Rushden & Diamonds 2 Chesterfield 1

By Steven Dove

Rushden & Diamonds responded to their manager’s call of ‘doing everything possible to secure a win’ to come up trumps and collect their first victory in four games.

It may have lacked excitement or entertainment but that won’t bother manager Brian Talbot as Diamonds deservedly kept all three points at Nene Park.

All three goals came in an amazing four minute spell in the first-half when Marvin Robinson cancelled out Barry Hunter’s headed goal. However, the winner came from Rodney Jack who grabbed the club’s 100th Football League goal at Nene Park.

Diamonds welcomed Jack and Andy Burgess to the starting line-up with Gary Mills dropping to the bench.

David Bell was also recalled to the side after only being named as a sub in last week’s defeat by Barnsley.

Chesterfield, rock bottom of the Second Division, included on-loan striker Mark De Bolla in their squad as he started amongst the substitutes.

After a slow start, the game’s first incident arrived on eight minutes when Jack’s pace took him into the area and as he went tumbling inside the box the referee waved away appeals for a penalty.

It didn’t take long for Diamonds to take the lead when, on 11 minutes, Stuart Gray’s corner was headed home by Hunter.

However, against the run of play, Chesterfield responded and were back on level terms moments later when Stewart Howson’s cross was headed past Billy Turley by striker Robinson.

Nobody could have predicted Diamonds restoring their lead on 14 minutes, especially after the poor start to the game. However, Duane Darby displayed great trickery to force a ball to Jack and the former Crewe striker fired home from the edge of the area.

AFTER 15 MINS: Diamonds 2 Chesterfield 1

At times, Diamonds were displaying some nice football and on 23 minutes a solo effort from Burgess nearly resulted in the home-side taking a two goal cushion.

Burgess’ burst of pace saw him skip past the challenge of one Chesterfield defender and fire a low shot which brought out a good save from Carl Muggleton.

It was easy to tell why Chesterfield had been struggling this season as Roy McFarland’s side caused Diamonds few problems.

AFTER 30 MINS: Diamonds 2 Chesterfield 1

A Bell free-kick on 34 minutes took a deflection off a Chesterfield player as Diamonds continued to look more likely in adding to their total.

Darby, who had been causing Chesterfield problems all afternoon, nearly got on the score sheet on 37 minutes but failed to get any power on a close range header.

Burgess was called upon to make an important defensive header on 40 minutes when Howson’s free-kick could have caused serious problems in the Diamonds defence.

However, despite one or two nervy moments, Diamonds held on and took a deserved interval lead.

AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 2 CHESTERFIELD 1

Chesterfield made a positive start to the second-half and on 49 minutes Jamie Cade fired a goal bound effort straight into the arms of Turley.

The visitors had rarely troubled Diamonds but it was their first spell in the game where Chesterfield had the majority of possession.

Diamonds had struggled to get out of first gear in the second half and only a timely tackle from Paul Underwood on De Bolla prevented Chesterfield getting back on level terms.

AFTER 60 MINS: Diamonds 2 Chesterfield 1

Diamonds’ first effort of the second half never arrived until the 61st minutes when Burgess headed straight into the arms of Muggleton following Hall’s pinpoint cross from the right wing.

Jack pulled up on 68 minutes when Hall slipped a ball through to the Diamonds striker as the home side stepped up the pressure.

Neither side were providing entertaining football but a fantastic solo run from Burgess nearly produced a wonder goal on 74 minutes but the midfielder’s finished product was not as good as his surging run from midfield.

AFTER 75 MINS: Diamonds 2 Chesterfield 1

Gary Mills, who had replaced Hall earlier in the half, squandered an opportunity on 76 minutes when the midfielder blasted wide of the target.

Chesterfield threw men forward in the closing stages but Turley was enjoying a quiet afternoon as the visitors struggled to find a way through the Diamonds defence.

Darby’s poor chip on 85 minutes failed to trouble Muggleton but Diamonds refused to rush or do anything stupid as time ticked away.

Chesterfield squandered a good chance in the closing stages of the match but Diamonds breathed a huge sigh of relief at the full time whistle to record a much needed win.

AFTER 90 MINS: DIAMONDS 2 CHESTERFIELD 1

Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Edwards, Hunter, Jack, Darby, Burgess, Gray, Bell, Hall (Mills 71).

Subs not used: Dempster, Sambrook, Talbot, Kitson.

Bookings:

Chesterfield: Muggleton, O’Hare, Blatherwick, Howson (De Bolla. H/t), Payne, Hudson, Davies, Brandon, Evatt, Robinson, Cade (Allott 77)

Subs not used: Reeves, Richmond, Rushbury.

Bookings: Robinson (74), Evatt (89)

Referee: Mr M Atkinson

Attendance: 3,817 (467 from Chesterfield)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Andy Burgess (a welcomed return)

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