Rushden & Diamonds 2 Halifax 1

By Steven

Even though this game won’t go down as one of the classics at Nene Park, Rushden & Diamonds did what was asked as they extended their unbeaten run to 11 with another victory against struggling Halifax Town.

But there was bad news for the Diamonds when Duane Darby was forced to go off with five minutes remaining of the first half with a head injury.

However nothing could take the gloss off another excellent victory for the Diamonds with goals coming from Scott Partridge and a debut strike from Peter Thomson giving them a 2-1 victory.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot was given a huge boost prior to kick off with the return of Andy Burgess and Paul Underwood, who both passed late fitness tests.
The Diamonds were strong favourites going into the match with Halifax looking for their first win in ten games that has seen them tumble to the bottom of the Third Division.

Both teams got off to shaky start in the beautiful conditions at Nene Park with the Diamonds edging the opening five minutes with more of the possession.

It took eight minutes for the Diamonds to have their first effort on goal when Burgess twisted in the middle of the field but his shot flew over the Halifax crossbar.

Garry Butterworth nearly gave the Diamonds the lead on 12 minutes when his header came off the crossbar.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 0 Halifax 0

Chances were few and far between as Halifax struggled to find their way through the Diamonds defence but after 18 minutes Neil Redfearn struck a low free kick that nearly deceived Billy Turley.

For a team struggling to find an kind of form, Halifax were holding their own and neither side were dominating play.

Andrew Sambrook drilled a low effort on 24 minutes that failed to trouble Halifax goalkeeper Lee Butler as the Diamonds began to put pressure on the visitors defence.

Halifax were struggling to find any breakthrough in the Diamonds defence and it was evident that Alan Little’s team had only scored four goals in their last 10 games.
 
After 30 minutes: Diamonds 0 Halifax 0

But the Diamonds finally broke the deadlock on 31 minutes through Partridge when he produced a fine finish after collecting a through ball by Darby to calmly beat Butler with his left foot.

The Diamonds began to pour forward and continued to put pressure on the visitors defence with Burgess and Underwood threatening to do damage down the left flank.

There was a huge blow for the Diamonds on 41 minutes when  Darby was forced to go off when he took a whack on the head from a Halifax defender.
 
Brian waited on the news of Darby before bring a substitute on as the striker went into the changing rooms for treatment and it seemed that the Diamonds had taken their foot of the pedal when they went down to 10 men as Halifax began to push forward.

But the Diamonds held onto their one goal advantage at the half time whistle and Brian would have been satisfied with the outcome as they shaded a poor first 45 minutes.

Half Time: Diamonds 1 Halifax 0

Darby failed to return for the second half but Thomson, on loan from Luton, was given his first league start for the Diamonds.

And the striker nearly scored with his first touch when he bundled the ball over the line just a minute into the second half, but he was adjudged to have made an infringement on Butler.

Thomson had a second goal disallowed on 52 minutes when he powered a header into the back of the net following an Underwood free kick.

Halifax had a good chance to get back on level terms on 54 minutes but Paul Harsley had a weak low effort that Turley had no trouble in dealing with.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 1 Halifax 0

Halifax started to pass the ball across the middle of the field but Turley was having a quiet afternoon as the visitors struggled to make an impact.

Halifax created their best effort on 68 minutes. After some lovely play in the centre of the park, Craig Middleton should have tested Turley, but he fired high and wide of the target.

But the Diamonds made the game safe on 72 minutes when Thomson finally got his name on the scoresheet when he out jumped the Halifax defence to powerfully head home Paul Hall’s cross.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 2 Halifax 0

Partridge was unlucky not to have grabbed his second of the game when he struck the crossbar with a delightful chip that had left Butler stranded in the middle of nowhere.

The Diamonds were now in control of proceedings and they looked like that could have extended their two-goal advantage with Thomson and Burgess going close.

There was some nervous moments with two minutes remaining as Neil Redfearn brought Halifax back into the game with a low shot that beat Turley to his left hand side.

But the Diamonds managed to hold onto their deserved three points and it keeps the pressure on the leading pack of the Third Division.

Full Time: Diamonds 2 Halifax 1

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Darby (Thomson 46), Burgess (Brady 81), Hall, Hanlon, Sambrook, Hunter.

Subs not used: Pennock, Carey, Setchell

Booked:

Halifax: Butler, Swales, Jules, Clarke, Mitchell, Clarke, Harsley, Redfearn, Middleton (Midgley 69), Fitzpatrick (Jones 69), Kerrigan.

Subs not used: Herbert, Crookes, Winder

Booked: Clarke 52, Redfearn 58, Kerrigan 75.

Referee: Mr D Crick

Attendance: 3,883 (242 from Halifax)

 

Diamonds  Halifax
6 Shot on Target 6
5 Shot off Target 2
6 Corners 1
4 Offsides 0
12 Free-Kicks 12
0 Yellow Card 3
0 Red Card 0

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