Rushden & Diamonds 3 Torquay 0

By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds swept aside Torquay United on Tuesday evening as Brian Talbot’s side recorded a 3-0 victory at Nene Park.

Goals from Duane Darby, Stuart Wardley and Paul Hall secured the Diamonds’ first win of the new season.

The only downside of the evening saw the withdrawal of Marcus Bignot, his home debut only lasting 11 minutes as he hobbled off injured.

Brian had to make one significant change from the team that began proceedings against Swansea City on Saturday.

Defender Andy Tillson was declared unfit for the match following his hamstring injury so youngster John Dempster was drafted in for his first league start of his career.

But other than that the team remained the same from the one that started at the Vetch Field stadium, although Brett Solkhon and Andrew Sambrook were named amongst the substitutes.

Torquay named an unchanged starting line-up from the one that beat Bristol Rovers at the weekend meaning new signing Neil Prince, signed from Liverpool in the summer, started after passing a late fitness test.

The first effort of the game didn’t arrive until the five minute but it brought a goal for the Diamonds. Hall broke down the right flank to deliver an inch perfect cross for Darby who headed past Torquay goalkeeper Kevin Dearden.

But Torquay nearly responded shortly after when Martin Gritton picked up a loose ball just outside the Diamonds penalty area and he unleashed a fierce shot that struck the outside of the post.

But Brian was forced to make a substitution early in the first half. Bignot’s home debut lasted only 11 minutes when he hobbled off to be replaced by Sambrook.

But despite Diamonds’ quick goal, Torquay were still looking confident in their play and it was them who were looking the more impressive side in the early stages of the game.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 1 Torquay 0

On 18 minutes Prince fired a low shot from 25-yards and Billy Turley had to react quickly as he spilled the ball away for a corner.

The Diamonds were now starting to find their feet in this game and they soon began to look the stronger side.

However on 24 minutes, Torquay should have got themselves back on level terms. Tony Bedeau fed a delightful ball to Gritton, which split open the Diamonds defence, but the former Plymouth man fired over the crossbar.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 1 Torquay 0

Torquay were certainly creating the best chances of the game and on 33 minutes, Bedeau raced clear of the Diamonds defence but he failed to get his effort on target.

It had been a while since Diamonds had created any worthwhile chance but on 36 minutes Talbot delivered a dangerous free-kick into the Torquay penalty area which Stuart Wardley failed to direct on target.

Just a few minutes later Wardley saw a header strike the post but he was adjudged to have made an infringement in the penalty area.

AT HALF TIME: Diamonds 1 Torquay 0

The Diamonds started the second half brightly and Darby was nearly gifted an early opportunity but he was quickly denied by the Torquay defence.

Chances were few and far between in the early stages of the second half. But it was the home side who were looking more dangerous as they continued to put pressure on the Torquay goal.

And on 57 minutes that pressured told as Diamonds extended their advantage. Hall was once again the provider as he delivered a perfect corner for Wardley to power home a header.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 2 Torquay 0

Diamonds continued to press forward as they searched for a third goal that would certainly put the game beyond doubt. Lowe fired inches wide and Wardley saw a shot saved by Dearden.

Bedeau had an opportunity to get Torquay back into the match but Turley reacted quickly to deny the Gulls striker from close range.

But the game was put beyond all doubt on 73 minutes when Diamond added a third. Lowe delivered a free kick that was spilled by Dearden and Hall was on hand to fire home a shot across the face of the goal.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 3 Torquay 0

Torquay continued to press forward in the closing stages of the game and Alex Russell’s effort saw Turley at full stretch to palm his effort around his post.

Diamonds continued to press forward in the closing stages of the game but the fourth never arrived although the evening provided great entertainment of football.

AT FULL TIME: Diamonds 3 Torquay 0

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Hunter, Wardley, Darby (Partridge 69), Gray, Bignot (Sambrook 11), Talbot (Mills 69), Hall, Dempster, Lowe

Subs not used: Sollitt, Solkhon.

Bookings: Hunter (66)

Torquay United: Dearden, Hazel, Woozley, Hankin, Russell, Fowler, Bedeau, Hill, Hockley (Richardson 58), Gritton (Benfield 28), Prince (Ashington 45).

Subs not used: Douglin, Attwell.

Bookings: Woozley (35), Hazel (79)

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Attendance: 3,602

Diamonds’ MOTM: Barry Hunter (Solid in defence)

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