Cardiff City 7 Rushden & Diamonds 1

By Steven

Rushden and Diamonds went crashing out of the LDV Vans trophy tonight thanks to a first half hat-trick form Cardiff striker Gavin Gordon.

The Diamonds were simply outplayed in all departments as Gordon ran riot through the heart of the defence as he went on to score five and seal an easy passage to round two of the competition.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot made three changes to the side that drew with Rochdale on Saturday.

Jim Rodwell replaced Barry Hunter in the centre of defence while Christian Lee teamed up with Caleb Folan in attack and Daniel Talbot was given a rare start in midfield.

The Diamonds went behind after just six minutes with the first real attack of the game. Cardiff midfielder Mark Bonner unleashed a wonderful 30-yard strike that left Billy Turley no chance after the Diamonds failed to clear their lines.

The home side nearly doubled their advantage just four minutes later when Scott Young saw his header go just inches wide from a Bonner corner.

But the lead was soon doubled on 11 minutes. A delightful run from Josh Low found Gordon unmarked in the penalty area to head home into an empty net.

Ritchie Hanlon nearly responded shortly afterwards but his low drive went wide of the target.

Mark Peters was nearly the culprit of a bad error that enabled Gordon through on goal. Thankfully his blushes were spared following a good challenge from Jim Rodwell although it left Brian fuming from on the bench.

Diamonds attacks were rare and when they did look like they could mount a threat the final delivery from Paul Hall failed to find its intended targets.

Gary Mills did have a long-range effort on 24 minutes but his effort failed to trouble Cardiff goalkeeper Lee Kendall.

The Diamonds should have reduced the lead on 28 minutes. After a good build up play, Christian Lee’s final ball should have been rewarded with a touch but the ball trickled harmlessly across the goal and out of play.

The Diamonds went further behind on 32 minutes when Gordon grabbed his second of the game beating Turley one-on-one following a delightful through ball by Bonner.

It was 4-0 on 40 minutes when Gordon completed his hat-trick with a delightful finish that found its way into the corner of the net.

Half Time: Cardiff City 4 Diamonds 0

Brian made two changes at the interval removing Folan and Lee in attack and playing Hall up front alongside Andy Burgess. David Bell occupied the left side of midfield.

In a quite opening to the second half, Cardiff made the better start and continued to cause problems in the visitors defence.

On 58 minutes Hall ran into the heart of the Cardiff defence and it nearly brought a goal but Hanlon could not force his way in front of defender David Hughes and grab the vital touch.

Gordon’s pace and power was causing Rushden all sorts of problems for the Diamonds and Billy Turley was nearly caught out when he mis-kicked a back pass.

But the Diamonds conceded a fifth on 72 minutes when Gordon grabbed his fourth and Cardiff’s fifth, after he slotted past Turley.

On 72 minutes Hall produced a fine individual effort to notch his first goal for the Diamonds since his move from Walsall. His goal even got a standing ovation from the home supporters when he went past Kendall with skill and ease.

But Brian’s side couldn’t mount on their goal and conceded a sixth when Martyn Giles, who had just come onto the field, calmly slotted home from close range.

Cardiff continued to put more pressure on the Diamonds back four and Gordon’s night was complete when he added his fifth of the game after seeing two initial shots saved by Turley.

Full Time: Cardiff City 7 Diamonds 1

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Underwood (Setchell 70), Peters, Rodwell, Mills, Lee (Burgess 46), Hall, Hanlon, Sambrook, Talbot, Folan (Bell 46).

Subs not used: Pennock, Carey

Booked: Peters (69)

Cardiff: Kendall, Thompson (Jones 85), Young, Hughes, Brazier, Hamilton, Bonner, Maxwell (Giles 77), Low, Gordon, Nugent (Collins 83).

Subs not used: Fish, Anthony.

Booked:

Attendance: 2,052

Referee: P. Armstrong

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