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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