Rushden & Diamonds 2 Macclesfield Town 0

By Steven

Onandi Lowe fired home his fifth goal in a Diamonds shirt as Brian Talbot’s team bounced back to winning ways in an uneventful game against Macclesfield Town on Tuesday evening.

And on-loan midfielder Stewart Wardley made the game safe in the closing stages when he grabbed a goal on his home debut.

Paul Underwood, Duane Darby and Lowe were all recalled to the starting line-up after passing late fitness tests with Stuart Douglas and Scott Partridge back amongst the substitutes.

But Diamonds boss Brian Talbot recalled Tarkan Mustafa into the starting line-up, replacing Andrew Sambrook. The highly talented defender has not been in a competitive league match since the defeat against Leyton Orient in September.

Wardley continued his role in midfield and partnered Ritchie Hanlon while Stuart Gray also passed a late fitness test and took up his normal role on the left-hand side of midfield.

For Macclesfield, they were dealt a blow with top goalscorer Lee Glover and experienced midfielder Kevin Keen both out because of an injury but Chris Byrne, who was rated doubtful, started in defence.

The game got underway with both teams enjoying some good possession play. Diamonds looked strong in midfield while Macclesfield tried to mount some early attacks.

Diamonds won their first corner of the game on seven minutes when Wardley made his presence felt in the penalty area but Paul Hall could not find a white shirt.

Neither side had yet created any chances in this even contest but Diamonds were shading the early possession with Macclesfield content to let the home-side do all the attacking.

The first effort on target arrived on 10 minutes when Mustafa burst down the right wing to deliver a low ball that Hall struck straight at Macclesfield goalkeeper Lee Martin.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 0 Macclesfield Town 0

The game was getting scrappy as the match progressed. Neither side were looking at their best but now Macclesfield were shading the better possession and looked more dangerous.

Macclesfield were being put on the back foot but each time the Diamonds mounted an attack some good defending from the visitors meant that Martin was having a quiet time in goal for the Silkmen.

Diamonds won a free-kick in a good position on 22 minutes. Hall took the kick and found his Jamaican international team-mate Onandi Lowe but he could not guide his header on target.

Diamonds were now looking the stronger team as they began to find gaps in the Macclesfield defence. Hall was making some dangerous breaks down the right flank and he was causing the majority of the problems for the visitors.

Macclesfield mounted their best effort of the game on 27 minutes when former Stoke striker Kyle Lightbourne showed his power and pace to beat Barry Hunter and fire a shot just over the Diamonds crossbar.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 0 Macclesfield Town 0

This game was containing very few chances with neither side looking at their best but Lowe found the ball at his feet on 32 minutes, however, he saw his shot blocked by Macclesfield captain Darren Tinson.

Diamonds had their best of the game on 35 minutes when after some good build-up play from Wardley, Hall, who was looking impressive for the Diamonds, fired a low effort just wide of the Macclesfield target.

Diamonds were now looking the much stronger team with Macclesfield failing to find a way through a strong looking defence with Underwood impressive on his return to the side.

On 41 minutes, Diamonds had another excellent chance. Mustafa picked the ball up deep inside the Macclesfield half and fired a fierce shot but it was just a little bit high and went over the crossbar.

As the half time whistle went, it was Macclesfield who were the happier side. Chances were few and far between but Diamonds may have been a little disappointed that they could not make one of their chances count.

Half-time: Diamonds 0 Macclesfield 0

Diamonds were forced to make a change at the interval with Jon Brady replacing Setchell. That meant Gray was asked to play at left-back with Brady occupying the left-hand side of midfield.

The game started in similar vain to the first with both team’s enjoying good possession without creating any real notable opportunity.

Diamonds had a good opportunity inside the first five minutes of the second-half. Barry Hunter found Lowe deep inside his own half and his mazy run brought a shot on goal but it rolled the wrong side of the Macclesfield goal.

But six minutes into the second-half Diamonds broke the deadlock. It was what the home-side deserved as Hall broke inside the penalty area, skipping past a Macclesfield defender to find Onandi Lowe who out jumped the visitors defence to head home from close range, although keeper Martin might have done better.

Wardley nearly marked his home debut with a goal on 57 minutes when he powered in unmarked to head over the crossbar from a Brady corner.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 1 Macclesfield 0

Brian made a change on 63 minute when Partridge replaced a tired looking Darby, although the Diamonds striker had an impressive game alongside Lowe in attack.

Macclesfield were trying their best to push forward but Hunter and Underwood were doing an excellent job in the defence and Turley had not yet been fully tested in the Diamonds goal.

The first caution of the evening arrived on 69 minutes when Macclesfield defender Chris Priest sent Hall tumbling to the ground that saw the Diamonds win a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Lowe nearly added a second on 72 minutes when he once again showed his power to get his head to a Brady free-kick but his effort went inches wide of the Macclesfield goal.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 1 Macclesfield 0

Macclesfield continued to push forward as they tried to grab a vital goal and manager David Moss made his final substitution with 12 minutes remaining of the game.

Priest fired an effort from a long distance that Turley comfortably dealt with, but all of a sudden Macclesfield were enjoying their best spell of the game.

Wardley fired a similar effort to the one of Mustafa in the first-half with nine minutes remaining of the game as the on-loan QPR midfielder saw his shot go just over the crossbar.

After all of Diamonds’ good work in the entire game they nearly saw their lead slip when Bryne saw the ball fall to his feet inside the six-yard penalty area but fired it over the crossbar.

Macclesfield were not giving up the game and on 89 minutes they won a corner but on the break Diamonds added the winning goal when Stuart Wardley hit a shot on the volley to finish off a move he had started in his own half.

Full Time: Diamonds 2 Macclesfield Town 0

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Darby (Partridge 63), Setchell (Brady h/t), Gray, Hall, Hanlon, Wardley, Lowe (Douglas 90), Hunter.

Subs not used: Duffy, Pennock.

Bookings:

Macclesfield Town: Martin, Adams (Shuttleworth 57), Byrne, Tinson, Ridler, Lightbourne, Priest, McAvoy (Askey 77), Lambert, Abbey, Munroe (Tracey 67)

Subs not used: Wilson, Whitaker

Bookings: Priest (69), Lightbourne (85)

Referee: Mr R Olivier

Attendance: 2,771

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

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