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.

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