Rushden & Diamonds 1 Orient 0

In a scrappy affair, Rushden & Diamonds extended their unbeaten run at Nene Park to 15 games, as Stuart Wardley’s goal was enough to give the Northamptonshire side maximum points against struggling Leyton Orient.

Wardley pounced midway through the second-half after Leyton Orient failed to clear their lines, but it was the visitors who created the better chances with Wayne Gray causing Diamonds all kinds of problems.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot entered the match will a fully fit squad to choose from and named an unchanged side to the one that drew with Rochdale last week.

That meant Stuart Douglas retained his place in attack and partnered Onandi Lowe while Wardley and Ritchie Hanlon started in midfielder despite the return to fitness of Garry Butterworth, who was named as a substitute.

Leyton Orient recalled their highly talented defender Matthew Lockwood to the starting line-up while top goal scorer Steve Watts started in attack for the O’s.

Diamonds made the brighter start of the two sides and had an excellent chance to opening the scoring inside the first minute when Ritchie Hanlon fired a free-kick over the Orient crossbar.

But Orient also began the game brightly as they looked dangerous moving forward. Watts had the first effort for the visitors but his header went straight into the arms of Diamonds goalkeeper Billy Turley.

Both sides were now struggling to maintain their bright start to the game with both goalkeepers rarely tested.

After 15 mins: Diamonds 0 Orient 0

Diamonds were now beginning to look the brighter side as Lowe caused havoc in the visitors defence and when the Jamaican managed to force the ball into the penalty area, Douglas could not control his shot.

To Orient’s credit they continued to make chances themselves and Turley wasn’t having a quiet afternoon as Carl Hutchings managed to direct a header towards the Diamonds goal.

In truth, Orient were now looking the better side and Paul Underwood had to make a vital tackle on  Gray as the Orient striker would have certainly caused Turley some trouble if he had a shot on target.

And it was Orient would created the best chance of the half when former Cardiff defender Matthew Braizer brought a fine finger tip save from Turley after the ball took a deflection.

After 30 mins: Diamonds 0 Orient 0

Orient were certainly creating the better chances and Gray outpaced Diamonds defender Mark Peters but Turley done well as the Orient striker pushed his shot wide of the target.

Diamonds pushed forward at every attempt but could not trouble Orient goalkeeper Scott Barrett as the visitors defence held firm.

Stuart Wardley had an excellent chance to give Diamonds the lead when Lowe’s header found the on-loan midfielder but he could not guide the bouncing ball towards the visitors goal.

Orient were still creating the better chances and Andrew Harris fired a shot over the Diamonds goal from 30-yards.

Gray was proving to be the biggest threat to Diamonds as Turley had to be alert as he made another dangerous run into the penalty area.

Orient certainly shaded the opening 45 minutes and they were the team unfortunate not to take the lead as the referee blew his half-time whistle.

At half-time: Diamonds 0 Orient 0

Diamonds made the brighter start to the second-half and Lowe had an early effort that went inches wide of the Orient goal although the referee spotted an infringement in the penalty area.

Orient had an excellent to break the deadlock when Gray, who was having an excellent game for the visitors, managed to get in front of Mark Peters, but his shot hit the side netting.

Diamonds were certainly putting some pressure on the Orient goal and Douglas was unfortunate not to get his shot on target after turning the visitors defence inside the penalty area.

After 60 mins: Diamonds 0 Orient 0

But Diamonds made the final breakthrough on 62 minutes when after a scrap in the penalty area where Orient couldn’t clear their lines and Wardley tapped home from close range.

It wasn’t what Orient deserved but Diamonds had been patient and the home-side were looking more threatening in the second-half.

Diamonds now seemed to be in control of the game as Orient heads dropped as visitor’s manager Paul Brush made his first substitution of the game to add more firepower in attack. 

After 75 mins: Diamonds 1 Orient 0

Billy Turley was once again called into action on 75 minutes when, after a mistake from Wardley, Gray burst clear into the penalty area to see his shot deflected just wide of the post.

Orient continued to push forward but could not find a way past the Diamonds defence and an impressive Turley, who had kept the home-side in the match with a number of key saves.

At full-time: Diamonds 1 Orient 0

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Peters, Burgess, Douglas (Partridge 77), Hall, Hanlon, Wardley, Lowe, Tillson.

Subs not used:

Bookings:

Leyton Orient: Barrett, Lockwood, Smith, McGhee, Harris, Watts (McLean 82), Barnard (Hadland 72), Gray, Brazier, Hutchings, Canham (Minton 77).

Subs not used:

Bookings

Referee: Mr P Richards

Attendance: 4,507

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