near-post save from Steve Book, and then Ritchie Hanlon shot over the bar.

Half Time: Diamonds 0, Cheltenham 0

The second half was barely two minutes old when Diamonds made the breakthrough. Andy Burgess’ shot across goal hit the post, and Jean-Michel Sigere was at the far post to turn the ball home. The relief around Nene Park was clear for all to hear. Diamonds pushed forward looking for the second goal that would definitely clinch maximum points. Scott Partridge shot over after good work by Burgess, but Diamonds were again grateful to Turley when he raced out of his goal to save Naylor’s shot with his legs. Simon Wormull blazed over on the hour mark, and Sigere nearly got his second of the afternoon, but Book made another good near-post save with ten minutes remaining.

When the fourth official indicated four minutes of stoppage time, minds raced back to the game between the sides a couple of years ago when Cheltenham scored two dramatic late goals to effectively seal promotion from the Conference, but there was to be no case of deja vu this time around. The only worrying aspect at the end of the game was a nasty head cut sustained by Paul Underwood. He came off to have stitches, and it remains to be seen whether he will be fit for Tuesday’s long trip to Exeter City.

Full Time: Diamonds 1, Cheltenham 0

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood (Rodwell-90), Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Burgess, Wormull (Brady-72), Hanlon, Sambrook, Sigere (Duffy-85), Hunter. Subs not used: Mills, Pennock.
Booked: Hunter, Partridge.

Cheltenham: Book, Duff, Victory, Banks, Howells, Yates, Milton (Williams-60), Walker (Hill-27), Devaney (Brough-83), Alsop, Naylor.
Subs not used: Howarth, Muggleton.
Booked: Howells, Alsop, Victory.

Referee: W. M. Jordan

Attendance: 4,116

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Torquay United 0

by Andrew

Diamonds were left to rue another night of frustration at a wet and windy Nene Park on Tuesday, but at least the recent run of defeats came to an end with this goalless draw against a dogged Torquay United.

Brian Talbot made three changes from the starting line-up at Leyton Orient, two enforced and one tactical. Andy Sambrook and Garry Butterworth replaced the injured Tarkan Mustafa and Paul Underwood, while Simon Wormull came in for Jon Brady. In addition to Sambrook, it was also Barry Hunter and Scott Partridge’s home debuts for Diamonds, plus Ritchie Hanlon’s first game at Nene Park since re-joining the club from Peterborough United.

Diamonds had the better of the first-half chances with Hanlon going close twice, Jean-Michel Sigere missing a couple of good opportunities, the best when through one-on-one with Kevin Dearden, and Andy Burgess also headed wide just before the break. At the other end, Diamonds were grateful to Butterworth for a superb goalline clearance, and to Billy Turley for a sharp save from a shot on the turn by Lee Canoville.

The second half saw less clear-cut goalscoring chances, although Sigere will feel he should have at least tested the ‘keeper when slicing wide in space after a good run by Partridge. Hunter drew applause from the 3,258 crowd with a last-ditch tackle on David Graham after a slip by Mark Peters let in the Torquay substitute.

Robert Duffy was given his senior home debut as a late replacement for Sigere, as Brian Talbot tried everything to bring about the breakthrough. It almost came with six minutes remaining when the best chance of the night fell to new boy Partridge. A thunderous free-kick by Hanlon brought an excellent save from Dearden but the ‘keeper couldn’t hold onto the ball. The rebound fell to Partridge just a couple of yards from goal but he sliced his effort wide.

Diamonds: Turley, Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Burgess, Carey, Wormull, Hanlon, Sambrook, Sigere, Hunter. Subs: Brady, Rodwell, Mills, Pennock, Duffy (for Sigere-75).

Attendance: 3,258

Leyton Orient 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

By David

For the second time in a week, a minute’s silence was observed in respect for all of the terror victims in the United States on Tuesday morning.

Rushden & Diamonds kicked off this afternoon hoping to get back to winning ways in The Nationwide Division 3 campaign, but it wasn’t to be. In an action-packed match which saw one sending off, several bookings and no less than 4 penalties (one of which was a re-take). The penalty from Hanlon turning out to be just a consolation, but the Diamonds never gave up hope after Turley was sent off on 34 minutes.

The Diamonds had their fair share of the possession in the opening 20 minutes and carried out some fine passing moves. However, it was Orient who took the lead, Diamonds were caught napping as a free-kick was quickly taken on the right side, Billy Turley managed to stop the first effort from Dean Smith, before Ibehre buried the loose ball in the back of the net after 16 minutes.

After 20 minutes, Jean-Michel Sigere got on the end of Brady cross, but could only head wide of the back post. Moments later, Underwood collected the ball on the halfway line and ran at the defence, but his shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.

