Rushden & Diamonds 3 Kidderminster 1

By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds secured their first win against Kidderminster Harriers since 1999 with a confident display. An own goal from Sean Flynn, a penalty from Stuart Gray and a second goal of the season from Duane Darby wrapped up the points.
Danny Williams had given Kidderminster a glimmer of hope reducing the score to 2-1. But this was always going to b Diamonds’ day in a game that also saw Drewe Broughton sent off for the visitors.
Prior to the game, Diamonds boss Brian Talbot made one change to the starting line-up than began proceedings against Torquay United on Tuesday evening.
Andrew Sambrook replaced the injured Marcus Bignot at right-back meaning Tarkan Mustafa was recalled to the substitute bench.
Daniel Talbot kept his place on the left side of midfield despite the return of Andy Burgess from suspension, who was named amongst the substitutes. John Dempster kept his place in the centre of defence meaning Andy Tillson was left out through injury.
Kidderminster welcomed back Flynn to the starting line up after reportedly falling down a set of stairs last weekend that had kept him out during midweek.
The game started at a bright tempo and Darby fired Diamonds’ first effort as early as the second minute but he failed to get any power in his shot and it was a comfortable saved from Kidderminster goalkeeper Stuart Brock.
Diamonds nearly took the lead on five when Onandi Lowe latched onto a long ball from Barry Hunter but the Jamaican international was denied by a superb stop from Brock.
Darby saw his name go into the referee’s notebook shortly afterwards when he squared up to Kidderminster’s defender Abdou Sall.
But Diamonds’ closest effort arrived on 12 minutes. From a free-kick, in a dangerous position, Talbot squared the ball across the field to Gray who unleashed a shot that beat Brock but rattled the outside of a post.
But on 14 minutes, Diamonds took a deserved a lead. Talbot delivered an inch perfect corner that caused a mix-up in the Kidderminster defence. It left Flynn to head the ball into his own net.
After 15 minutes: Diamonds 1 Kidderminster 0
Kidderminster nearly responded just two minutes later. After some good build-up play, Dean Bennett ran half the length of the pitch and after beating Dempster and Sambrook he managed to drag his shot wide of the target.
The tempo had slowed down but it was still Diamonds who were looking the more impressive side, threatening the Kidderminster goal and putting pressure on the visitors defence.
After 30 minutes: Diamonds 1 Kidderminster 0
Darby thought he had extended Diamonds’ lead on 31 minutes but the striker was ruled out for offside having been put through by Lowe’s header.
On 34 minutes, Gray delivered an inch perfect ball for Lowe who looked odds on to score but the Jamaican fired his shot wide of the target from inside the penalty area.
On 37 minutes, Underwood made a vital tackle when he denied Parrish in the centre of the penalty area after Bo Henriksen’s clever flick had put him in the clear.
Gray seemed to be inspirational in the Diamonds midfield and on 43 minutes he dragged a ball across the face of the goal but it was just too far in front of Darby.
At half-time: Diamonds 1 Kidderminster 0
Turley was called into action on 49 minutes when he saved at the feet of Stamps, who had beaten Diamonds’ offside trap.
Kidderminster had certainly started the second half brightly and on 52 minutes substitute Lee Ayres acrobatically fired a shot from inside the penalty area but Turley safely gathered his effort.
Burgess was introduced to the action on 57 minutes, replacing Talbot. But moment’s later Kidderminster nearly found themselves on level terms when Parrish broke clear but dragged his effort wide.
However, Kidderminster were reduced to ten men on 59 minutes when Broughton was dismissed for a second yellow card following a suspected elbow to the face of elbow.
After 60 minutes: Diamonds 1 Kidderminster 0
But despite all Kidderminster’s pressure, Diamonds had a chance to extend their lead when Williams brought down Darby in the penalty area. The responsibility from the spot was down to Gray, who hammered his shot straight down the middle and past Brock.
On 71 minutes, Darby fired a tremendous shot from outside the box but was only denied by a fantastic flying save from Brock. Then Wardley unleashed a thunderous shot that Brock pushed onto the crossbar.
After 75 minutes: Diamonds 2 Kidderminster 0
But the game was brought back to life with just 14 minutes remaining of the game. Kidderminster reduced Diamonds’ lead when Williams fired home a free-kick into the bottom corner of the net.
But then just moments later, Diamonds restored their two goal cushion. Lowe broke past the Kidderminster defence to square the ball for Darby to tap home into an empty net.

Full Time: Rushden & Diamonds 3 Kidderminster Harriers 1
Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Hunter, Dempster, Sambrook, Hall, Gray, Wardley (Mills 79), Talbot (Burgess 57), Darby (Partridge 87), Lowe

Subs not used: Mustafa, Sollitt
Bookings: Darby (5), Hunter (30), Dempster (51)

Kidderminster: Brock, Sall (Ayres 45), Stamps, Williams, Hinton, Smith, Bennett (Foster 66), Parrish, Broughton, Henriksen, Flynn
Subs not used: Danby, Ducros, Joy

Bookings: Stamps (15), Williams (39), Broughton (41, 59)
Sent-off: Broughton (59)

Referee: Mr Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Attendance: 3,329

Diamonds’ MOTM: Paul Underwood (Solid display)

See here for video highlights.

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