Rushden & Diamonds 4 Hull City 2

By Steven Dove

Rushden & Diamonds displayed fantastic fighting qualities to bounce back from 2-1 down to win an astonishing game against promotion-hopefuls Hull City at Nene Park.

The Diamonds were seemingly heading for only their third home defeat of the season when ten-men Hull had cancelled out an unfortunate own goal with strikes early in the second-half.

Diamonds had taken the lead as early as the second minute when Stuart Wardley fought a loose ball with Damien Delaney only for the Hull defender to slot the ball past his own goalkeeper.

But, after going down to ten men following the controversial dismissal of Justin Whittle, Hull hit back in the second half with Jon Otsemobor, on loan from Liverpool, and Jonathan Walters hitting the target.

However, Diamonds’ never say die spirit was evident and when Paul Hall equalised shortly after it seemed as if Brian Talbot’s side would run out worthy winner.

And when Onandi Lowe popped up to hit home his 11th goal of the season, Diamonds knew they had done the job. However, Wardley also got on the act at the death to wrap up a fantastic match and secure three vital points.

Brian recalled Duane Darby to his starting line-up after passing a late fitness test whilst Paul Underwood and Marcus Bignot came back into the side after completing their suspensions.

Andy Edwards was handed his home debut with Hall reverting to the right side of midfielder following his striking role in last weeks defeat against Wrexham.

Hull boss Peter Taylor brought a mass of experience in his side, which included the likes of Stuart Elliott, Ritchie Appleby and former Northampton Town striker Jamie Forrester.

Diamonds started the first half brightly and despite dominating the opening 15 minutes of the game, Delaney’s own goal was all they could show for their efforts.

Andy Burgess and Stuart Wardley bossed the midfield as Hull struggled to get into the game and Darby was full of determination, as he desperately wanted to impress against his former club.

David Bell, back from a trial spell with Middlesbrough, nearly found the target on seven minutes but the midfielder’s shot was palmed away by former York City goalkeeper Alan Fettis.

After 15 minutes: Diamonds 1 Hull City 0

But after 15 minutes, Hull soon found their feet. Forrester was looking dangerous and Walters also could have found the net but their closet effort arrived on 17 minutes when Stuart Elliott’s drilled an effort across the face of the goal.

On 22 minutes, Forrester displayed good striking qualities to chest down a difficult floating ball and hit a volley past Billy Turley but wide of the target.

Hall nearly grabbed Diamonds’ second on 23 minutes when he linked up well with Bignot and Darby to drill a dipping shot just over the Hull crossbar.

After 30 minutes: Diamonds 1 Hull City 0

But a controversial decision by the match referee, Eddie Evans, turned this game on its head. When Darby collected a long ball, Whittle was adjudged to have denied the Diamonds striker a scoring opportunity although it seemed as if there was cover in the Hull ranks.

 

Hull protested loudly to the referee but they were turned away. It surprised many at Nene Park but the referee stuck with his decision and the Hull midfielder departed.

It wasn’t until the sending-off that Hull turned on the style and somehow Forrester managed to squander a great opportunity when he struck a post following a big error from Edwards.

AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 1 HULL CITY 0

The second half saw Hull come storming out of the traps and Walters could have got his side back on level terms when his turn and shot nearly caught out Turley but his effort flew past a post.

Forrester had another golden opportunity but squandered a chance on 50 minutes as the Diamonds defence, for the first time in this game, looked jaded with Hull pushing at every opportunity.

And it was little surprise when Otsemobor headed past Turley on 59 minutes to get Hull back on level terms. The defender was unchallenged and he saw his header fly over the Diamonds goalkeeper much to the surprise of the travelling contingent.

After 60 minutes: Diamonds 1 Hull City 1

What was more of a surprise was when the visitors took the lead. From another corner, Walters drilled a low shot into the corner of the Diamonds net after he had lost his marker in the penalty area.

But this breathtaking match was full of surprises and as Diamonds push forward they soon saw themselves back on level terms when Hall tucked home a loose ball.

Lowe hit a post on 70 minutes although Fettis saved well from the Jamaican international and Bell also rattled the crossbar before he limped off the field of play with cramp in the leg.

After 75 minutes: Diamonds 2 Hull City 2

Forrester should have restored Hull’s lead on 78 minutes when he fired over the crossbar but this was always going to be Diamonds’ day.

Darby nearly connected with a header from Lowe’s cross on 82 minutes and as the timed ticked away it looked as if the home side would have to settle for a share of the spoils.

But with three minutes remaining, Hull struggled to clear their lines and when the ball dropped to Lowe, there was only one likely outcome as the striker fired a shot past Fettis and into the back of the net.

Diamonds even added a fourth when Hall managed to keep the ball in play and as the Jamaican midfielder squared the ball across the face of the goal, Wardley was on hand to power home. It was a fantastic goal to end a fantastic game.

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood, Hunter, Edwards, Wardley, Darby, Burgess, Bignot, Bell (Gray 83), Hall, Lowe.

Subs not used: Peters, Mills, Sambrook, Duffy.

Bookings: Edwards (37)

Hull City: Fettis, Anderson, Elliott, Walters, Appleby (Smith h/t), Whittle, Reeves (Melton 74), Forrester, Otsemobor, Delaney, Keates.

Subs not used: Musselwhite, Jevons, Regan.

Bookings: Reeves (72)

Sent off: Whittle (34)

Referee: Mr Eddie Evans

Attendance: 4,713 (949 from Hull City)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Andy Burgess (Was sheer class throughout)

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