Bury 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

By Steven Dove

Duane Darby’s 12th goal of the season midway through the second-half was enough to give Rushden & Diamonds only their second away win of 2003 over promotion-chasing Bury.

The Diamonds striker displayed determination and pace to slot home a no-hope ball into an empty net when he caught Bury goalkeeper Glyn Garner napping.

And despite a late onslaught from the home-side, Diamonds defended in a professional manner and take a further step towards promotion to the Second Division.

Diamonds boss Brian Talbot was forced to make one change to his side from the one that began proceedings against Hull City on Saturday. Andy Burgess failed a late fitness test following a calf injury sustained in that 4-2 victory at Nene Park.

It meant Gary Mills was given an opportunity to impress in the heart of the Diamonds’ midfield, partnering Stuart Wardley. Darby continued in attack despite struggling prior to kick-off with a hamstring injury.

John Dempster was recalled to the substitute bench but there was no place for Adam Sollitt despite the former Northampton shot-stopper travelling with the squad.

Bury boss Andy Preece made two changes to his starting line-up. Having signed for the club just hours before kick-off, Pawel Abbott replaced Colin Cramb whilst Colin Woodthorpe was also included in the starting eleven.

Diamonds nearly got off to the perfect start when after 28 second Darby’s header nearly looped over stranded Garner.

And the visitors started much the brighter side with Darby causing havoc in the Bury defence, showing encouraging signs that the striker is over the worst of his hamstring injury.

Onandi Lowe was causing trouble for the Bury defence early on and after six minutes he hit a 25-yard shot, which went high and wide of the Bury goal.

But the best effort arrived at the feet of Jon Newby who was only denied a goal by a flying tacking from Marcus Bignot after the Bury striker managed to create himself enough space following a powerful run and cross from David Nugent.

After 15 minutes: Bury 0 Diamonds 0

Diamonds continued to enjoy more of the possession but were failing to create any worthwhile effort with Lowe struggling to find the target from a number of long-range efforts.

The game slowly becoming a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to find any passing rhythm to their game and not being able to create many scoring opportunities.

Billy Turley nearly got himself into all kinds of trouble on 27 minutes when he struggled to clear the danger from a back pass. But the Diamonds goalkeeper showed great trickery to beat Nugent with a clever dummy just yards in front of his own goal.

Newby’s spectacular overhead kick on 29 minutes flew over the Diamonds crossbar but it was the home side that continued to struggle to get to grips with this contest.

After 30 minutes: Bury 0 Diamonds 0

Newby was causing the majority of the danger towards the Diamonds defence but it was the final ball that was let down for the home side as they struggled to test Turley.

Nugent hit a volley on 37 minutes straight into the arms of Turley following some good build up play from the Shakers whilst Paul Hall went close moments later, with a first time effort that flew wide of the Bury goal.

But as the half drew to a close, neither side looked as if they would edge out in front and it was no surprise when it ended goalless at the half-time whistle.

AT HALF TIME: BURY 0 DIAMONDS 0

Diamonds returned for the second half with no Paul Underwood. The Diamonds captain showed no signs of any injury when he walked off at half-time but he was replaced by Andrew Sambrook.

Brian’s side, once again, started the half the stronger side and Lowe was unfortunate not hit the target on 47 minutes when he struggled to get the ball from under his feet.

But Diamonds should have broken the deadlock on 50 minutes when Wardley was denied by a fantastic save from Garner who flung himself at the former QPR midfielder from close range.

George Clegg wasted a good opening for Bury on 54 minutes when the midfielder spooned a long-range effort high and wide of the Diamonds goal when he really should have found the target.

A fantastic effort from Abbott on 56 minutes nearly broke the deadlock. The former Preston North End midfielder hit a beautiful volley from 25-yards which beat Turley but flew wide of the Diamonds goal.

After 60 minutes: Bury 0 Diamonds 0

Abbot went close for Bury on 63 minutes when the midfielder saw a close range effort pushed clear by Turley as Bury enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Garner was called upon to make an important save for Bury on 64 minutes when Lowe’s power enabled the Jamaican to fly in a cross that Darby managed to flick goal bound from six yards out.

But a mistake from Bury captain Michael Nelson on 69 minutes gifted Diamonds an opening goal. However, the determination of Darby was there for all to see when the striker battled a no-hope ball to lob Garner and slot home into an empty net.

Bury nearly hit back immediately on 75 minutes when Nelson’s cross from the right flank couldn’t be tucked away by any of the onrushing strikers bearing down on the Diamonds goal.

After 75 minutes: Bury 0 Diamonds 1

Diamonds continued to take the game to Bury and Lowe went close on 80 minutes with a blistering shot that flew agonizingly wide of Garner’s post.

Darby nearly caught Garner unaware on 85 minutes but the Bury goalkeeper recovered to deal with a dangerous ball in the penalty area.

But despite a late onslaught from the home-side, Diamonds packed their defence in numbers and managed to keep Bury at bay for an important away victory.

AT FULL TIME: BURY 0 DIAMONDS 1

Bury: Garner, Stuart, Swailes, Nelson (Cramb 79), Forrest, Nugent, Clegg, Connell, Abbott, Woothorpe, Newby.

Subs not used: Preece, Dunfield, O’Shaughnessy, Unsworth.

Bookings: Connell (83), Swailes (85), Clegg (89)

Diamonds: Turley, Underwood (Sambrook h/t), Hunter, Edwards, Wardley, Darby (Duffy 86), Bignot, Mills, Bell, Hall, Lowe.

Subs not used: Peters, Gray, Dempster.

Bookings: Darby (66)

Referee: Mr P Robinson.

Attendance: 2,291 (193 from Rushden & Diamonds)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Andrew Edwards (A more solid performance in the centre of defence)

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