Rushden & Diamonds 0 Bury 1

By Steven Dove

Rushden & Diamonds fell to their first home defeat of the season after a single goal from Bury midfielder Chris Billy separated the two sides in an entertaining encounter at Nene Park.

Despite sustaining much of the late pressure, Diamonds couldn’t find a way past the Bury defence, and to their credit Andy Preece’s side were worthy of their three points.

Rushden & Diamonds boss Brian Talbot was forced to make one change to his side prior to kick-off. Andy Tillson returned to the starting line-up with Barry Hunter out through suspension.

It was Tillson’s first start since the 4-1 defeat against Cambridge United in August and he partnered Mark Peters in the centre of defence. John Dempster was also missing through suspension.

The Diamonds boss also made a surprise change, as Daniel Talbot was also included in the starting line-up. He replaced Gary Mills, who was named amongst the substitutes. Onandi Lowe returned to the attack and partnered Duane Darby.

Preece was forced to make one change to his side. Colin Woodthorpe was drafted into the starting line-up as Pawel Abbot was out through suspension.

Bury had the first opportunity of the game when inside the first minute, Lee Unsworth broke down the right flank. But instead of taking a shot, the former Crewe midfielder crossed into the box that was dealt with by Tillson.

But two minutes later, Diamonds went agonisingly close and Lowe was only denied by an excellent reflex save from Glyn Garner after Paul Underwood had delivered a good cross.

Bury were enjoying some good early possession and on nine minutes, Michael Nelson swivelled on the volley to pull a shot just wide of Billy Turley goal’s.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 0 Bury 0

After a bright start, Diamonds were now struggling to create many chances and it was the visitors who were looking more dangerous on the break. On 19 minutes, Paul Hall did well to prevent Billy getting a sight at goal.

On 23 minutes, Darby had time to tee up a shot from 25-yards but the former Hull and Notts County striker dragged his effort wide of the goal and it failed to trouble Garner.

Lowe fired a free-kick straight at the wall on 26 minutes while moments later a dangerous cross from Talbot almost caused confusion amongst the Bury defenders.

Gareth Seddon had an excellent opportunity to give Bury the lead on 29 minutes but Turley was equally to the effort as the striker shot from an acute angle.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 0 Bury 0

Turley was then equal to another effort from Seddon just moments later as the Diamonds goalkeeper acrobatically tipped over the Bury striker’s effort when it looked as if it had crept into the net.

Then, on 35 minutes, Matthew Barrass should have given Bury the lead. The defender was alone in the centre of the pitch and when he skipped past Underwood his woeful effort resulted in a wasted chance for Preece’s team.

On 40 minutes, Mustafa pushed forward into the Bury half and tried his luck from 30 yards. It was a good effort from the Diamonds defender as the Bury goalkeeper spilled his effort and out for a corner.

But just moment before the half-time whistle, Diamonds fell behind. A poor defensive header from Mustafa enabled Billy to nip in ahead of Tillson and side foot a shot past Turley.

Lowe had a good chance to bring Diamonds back on level terms before the whistle but that was the last action of the half and Bury were worthy of their slender lead.

Half-time: Diamonds 0 Bury 1

Both sides made a good start to the second-half without creating many scoring opportunities and it wasn’t until 50 minutes when Lowe saw a header cleared off the goal line from Swailes.

Lowe, who was connecting with every cross, once again saw a header go wide of the Bury goal as the Diamonds enjoyed the possession.

A short free kick from Hall saw Wardley glance a header inches wide of Garner’s goal while Lowe saw another header beat the Bury goalkeeper but fly past the wrong side of a post.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 0 Bury 1

On 65 minutes, Hall burst down the right flank to beat his marker. And his perfect cross was nearly headed into the back of the net by Lowe, who had been working tirelessly all afternoon.

The Diamonds were dominating this second half but despite all their efforts they could not get the ball in the back of the net.

Darby tried an effort from an acute angle but failed to trouble Garner while Wardley went close moment before he was replaced by Mills.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 0 Bury 1

Mills hit a shot wide of the target on 79 minutes as time began to run out for the Diamonds. Moments later, Peters made a vital tackle on Newby to deny him a certain goal scoring opportunity.

Just moments after coming on, Preece, the player-manager, saw a header beat Turley but go over the bar.

With five minutes remaining and after a goalmouth scramble, Underwood hit a first time shot on the volley straight into the arms of Garner.

Turley kept Diamonds in the game in the final moments when he produced a point-blank save from David Nugent.

Diamonds: Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Peters, Tillson, Wardley (Mills 74), Darby, Gray, Talbot (Setchell 67), Hall, Lowe.

Subs not used: Sollitt, Bell, Duffy.

Bookings:

Bury: Garner, Barrass, Stuart, Swailes (Nugent 74), Nelson, Unsworth, Billy, Seddon, Dunfield (Preece 82), Woodthorpe, Newby.

Subs not used: Forrest, O’Shaughnessy, Whaley.

Bookings: Billy (55), Unsworth (64)

Referee: Mr M Thorpe

Attendance: 3,925

Diamonds’ MOTM: Paul Underwood (Solid display)

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