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.

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