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

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