Rushden & Diamonds 2 Leyton Orient 0

By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds got back to winning ways this afternoon as two goals in the final ten minutes, both from Duane Darby, sealed three points against an impressive Leyton Orient side.

The Diamonds striker returned the starting eleven to score his first goals since the win against Shrewsbury in August as the Nene Park outfit bounced back from their heavy defeat against Coventry.

Leyton Orient certainly had their chances to win the game and manager Paul Brush would have been disappointed that his side didn’t take anything from this match.

Prior to the game, Diamonds boss Brian Talbot welcomed back Onandi Lowe and Duane Darby to the attack. Lowe had missed the last two games for Diamonds while Darby made his first start since the defeat against Bournemouth.

But the Diamonds boss was without Paul Underwood, who has been struggling with a groin injury. That meant Gary Setchell continued at left back with Barry Hunter continuing in the centre of defence.

Leyton Orient, who have only won once away from home since last October, came to Nene Park in confident mood having beaten Darlington last week and narrowly losing to Birmingham in the Worthington Cup.

Lee Thorpe, the former Lincoln City striker, was dropped to the bench along with Ciaran Toner meaning Jabo Ibrhre and Donny Barnard were both brought back into the action.

With Underwood missing from the side, Brian named Paul Hall as Diamonds’ new captain, a reward for his fine individual performances over the last couple of weeks.

The first chance of the afternoon arrived on two minutes when Leyton Orient’s Jamal Campbell-Ryce powerful run in between the Diamonds defence but dragged his shot wide of Billy Turley’s goal.

It was the visitors who continued to make the brighter start but on six minutes Diamonds created their best chance when a dangerous cross from Stuart Gray nearly found Darby but Glenn Morris in the Orient goal intervened to make a vital stop.

Without creating too many opportunities, Orient continued to enjoy more of the possession then their opponents and were looking impressive on the attack.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 0 Leyton Orient 0

On 19 minutes, Darby was unfortunate to be given offside after Lowe showed his power and pace to shrug off three defender to play a through ball into the heart of the penalty area.

Then just a minutes later, Carl Hutchings went close when, after some good build-up play from the visitors, the midfielder side footed an effort past Turley’s left-hand post.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 0 Leyton Orient 0

Campbell-Ryce was proving to be a real handful for Diamonds and much of Orient’s play was coming from the pint-sized winger.

Orient went agonisingly close on 33 minutes as Orient continued to be the stronger outfit. Matthew Lockwood fired a free-kick over the wall which beat Turley but just brushed the wrong side of a post.

Jabo Ibehre, moments later, should have done better when he beat Mustafa but dragged a shot past a post.

It was the visitors who continued to create the better chances and Lockwood made a breath-taking run into the heart of the Diamonds defence on 38 minutes but dragged an effort wide of the goal.

The best effort of the half arrived just two minutes before the interval when Brazier found time outside the penalty area and tried to chip to Diamonds goalkeeper but Turley tipped his effort over the crossbar.

The visitors had certainly created the better chances of the first half and would have been somewhat unfortunate not to have gone into the lead at the half-time interval.

At half-time: Diamonds 0 Leyton Orient 0

The O’s began the second-half exactly how they finished the first when on 46 minutes Campbell-Ryce floated a cross over Turley but Brazier couldn’t keep his effort under the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Lockwood fired a free-kick over the Diamonds wall which Turley saved well as the visitors continued to throw more pressure on the home-side.

Orient were having all the possession and certainly creating the better chances. On 56 minutes, Campbell-Ryce continued to display his phenomenal pace when his amazing run nearly brought a goal but the effort brushed a post.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 0 Leyton Orient 0

On 62 minutes, Diamonds were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty. Lowe was sent tumbling in the penalty area but just as the referee looked as if he would point to the spot he, seemingly changed his mind, and awarded a corner kick.

For the first time of the game, Diamonds were threatening the Orient goal and on 66 minutes, Stuart Wardley saw a header go just over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Darby turned an Orient defender to brush the side netting as the home side looked, for the first time in the game, the more likely team to break the deadlock.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 0 Leyton Orient 0

Orient should have broken the deadlock on 76 minutes when Mark Peters nearly made a costly mistake after he failed to connect with a header but Nugent blasted over the crossbar.

But, against the run of play, Diamonds took the lead. A Gray free-kick was delightfully flicked on by Lowe on 80 minutes which gave Darby the chance to turn and hit a shot that cannoned of the inside of a post

Darby nearly grabbed a second goal on 83 minutes when a long ball over the top of the Orient defence found the Diamonds striker but he couldn’t keep his shot on target.

But the game was made safe just three minutes from the end when Hall beat a defender down the right flank and found Darby, three yards out, who had the easiest jobs of poking home from close range.

Orient finished strong but would be disappointed not to have taken anything from their visit to Nene Park after dominating large periods of the game.

After 90 minutes: Diamonds 2 Leyton Orient 0

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Hunter, Peters, Wardley, Darby, Gray, Mills, Setchell, Hall, Lowe.

Subs not used: Bignot, Sollitt, Bell, Talbot, Dempster.

Bookings: Lowe (24)

Leyton Orient: Morris, Lockwood, Smith, Harris, Hutchings, Brazier, Nugent, Ibehre, Barnard (Thorpe 83), Ryce, Miller

Subs not used: Toner, Barrett, Martin, Fletcher.

Bookings: Barnard (66), Nugent (77)

Referee: Mr E Evans

Attendance: 4,381

Diamonds’ MOTM: Mark Peters (Solid defensive display)

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