Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 2

By Steven

A lapse in concentration from Stuart Wardley and then from goalkeeper Billy Turley, gifted Kidderminster Harriers a 2-0 win, meaning Rushden & Diamonds will need a win at Halifax in the final game of the season to secure a place in the play-offs.

Wardley’s mistake on 52 minutes let in Richie Appleby to give Kidderminster the lead and then Turley failed to collect a ball that enabled striker Bo Henriksen to tap home into an empty net.

It was Diamonds’ fourth league home defeat of the season and it could prove costly as other team picked up valuable wins.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot was forced to make one significant change to the starting line from the team that began proceedings in the 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe last week.

In came Gary Mills, replacing Ritchie Hanlon who sustained a hamstring injury in the game at Glanford Park, meaning that Garry Butterworth had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.

Back in the Diamonds side was Tony Pennock, after he was recalled from his loan spell at Farnborough and he was amongst the substitutes, replacing Adam Dowell.

For Kidderminster they were forced to make do without Scott Stamps and Drewe Broughton through suspension but Dean Bennett, who is the clubs leading goal scorer, started in attack.

The visitors made much the brighter start as they won a corner inside the first five minutes and it was a clear indication that Kidderminster were not going to settle for nothing less than a victory.

It was certainly an excellent start form Kidderminster as they carved openings through the Diamonds defence and Ian Foster was causing some problems down the right flank.

Diamonds created their first chance of the game on 10 minutes when Burgess scuffed a cross into the penalty area but Onandi Lowe could not connect and guide the ball towards goal.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 0

On 15 minutes, Diamonds created another excellent chance when after some good build-up play from Burgess and Paul Underwood down the left flank, the ball broke to Brett Angell but the striker shot straight at Kidderminster goalkeeper Stuart Brock from inside the six-yard box.

Kidderminster continued to look the more impressive team, passing the ball with confidence and Foster broke down the right-flank but Billy Turley was quickly out of his goal to shut out the danger.

There was a nervy moment on 24 minutes when Colin Larkin collected a deep ball and when Turley came racing out of his goal, the Diamonds goalkeeper was sparred his blushes after the Kidderminster midfielder could not direct his cross to Henriksen.

Although they had not created any real goal scoring chances, Kidderminster were certainly impressive as they continued to look dangerous as they broke on the attack.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 0

Paul Hall nearly broke the deadlock for Diamonds on 32 minutes when he broke into space in the penalty area but his first touch let him down and he dragged his shot wide of the target.

There was nearly an embarrassing moment for Craig Hinton when he nearly diverted the ball into the own net but his header brushed the side netting. From the resulting corner, Andy Tillson brought out an acrobatic save from Brock.

Both teams pushed forward in the final stages of the first-half but neither could find a way through, and a goalless 45 minutes was a fair outcome in an average period.

Half-time: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 0

Kidderminster began the second-half much similar to the first period. Ian Joy found plenty from a short corner and his cross was well cleared from Tillson inside the six-yard penalty area.

But on 52 minutes Kidderminster took the lead. And the goal came after an error from Wardley as the Diamonds midfielder played the ball back towards Turley but failed to spot Appleby who had the easiest job to put to ball past the Diamonds goalkeeper.

Diamonds nearly responded just a minute later when Lowe dragged the ball back into the penalty area but Angell’s shot rattled the woodwork and Wardley’s rebound shot flew straight into the arms of Brock.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 1

With the clock ticking, Brian threw on Scott Partridge, replacing Angell, to add more pace in attack and on 64 minutes Lowe towered above the Kidderminster defence to see a header come off the outside of a post.

Wardley and Lowe went close in the space of a minute as Diamonds began to throw bodies into the penalty area as the home-side continued to enjoy more of the possession.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 1

The game went from bad to worse for Diamonds on 76 minutes when Kidderminster extended their lead. And it came from another error, this time Turley failed to come and collect a ball, which Foster collected, and Henriksen tapped home into an empty net.

Diamonds were now begging to push forward but the Kidderminster defence continued to hold firm and the home-side struggled to make any breakthrough.

Kidderminster finished the stronger side in the closing stages and they could have easily extended their lead but Turley made a number of vital saves.

Full-time: Diamonds 0 Kidderminster 2

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Peters, Burgess (Brady 74), Angell (Partridge 63), Mills, Hall, Wardley, Lowe, Tillson.

Subs not used: Butterworth, Pennock, Setchell.

Bookings: Tillson (77)

Kidderminster: Brock, Hinton, Smith, Williams, Foster, Bennett, Joy, Sall, Larkin, Appleby, Henriksen.

Subs not used: Shilton, Clarkson, Ducros, Bird, Danby.

Bookings:

Referee: Mr G Salisbury

Attendance: 5,478

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