Bournemouth 3 Rushden & Diamonds 1

By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds slipped to only their second defeat of the season as they were comprehensively outplayed by a strong Bournemouth outfit at Dean Court on Tuesday night.
The Diamonds went in at half-time all square following John Dempster’s first goal in league football. But Bournemouth looked much stronger in the second period and recorded their first home win of the season.
And to make matters worse for the Diamonds, striker Duane Darby hobbled off with an injury and had to be replaced by Scott Partridge just a few minutes into the first half
Diamonds boss Brian Talbot named an unchanged line-up from the one that began proceedings in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against York City.
It meant former Northern Ireland international Barry Hunter, who returns to the squad after completing a two-match suspension, had to content with a place on the bench.
Bournemouth boss Sean O’Driscoll named a very attacking line-up. They included Marcus Browning, who had a trial period with Diamonds during the pre-season campaign.
O’Driscoll actually named an unchanged line-up from the one that lost to Bury on Saturday and Alan Connell was the leading man in attack. Experienced midfielder Carl Fletcher was also included.
Bournemouth took control of the game in the early stages. The home side looked confident on the ball as Diamonds took a while to get into their stride.
The first effort of the game arrived on four minutes. Both Dempster and Mark Peters slipped at vital moments to allow Wade Elliott to run down the right flank. His ball across the face of the goal found Derek Holmes but Billy Turley came to the rescue with an important stop.
It was an encouraging start from the home side with Diamonds still struggling to find their feet. Elliott was causing most of the problems for Diamonds down the right flank with his power and pace.
Gary Mills had Diamonds’ first effort of the game. He picked the ball up outside the Bournemouth penalty area on nine minutes but the midfielder drilled his shot over the crossbar.
There was worrying news for Diamonds on 13 minutes when Darby was seen hobbling around the pitch. He didn’t last much longer and was quickly replaced by Partridge.
After 15 minutes: Bournemouth 0 Diamonds 0
On 17 minutes Dempster made an excellent flying tackling to deny a ‘sure goal’ for Connell, when the Bournemouth striker found himself unmarked in the centre of the Diamonds penalty area.
Paul Hall delivered an excellent cross from the right flank on 19 minutes and Onandi Lowe connected with a flying header but it failed to trouble Bournemouth keeper Neil Moss.
But, out of the blue, the deadlock was broken. And it was a fine individual goal from Stephen Purches as he unleashed an unstoppable shot from 30-yard past a stranded Turley.
Diamonds were really struggling to get themselves into the game and this was nothing like the performance at Bootham Crescent on Saturday, which they controlled the game for large periods.
After 30 minutes: Bournemouth 1 Diamonds 0
But Diamonds got themselves back in the game in the most bizarre circumstances. A corner from Hall was not dealt with by the Bournemouth defence and Dempster was on-hand to stab home his first goal of his career from close range.
It may not have been what Diamonds deserved but it certainly brought to life a game that had been struggling to get to going with limited chances.
Bournemouth gradually began to throw more bodies forward and the Diamonds were bombarded with pressure. Danny Thomas should have got the home side back in the lead but he failed to connect with a bouncing ball inside the penalty area.
Browning hit a first time shot through a crowd of Diamonds players on 38 minutes but Turley stayed alert and made a vital stop.
Both sides tried their luck in the closing stages of the half. Connell had a golden opportunity in stoppage time but he dragged his effort wide of the goal.
At half time: Bournemouth 1 Diamonds 1
Both sides started the second half at a quick pace. On 47 minutes a mistake by Browning nearly proved costly as Lowe latched onto it in a shot but narrowly missed the target.
Wardley cracked a long-range effort just two minutes later after some patient build up from Diamonds as the visitors mounted the early pressure.
The home side was now getting themselves back in the game and they soon restored their lead. On 58 minutes Thomas’ corner was met with a glancing header from Maher that left Turley with no chance.
After 60 minutes: Bournemouth 2 Diamonds 1
Despite taking the lead, Bournemouth refused to take their foot off the pedal and Turley was magnificent on 67 minutes when he stopped a point-blank header from Connell.
By this time Andy Burgess had replaced Wardley and it was his corner that caused confusion in the Bournemouth defence. But somehow they managed to keep out the danger and hold onto their lead.
After 75 minutes: Bournemouth 2 Diamonds1
Chances were few and far between for Diamonds, who were, once again, losing out in this game. The home side continued to look the stronger side and the more likely team to score.
The Diamonds were trying everything. Lowe was finding himself a busy man as the long balls kept flying in his direction while Partridge was working his socks off. However, nothing seemed to work.
But the contest was finally over on 85 minutes when Connell had the easiest jobs to tap home from the close range following some delightful work from Browning down the right flank.
At full-time: Bournemouth 3 Diamonds 1
Bournemouth: Moss, Young, Purches, Browning, Maher, Fletcher, Elliott, Holmes (Eribenne 89), Connell, Tindall, Thomas.
Subs not used: O’Connor, Hayter, Stock, Bernard.

Bookings:
Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Dempster, Peters, Wardley (Burgess 66), Darby (Partridge 15), Gray, Hall, Mills, Lowe

Subs not used: Hunter, Sollitt, Talbot.
Bookings:

Referee: Mr P Rejer
Attendance: 4,527

Diamonds’ MOTM: Billy Turley (Fantastic stops)

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