Orient’s ‘keeper Barrett came to the edge of his box to clear the danger from Partridge, but the ball only managed to reach Mustafa , who tried to take advantage of the situation, but his shot went over the bar.

On 35 minutes, Billy Turley got sent off for the second time in a week for bringing down Jeff Minton in the penalty area. A superb through ball from Leon Constantine split the Diamonds defence in half and put Minton through on goal with only Turley to beat. Turley dived down at Minton’s feet to try to win the ball, but he missed the ball and the referee made no hesitation in sending Turley off. Jean-Michel Sigere was the man who had to make way as Tony Pennock came into the game. Scott Houghton sent Pennock the wrong way and The O’s went into two-goal lead.

At half time, Gary Mills replaced Jon Brady in the midfield.

Both teams started the second half brightly, but it was the Diamonds who had the first effort. A Paul Underwood free-kick was headed across the face of the goal by Barry Hunter to Peters but he couldn’t quite connect with his head. Mark Peters then produced an overhead kick, but the danger was cleared and the home side counter attacked.

After a corner wasn’t cleared by the Diamonds defence, Andy Harris collected the ball inside the penalty area, but his sweet cross could only be headed over by Simon Downer.

After 65 minutes, Scott Barrett in the Orient goal had to be alert when Burgess’ cross cum shot was heading into the bottom corner, he got his hand to the ball and managed to palm the ball out of danger.

A long range effort from Orient’s Andy Harris screwed high and wide of the goal. A bad challenge in the centre of the park, saw Mustafa leave the field hobbling and in agony, and was replaced by Andrew Sambrook.

On 77 minutes, Rushden & Diamonds pulled a goal back through a Ritchie Hanlon penalty. The opportunity came when Hanlon was brought down in the area and a Burgess corner.

Moments later Tony Pennock was adjudged to have brought down Neil Gough in the penalty area, but was only given a yellow card as he wasn’t the last man. Leon Constantine took the spot kick, which Pennock saved. However, the kick had to be re-taken as the referee’s assistant said that Pennock had moved too early. The penalty was re-taken, this time by Minton, and Pennock saved again, this time diving and palming the ball past the post.

Leon Constantine had an effort on 85 minutes, but Pennock saved well again after closing the tall striker down. Diamonds then piled on the pressure in hope of salvaging something from the game.

Four minutes of time were added on at the end of normal time, but the Diamonds failed to get the all-important goal.

MOM: Tony Pennock.

Crewe Alexandra 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0 (aet)

by David

The evening was put into context when the pre-match minute’s silence was observed in memory of those who had lost their lives after the terrorist attacks in The United States.

Rushden & Diamonds kicked off the game, hoping to copy their superb first round victory over 1st Division Burnley. The Third Division side almost pulled it off with better possession and more chances in normal time before missing a penalty and conceding two goals in extra time.

The first effort of the match came from Crewe’s pacey left winger, Rodney Jack as he ran into the centre of the field and struck from 25 yards out, but the shot was easily saved by Billy Turley.

After 11 minutes, Jon Brady beat the Crewe defence to the ball inside the 18-yard box, but his shot from a tight angle flew well over the bar with Sigere in space in the box.

On 14 minutes, Rob Hulse found himself in acres of space, running at goal but Billy Turley managed to palm away the goalbound effort.

Diamonds were almost punished after 18 minutes. A sloppy mix-up between Rodwell and Turley after a corner for the home side giving Geoff Thomas a shot on goal, but his shot went wide of the post, much to the relief of the Diamonds.

Tarkan Mustafa’s weak shot from 18-yards, after 21 minutes, was put into the back of the net by Warren Patmore, but he was adjudged offside. Four minutes later, Patmore almost got on the end of a superb Jon Brady cross, but Geoff Thomas just managed to get to the ball first and clear the danger.

Diamonds continued piling on the pressure and Jon Brady almost opened the scoring with a delicate chip that went inches over the bar with Clayton Ince off his line. On 35 minutes, Shaun Carey was the quickest to the ball inside the Crewe penalty area, but he couldn’t quite get his foot behind the ball, but Ince still had to make a good save as the ball was heading for the bottom corner.

At the other end, Billy Turley was called into the action again after a good move down the right. Alan Navarro’s low, goalbound shot was saved at the second attempt.

The Diamonds had the last notable chance before half time, when Jim Rodwell got on the end of another Jon Brady cross, but the big defenders’ header went well over the bar.

Just a minute into the second half, Billy Turley had to make great save at the feet of Hulse after the defence didn’t clear. Diamonds took the ball to the other end and nearly caught Crewe cold. Sigere held up the ball well before crossing to Jon Brady, but his half volley went wide of the post. Moments later, Ritchie Hanlon replaced Gary Mills in the centre of the field.

