Kidderminster Harriers 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2

By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds & Kidderminster will have to do battle all over again after the two teams could not be separated in a thrilling four goal encounter at the Aggborough Stadium.

Robert Duffy, who was impressive for Diamonds, scored both goals for the Northamptonshire side but Kidderminster showed great character to come back twice, one through a Gary Setchell own goal, to snatch a replay.

Rushden & Diamonds boss Brian Talbot made two changes to his starting line-up from the one that began proceedings in the 2-0 win against Darlington last week at Nene Park.

With Gary Mills suspended, Setchell was recalled to the starting line-up after being dropped against Darlington. Paul Hall, who had returned back to Britain just 48 hours before the game after being away with Jamaica, was named as a substitute.

But the Diamonds boss was also forced to start Duffy in attack, for only his second senior start, with Onandi Lowe missing from the side because of a shin injury that had been troubling him all week.

Kidderminster boss Ian Britton was without Scott Stamps who was missing because of an injury meaning Ian Foster was handed a rare start for the home-side.

JJ Melligan, who has fired seven goals for Kiddy, missed out with his club, Wolves, refusing the Aggborough team permission for him to be cup-tied.

Without creating many opportunities, it was the home side that began the game more brightly, as Diamonds struggled to get to grips with the early moments of this encounter.

And Kidderminster’s bright start nearly brought them an opening goal on two minutes when Bo Henriksen turned past Barry Hunter but his low drive went the wrong side of Billy Turley’s goal.

Kidderminster’s early pressure continued and Hunter’s slip on six minutes nearly proved costly as Drewe Broughton’s low drive skimmed across the face of Turley’s goal.

The home side continued to dominate the early moments of this game and Diamonds first effort never arrived until 12 minutes when Stuart Gray rocketed a shot straight into the arms of Kidderminster goalkeeper Stuart Brock.

After 15 minutes: Kidderminster 0 Diamonds 0

On 19 minutes, Foster should have done better for Kidderminster when he was given the freedom in the Diamonds penalty area only to blast a shot high and wide of Turley’s goal.

Two minutes later, Sean Parrish burst through the heart of the Diamonds defence but wasted a golden opportunity to open the scoring when he fired an effort over the crossbar.

After 30 minutes: Kidderminster 0 Diamonds 0

Kidderminster were continuing to enjoy plenty of possession and on 31 minutes Sam Shilton rose above Mark Peters but directed his header wide of Turley goal.

On 34 minutes, Diamonds created their best opportunity of the game when Duane Darby’s ball put David Bell in the clear and after displaying great strength to shrug off a Kidderminster defender his shot narrowly went wide of Brock’s goal.

Diamonds were throwing bodies forward and looking dangerous on the attack but the Northamptonshire outfit were struggling to find a way past the Kidderminster defence.

However, despite Kidderminster finishing the half the stronger side, it was Diamonds who took an unexpected lead when Gray’s free-kick was buried home by Duffy, drilling an effort into the bottom corner.

After 45 minutes: Kidderminster 0 Diamonds 1

Hall was introduced to the action at half-time, surprisingly replacing Darby, but it seemed to make a difference as Diamonds started brightly in the second half.

On 47 minutes, after Diamonds failed to clear their lines, Flynn rocketed a shot high over Turley’s goal, when the Kidderminster captain should have really done better.

Underwood had a good opportunity to extend Diamonds’ lead shortly after, but a vital tackle from Kenny Coleman denied the skipper a shooting chance.

Hall played a vital role when Setchell nearly extended Diamonds’ lead on 57 minutes but it was the same player who made a costly error to get Kidderminster back on level terms.

A dangerous cross from Shilton was not dealt with by the Diamonds defence and Setchell didn’t know too much about it when he somehow side footed a ball past Turley.

After 60 minutes: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 1

Chances were now becoming few and far between and Duffy should have done better on 64 minutes when the ball broke outside the Kidderminster penalty area.

On 69 minutes, Broughton rose above the Diamonds defence to meet Dean Bennett’s cross but it flew inches over Turley’s crossbar.

But two minutes later, Underwood delivered an excellent cross from the left-flank and Duffy directed a perfect header into the corner of the net to put Diamonds back into the lead.

Kidderminster nearly got themselves back on level terms but lady luck was certainly on Diamonds side as the visitors somehow managed to scramble clear a goalmouth bombardment.

After 75 minutes: Kidderminster 1 Diamonds 2

But a silly free-kick conceded on 76 minutes resulted in Kidderminster getting back on level terms when Shilton’s cross was met with a perfectly directed header past Turley.

Scott Partridge was thrown into the action on 83 minutes and should have been gifted a free-kick moments later was he was dragged down by Danny Williams.

Gray drilled a low effort deep into stoppage time which Brock was able to fingertip around the post, but neither side could find an all important winning goal.

At full-time: Kidderminster 2 Diamonds 2

Kidderminster: Brock, Williams, Hinton, Parrish, Broughton, Foster (Bennett 60), Shilton, Henriksen, Ayres, Flynn, Coleman.

Subs not used: Sall, Smith, Danby, Doyle.

Bookings:

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Bignot, Hunter, Peters, Wardley, Setchell, Bell, Gray, Darby (Hall h/t), Duffy (Partridge 83).

Subs not used: Sollitt, Dempster, Talbot.

Bookings: Bignot (4), Darby (29), Hunter (59)

Referee: Mr Clive Penton (Sussex)

Attendance: 3,079 (417 from Diamonds)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Robert Duffy (Two goals and impressive performance)

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