Kidderminster 3 Rushden & Diamonds 0

By Steven

It proved to be unlucky 13 for the Diamonds as we fell to defeat at the hands of Kidderminster this afternoon. But their could be no complaints as the Harriers tore us apart with an excellent second half display

It brought the Diamonds unbeaten run to an abrupt end and it turned out to be a miserably day for the club as we were sent down the Third Division table following this result.

These two teams have met plenty of time before in the past with the Diamonds having beaten Kidderminster on three occasions.

But if we were going to make it four times then we would have to do it without Duane Darby. That was the big surprise for the Diamonds ahead of kick-off with the clubs leading marksmen falling the victim to stomach pains the night before.

That left the gap open for Peter Thomson to partner Scott Partridge in attack while Gary Setchell was also included on the left hand side of midfield in the absence of Andrew Burgess.

This was going to be another tough test for the Diamonds. Kidderminster was currently going through a good spell themselves having won their last three encounters.

Jan Molby’s side was hit by key injury problems in attack but their starting 11 included highly experienced Mark Blake and in midfield Dean Bennett.

Playing conditions were perfect at the ground; there could be no complaints at all about the surface and with weather just perfect all was set for an exciting game.

So off we go and the Diamonds made a fairly bright start with Setchell sending a perfect cross from the left, inside the first two minutes, but nobody in a yellow shirt could grab the vital touch.

Kidderminster were also enjoying some of the play in the opening five minutes but we was looking the brighter of the two sides as we made some clever runs down both flanks.

After a positive opening the game soon began to settle down and Ritchie Hanlon and Garry Butterworth were holding the middle of the park, as Kidderminster attacks were rare.

After 15 minutes: Kidderminster 0 Diamonds 0

Kidderminster won the first corner of the game on 15 minutes but it didn’t mount too much as both goalkeepers had yet to be tested.

Paul Underwood was the victim of a nasty challenge from Kidderminster midfielder Ritchie Appleby, which resulted in the midfielder receiving a yellow card as a result.

It took 23 minutes for the first shot of the game to arrive when Colin Larkin fired a low effort from outside the penalty area but Turley got down well to make an important stop.

That chance seemed to spur the home side on and they soon broke forward again and if the bounce had been a little bit kinder, Bo Henriksen could have caused the Diamonds further trouble when he found space in the penalty area.

Paul Hall found himself with time just outside the Kidderminster area and after bringing the ball down he hit a shot but it flew straight into the arms of Stuart Brock.

But just before the half hour mark the Diamonds fell behind when Larkin sent a low across the face of the goal and Bennett stole in front of Andrew Sambrook to strike from close range.

After 30 minutes: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 0

The Diamonds needed a quick response but it was Kidderminster who continued to control the game, finding gaps in our midfield, although they were failing to trouble Turley.

Partridge thought he should have had a penalty on 36 minutes when Abdou Sall sent him tumbling to the ground, but the referee was having none of it and let the game continue.

Bennett nearly had his second of the game when he managed to find his way around Peters but the Diamonds defender managed to redeem himself by getting a vital touch to send it away for a corner.

Diamonds chances were rare and after such a bright start we could seem to find away through our opponents defence as Brock was having a relatively quiet afternoon between the Kidderminster sticks.

Hanlon saw his ‘David Beckham style’ free kick well saved by Brock right at the end of the half but the Diamonds needed something in the second half if they were going to find a way back into the game and as the half time whistle went Kidderminster were well deserved their lead.

Half Time: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 0

No changes were made to either side at the interval as the Diamonds had 45 minutes to protect their unbeaten league run that had extended to 12 games.

But the home side made an excellent start and inside the first minute of the second half they won a corner and although it didn’t mount to anything, signs were clear that Kidderminster was not going to sit on a one goal lead.

After a long delay, as Hanlon and Barry Hunter received treatment following a clash of head, the game restarted and Jan Mobly’s team still remained the more dangerous.

Larkin forced a good save from Turley on 50 minutes went his powerful header nearly crept inside the left hand post.

Hanlon glanced a header, from a Hall free kick, just wide of the target as the Diamonds tried to find their way back in the game.

Larkin nearly found Kidderminster’s second of the game when he outpaced Sambrook and just fractionally failed to beat Turley when the Diamonds goalkeeper came running out of his goal.

After 60 minutes: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 0 

The Diamonds were still failing to create any real good chances and it surely wasn’t going to be long before Brian Talbot would make some necessary adjustment – and not before long Brian did just that. It was a double change with Thomson, who has a quiet game, and Setchell making way for Robert Duffy and Jon Brady.

Time was ticking for the Diamonds and somebody needed to produce something special if we were going to salvage something from this match.

Hall nearly stole a goal from nowhere after a mix up in the Kidderminster defence but he failed to hit the target after he ran too wide of the goal.

After 75 minutes: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 0

Turley made a fantastic double save from Larkin and Bennett on 75 minutes to keep the Diamonds in the game but it still seemed unlikely that we would find that all important goal.

It looked as if the one goal was going to be enough for Kidderminster but the Diamonds were refusing to throw in the towel.

We threw men forward at every opportunity and Brian made his last change as Daniel Talbot was called into action, replacing Hall.

But the game was over as a contest with two quick goals, one following the other, as Blake stole in the grab their first on 85 minutes and Bennett grabbing his second just a few seconds latter.

Full Time: Kidderminster 3 Diamonds 0

Kidderminster: Brock, Stamps, Hinton, Williams, Clarkson, Bennett, Blake, Sall, Larkin (Shilton 86), Appleby (Ducros 86), Henriksen (Corbett 86)

Subs not used: Murphy, Joy

Bookings: Appleby (21), Bo Henriksen (61)

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Peters, Butterworth, Partridge, Setchell (Brady 64), Hall (Talbot 82), Hanlon, Sambrook, Thomson (Duffy 64), Hunter

Subs not used: Pennock, Rodwell

Bookings: Hanlon (53), Butterworth (56)

Referee: Mr Phil Joslin

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