In a ten minute Diamonds spell, Sigere had a couple of efforts on goal but couldn’t make them count. Andy Burgess saw an effort go wide after some great play down the right-hand side. A shot from Jon Brady took a deflection and the speed off of the ball before Ince could gather comfortably.

On 67 minutes, Sigere broke free from his close marker and managed to get in a shot after some great skill, but his effort hit the bar and went over.

Three minutes later, Mustafa created himself a great opportunity, but his effort lacked any real power and was struck straight at the ‘keeper. Diamonds again continued to pile on the pressure and a Paul Underwood effort glanced across the face of the goal.

Crewe had a free-kick on the edge of the box after Mark Peters obstructed Rodney Jack. The set piece was well struck but it went well over the bar.

With ten minutes of normal time remaining, Crewe tried to turn the game with a huge burst of pressure. Four minutes of injury time was shown by the 4th official before Rodwell put in a tackle that denied Rob Hulse the opportunity to shoot.

The match went into injury time, but Rodney Jack went off with an injury and couldn’t be replaced as The Railwaymen had already used all 3 substitutes. After only a minute of extra time had been played, Shaun Carey was brought down in the area by substitute Efetobre Sodje. Paul Underwood’s spot-kick flew over the bar.

Ten minutes into extra time saw Andy Burgess almost open his account for the season after carving out an opening using some great skill, but his shot went just wide of the far post.

In the second half of extra time, Diamonds continued to attack but were caught on the break. Tarkan Mustafa made a goal line clearance but the resultant corner was headed into the net by the unmarked Dave Walton.

Simon Wormull replaced Jean Michel Sigere and Robert Duffy came on for Warren Patmore in a double-substitution.

Moments later, Rodwell brought down Rob Hulse in the area and Shaun Smith made no hesitation from the spot as he buried the ball into the back of the net. Billy Turley was then sent off for a second bookable offence, for dissent. Mark Peters took over the goalkeepers shirt.

Diamonds continued to pile on the pressure but to no avail.

MOM: Shaun Carey.

Attendance: 4,807

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Southend United 1

by Andrew

Diamonds slipped to a third successive defeat on Saturday when they went down to the only goal of the game against Southend.
Brian Talbot made three changes to the starting line-up from the team which started at Oxford on Saturday. The departed Justin Jackson was replaced by Warren Patmore, the fit-again Andy Burgess came in for Gary Setchell and Gary Mills was preferred to Garry Butterworth.
Both goalkeepers were called into early action, Flahavan saving comfortably from Shaun Carey, and then a Searle free-kick was curled straight at Billy Turley.
Broad in the Southend defence had to be alert on 7 minutes to clear a Jon Brady shot, but there was a scare for Diamonds on the quarter-hour mark. Forbes latched onto a through ball and Turley did well to parry his effort.
The best chance of the half for Diamonds fell to Duane Darby after 19 minutes but his glancing header from a Burgess cross just cleared Flahavan’s left-hand post.
Southend continued to look sharp on the break and Richards’ shot on the turn from inside the area was further proof that they hadn’t came to Nene Park content for a point.
As the half drew to a close, Darby found himself in space in the area but a moment’s hesitation was crucial and the chance went begging.
The final chance of the half fell to the visitors. A weak back pass was intercepted by Richards but his first touch that took him around Turley was too strong and the ball ran harmlessly out of play.
HALF TIME : Diamonds 0, Southend 0
Referee Mr Parkes was soon in demand in the second half, producing the first yellow card after Webb’s late tackle on Mustafa. The Diamonds’ full back quickly showed he had recovered when he dispossessed Richards in a 3-on-1 situation. Richards’ team-mates showed their disappointment that their colleague had chosen to go on his own.
Diamonds then had two good chances. Warren Patmore’s header from Paul Underwood’s free-kick was well saved by Flahavan and then Darby fired over from close-range after a neat pass from Burgess. In between, Forbes became the second player to be booked, after a foul on Underwood.
David Webb made the first change of the afternoon, taking his son Daniel out of the fray and putting Bramble on.
Burgess dragged a shot wide before the visitors broke the deadlock.
A cross from the right evaded everyone and Searle took one touch before firing home.
Brian Talbot responded by making a double change, Sigere and Wormull replacing Patmore and Brady.
Diamonds threw everything at Southend in the dying moments, pushing Mark Peters into a forward position. Broad nearly scored past his own ‘keeper, Underwood fired just wide, Darby had a shot saved by Flahavan, and in injury time Mills saw an effort cleared off the line, but it wasn’t to be.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Underwood

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