York City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

By Steven Dove

Rushden & Diamonds had to be satisfied with a share of the spoils following a 0-0 draw in a scrappy performance against York City at Bootham Crescent.

The Diamonds had plenty of chances to steal all three points, most notable when Onandi Lowe saw his point blank header saved by Alan Fettis in the closing stages. It was the first time this season both sides have failed to score this season.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot recalled Lowe to the starting line-up prior to kick-off. The Jamaican international striker was rested for the Worthington Cup win against Millwall and he replaced Scott Partridge in attack.

Gary Mills, who on Friday morning was rated doubtful because of a hamstring injury, was included in the starting line-up while John Dempster kept his place in the centre of defence with Andy Tillson on the bench.

Deadly duo Peter Duffield and Lee Nogan started in attack for York City. Alex Mathie made the third striker in a 3-4-3 formation for Terry Dolan’s side, who were unbeaten at home going into the match.

The Diamonds started the match brightly. On three minutes, Stuart Gray saw his shot from outside the area blocked by a strong looking York defence, as Diamonds enjoyed the early possession.

Then just three minutes later the former Celtic and Reading midfielder went even closer. Duane Darby knocked the ball down to Gray whose first time volley nearly beat Alan Fettis in the York goal.

But York soon stamped their authority on the game. On eight minutes, Tom Cowan’s free-kick was floated into a dangerous position but it was just out of Gary Hobson’s reach, who lost his marker at the back post.

Diamonds continued to enjoy more of the possession but were not creating too many scoring opportunities. Hobson was closely marking Lowe while Darby was struggling to get past the back three.

Despite enjoying more of the possession, it was York who were creating the better chances and on 14 minutes, Nogan fired a shot wide of Billy Turley’s right-hand post.

After 15 minutes: York 0 Diamonds 0

The home side were soon finding their feet. Dolan’s side were moving the ball around the pitch with confidence trying to find gaps in the Diamonds defence.

Chance were rare with the match swinging either way but on 25 minutes Lowe should have broken the deadlock when he waltzed past Fettis but directed his shot into the side netting.

Darby had a golden opportunity himself to put Diamonds ahead but when Lowe’s flick found the Diamonds striker he dwelled on his shot for too long and Chris Smith got in a timely tackle.

After 30 minutes: York 0 Diamonds 0

Turley came to the rescue for Diamonds on 32 minutes when he made a vital stop from Nogan’s point-blank header. The Diamonds goalkeeper could only spill his effort but he done enough to stop the attack.

Lowe tried a long range free-kick on 41 minutes but his effort was blocked while Darby saw an effort go wide of the goal in the closing stages of the first half.

At half-time: York 0 Diamonds 0

Diamonds started the second half in a positive manner. Four corners in quick succession brought a fierce opening and Hall went close but his header was blocked by the York defence.

On 50 minutes, Diamonds should have broken the deadlock. A through ball by Underwood released Lowe who failed to get around Fettis but when the ball broke to Darby his first time shot was blocked when he really should have put his strike partner back in the clear.

A Hall free-kick was perfectly delivered and Stuart Wardley went agonisingly close to getting his name on the score sheet but the midfielder’s header drifted just wide of the target.

After 60 minutes: York 0 Diamonds 0

Lee Bullock fired wide on 61 minutes when the York midfielder should have done better. But it was a positive move from the home side as Dolan’s side began to look dangerous on the break.

On 65 minutes, Nogan got the better off a mistake from Dempster and the City striker was unfortunate not to get his name on the score sheet when he saw his shot saved by the legs of Turley.

Darby had a good effort on 72 minutes but he saw he shot blocked on the goal line from captain Chris Brass as Diamonds continued to enjoy the majority of the possession.

After 75 minutes: York 0 Diamonds 0

Lowe fired a header over the bar on 78 minutes before York made the first substitute of the game. Levent Yalcin, a striker, came on for his first appearance in front of the Bootham Crescent crowd.

Diamonds tried their best to mount several attacks but it was the final ball that was letting the visitors down.

It was a frantic final period of the game with Lowe seeing a close range header saved by Fettis but both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

After 90 minutes: York 0 Diamonds 0

York: Fettis, Edmondson, Cowan, Hobson, Brass, Bullock, Nogan (Carvalho 87), Duffield, Mathie (Yalcin 78), Brackstone, Smith.

Subs not used: Potter, Howarth, Jones.

Bookings:

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Peters, Wardley, Darby, Gray, Mills, Hall, Dempster, Lowe.

Subs not used: Tillson, Partridge, Burgess, Sollitt, Talbot

Bookings:

Referee: Steve Baines (Derbyshire)

Attendance: 4,102 (343 from Diamonds)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Stuart Gray (Improving after every match)

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