Rushden & Diamonds 3 Mansfield Town 1

 
By Steven

Scott Partridge scored his first goal for the Diamonds as he helped complete an excellent 3-1 victory against Mansfield Town at Nene Park on Saturday.

The Diamonds striker netted midway through the second half to seal the victory for Brian Talbot’s side after goals from Andrew Burgess and an own goal from Bobby Hassell set them on their way.

Mansfield came to Nene Park having lost only three of their last 11 games but the Diamonds were boosted by the return of Burgess.

The midfielder missed Tuesday’s victory against Shrewsbury with a thigh strain but he replaced Gary Setchell, who scored at Gay Meadow, on the left side of midfield.

Mansfield had the early chances when Liam Lawrence latched onto a long throw from Hassell but his effort went over the Diamonds crossbar.

But, on five minutes, the visitors took the lead when Shayne Bradley fired home from close range following another long and dangerous throw from Hassell.

The Diamonds should have responded just a minute later. Paul Hall sent over a perfect corner that Ritchie Hanlon met, but his downward header went over the crossbar.

Mansfield continued to control the opening 20 minutes and some nice passing movement enabled Wayne Corden to get another effort on goal but it failed to trouble Billy Turley.

The Diamonds mounted good efforts of their own and Garry Butterworth struck a long range effort just over the Mansfield crossbar.

Mansfield were dealt a blow before the game with the news that Chris Greenacre, the clubs leading goalscorer, was out through injury but the Stags continued to look dangerous as they moved forward.

Barry Hunter forced a good one handed save from Kevin Pilkington but it wasn’t long before the Diamonds were back on level terms.

On 30 minutes Andrew Sambrook sent a dangerous cross into the Mansfield penalty area that Darby headed, only for Hassell to divert the ball into his own net.

Just four minutes later the Diamonds took the lead. Some good work from Paul Hall enabled him to cross into the box for Darby to head the ball into the centre of the Mansfield penalty area. But despite the visitors clearing their lines the ball ran to Burgess who sweetly struck to beat Pilkington in his bottom left hand corner.

But there was bad news for the Diamonds when Brian Talbot was forced to make a change before the break when Paul Underwood was replaced by Setchell after the skipper had picked up a knock in the first half. Mark Peters was handed the captains armband as a result.

Half Time: Diamonds 2 Mansfield 1

Mansfield started the second half strong and after a mistake from Peters and Butterworth, the Stages could have taken the lead but Corden struck over the cross bar from within the Diamonds penalty area.

On 52 minutes Hall sent a free kick deep into the Mansfield penalty area and Hanlon saw his free header go over the target.

But Mansfield continued to charge forward and was nearly back on level terms in bizarre circumstances just moments later when Turley and Hunter failed to communicate as they went for the same ball.

On 60 minutes Pilkington was forced to make a vital save when he tipped over a cross-cum-shot from Sambrook that may have found its way into the net had he failed to get a touch.

Turley was called into action on 66 minutes when he saved well from Hassell as Mansfield looked for a way back into this hard fought encounter.

Mansfield thought they should have had a penalty when Craig Disley was sent tumbling down by Hanlon but the referee saw no infringement made.

Turley was once again asked to make another vital save when he denied Bradley after the Mansfield midfielder was put through on goal from Liam Lawrence.

But this was going to be the Diamonds day and Partridge sealed the victory for the Diamonds fans when, on 77 minutes, his back heel was adjudged to have crossed the goal line from the referee’s assistant.

Mansfield continued to press forward but Hunter and Peters kept the Stags at bay and on 84 minutes Turley was equal to Bradley’s effort.

Full Time: Diamonds 3 Mansfield 1

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood (Setchell 45), Peters, Butterworth, Partridge (Folan 86), Darby, Burgess (Brady 88), Hall, Hanlon, Sambrook, Hunter.   

Subs not used: Carey, Pennock.

Booked:

Mansfield: Pilkington, Pemberton, Barrett, Bradley, Corden (Harris 78), Hassell, Reddington, Disley, Williamson, Lawrence (Tankard 77), White.

Subs not used: Asher, Bingham, White.

Booked: Barrett, Reddington.

Attendance: Mr P. Rejer

Attendance: 4,937.

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