Rushden & Diamonds 3 York City 0

By Steven

Diamonds extended their unbeaten home run in the league to ten games with a comfortable 3-0 victory against struggling York City.

Two goals in the first-half sealed the win as York struggled to cope with the pace and quality of Diamonds’ play and the visitors were down to 10-men for most of the second-half when Chris Smith was sent-off.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot named one change to the starting line-up from the team that started against Lincoln with Duane Darby, who scored at Sincil Bank last week, partnering Onandi Lowe in attack.

Scott Partridge was named as a substitute while Michael McElhatton partnered Garry Butterworth in midfield, with Ritchie Hanlon, who missed the game against Lincoln because of a foot injury, also named as a substitute.

Mark Peters was still missing from the squad but Paul Underwood past a late fitness test and started alongside Barry Hunter. Stuart Douglas, who signed less than 24-hours before this afternoon’s game from Luton Town, was also named as a substitute.

York City named a strong line-up but were without captain Chris Brass because of an injury. However in attack, Lee Nogan partnered Michael Proctor, who had both scored nine goals each this season.

Diamonds kicked-off the first-half attacking the Peter De Banke terrace and it was a slow start with both teams struggling to get out off the blocks.

But the Diamonds did get off to a great start when on three minutes Paul Hall sent a corner that was flicked on to Hunter and although the defender saw his shot blocked, Duane Darby was on hand to stab home the rebound from close range.

It was a great start for the Diamonds who looked superb each time they pushed forward.

Diamonds were putting a lot of pressure on the visitors who made a shaky start although York did mount some good openings early on.

York were keeping possession well and the Diamonds were chasing after every ball but despite looking good going forward the home-side were not put under any real pressure.

Darby was looking lively in attack and he was causing havoc in the York defence with his power and pace.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 1 York City 0

Chances were few and far between with the football at times very scrappy and neither side able to get the cutting edge to put pressure on the goalkeepers.

The game was getting even scrappier as the minutes ticked by with both goalkeepers rarely tested and both sets of players unable to work the ball towards their opponent’s penalty area.

Proctor had York’s first real effort of the game and it arrived on 26 minutes when the striker sent a curling free-kick just over the crossbar.

But Diamonds immediately went down the other end and Hall went close showing his international quality to beat a defender a fire a fierce effort just over the crossbar.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 1 York City 0

Turley was called into action on 30 minutes when Proctor skipped past Underwood but the York striker saw his shot superbly stopped by the Diamonds goalkeeper.

York were dealt a major blow on 34 minutes when Nogan was sent tumbling to the ground following a 50/50 challenge with Stuart Gary. The former Luton and Oxford striker had to go off for treatment and York were subsequently down to 10 men.

The York striker did limp back onto the pitch but seemed to be struggling with a knock to the leg.

Chances were still very rare and this wasn’t an entertaining game but to Diamonds’ credit they were doing well in defence limiting York only a few opportunities.

Darby was put through on goal just a minute before the interval when Hall spotted the Diamonds striker and when it looked as if he would get his second of the game he was stopped in his tracks by York defender Gary Hobson.

And the consequences were bad as Darby hobbled off the pitch as Brian sent both Partridge and Douglas off the bench to warm-up, an early indication that the Diamonds striker might not make the second-half.

But just minutes before the half-time whistle Diamonds extended their lead when Gary Setchell sent a perfect cross for Michael McElhatton to powerfully head home past Fettis.

Half Time: Diamonds 2 York City 0

There was good news for the Diamonds before the second-half got underway with Darby returning for action but Nogan had to be substituted for York and he was replaced by Peter Duffield.

Lowe, who was having a very quiet game this afternoon, nearly extended Diamonds’ lead inside the first minute of the restart but Fettis made an excellent one-handed save to prevent the Jamaican international.

But things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Smith sent Darby tumbling to the ground and although the Diamonds striker seemed to be in an offside position the referee had no hesitation but to send the York defender off the field.

It was a harsh decision as Darby did look offside but the referee had no hesitation in making his decision. From the resulting free-kick Gray deceived everyone when he played a short ball to Darby who fired a shot wide.

The game was certainly better than the first 45 minutes although York still seemed to be struggling and the sending-off had certainly knocked the confidence out them.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 2 York City 0

Hunter became the first Diamonds player to see his name in the referee’s notebook following a nasty looking challenge on a York midfielder.

Darby was substituted on 66 minutes, replaced by Partridge and he was given a standing ovation by the Diamonds faithful.

Hunter was involved in a nasty challenge with his own goalkeeper when Turley was cluttering into the Diamonds defender and he had to receive treatment from physio Phil Ward but he managed to carry on.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 2 York City 0

York had their best effort on 75 minutes when substitute Peter Duffield found space in the Diamonds penalty area but his shot was deflected by Hunter and onto the post.

Partridge may have been disappointed not to have extended Diamonds’ lead when Lowe found the striker but he was denied by an excellent save from Fettis.

York, who had been struggling throughout the whole of the match, kept pushing forward but Partridge had another effort on 82 minutes when he outpaced the York defence to fire a low shot.

The game was put beyond York’s reach on 87minutes when substitute Andy Burgess sent a perfect cross for Onandi Lowe to powerfully head home from close range and leave Fettis no chance and secure a perfect afternoon for the Diamonds faithful.

Diamonds were unfortunate not to have extended their lead in the final moments when Lowe saw another header ruled out for offside.

Full Time: Diamonds 3 York City 0 

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, McElhatton, Butterworth (Hanlon 83), Darby (Partridge 66), Setchell, Gray (Burgess 76), Hall, Sambrook, Lowe, Hunter.

Subs not used: Pennock, Douglas.

Bookings: Hunter (60)

York City: Fettis, Edmondson, Potter, Cooper, Basham, Hobson, Bullock, Nogan (Duffield 46), Proctor, Smith, Richardson (Mathie 72).

Subs not used: Howarth, Fox, Stamp.

Bookings: Basham (63)

Sent-off Smith (48),

Referee: Mr A. N. Butler

Attendance: 4,605

See here for video highlights of the game from Gary Mabee Visual Productions.

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