Blackpool 2 Rushden & Diamonds 3

By Steven Dove

Just like the Blackpool lights, Diamonds shone brightly at Bloomfield Road and took all three points in an amazing five goal thriller.

It was hard to keep up with all the action in the second-half as this game went from one end to another.

Andy Burgess had brought Diamonds back on level terms moments before the half-time whistle after John Murphy opened the scoring for Blackpool after just three minutes.

And after struggling for the majority of the first-half, Diamonds opened the second period in an amazing spell with goals from Rodney Jack and a first from Paul Kitson putting the visitors into a commanding lead.

Despite a second goal from Murphy midway through the second-half, Diamonds held on to three excellent points and pleased a jubilant following from Northamptonshire.

Brian Talbot went into the match keeping the faith in the same eleven players that done the club proud in our 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

It meant Kitson kept his place in attack at the expense of Duane Darby, who for the second game running never made the squad of 16.

Blackpool, who were 4-0 winners over Hartlepool United at the weekend, also kept the same starting line-up as they looked to leapfrog Diamonds in the Division Two table.

Diamonds made the worst possible start to the game when they fell behind after three minutes. The victim of a bad error came from the unlikely Paul Underwood whose back pass fell short of Billy Turley.

John Murphy was onto the defender’s error in a flash and calmly beat Turley with ease, slotting the ball into the corner of the net.

Diamonds nearly responded moments later when, after some good build up involving Andy Burgess, Stuart Gray drilled a low shot straight into the arms of Blackpool goalkeeper Phil Barnes.

Underwood was nearly the culprit of another error on eight minutes. This time the defender gave away possession to Jonathon Douglas but the Blackpool midfielder blasted over the crossbar.

Blackpool continued to dominate proceedings and on 13 minutes, the home crowd thought Wellens had doubled their advantage but Turley was equal to his opening.

AFTER 15 MINS: BLACKPOOL 1 DIAMONDS 0

As Blackpool continued to pile more pressure on the Diamonds defence, Andrew Edwards was called upon to make a timely tackle on 18 minutes when he denied Douglas.

Diamonds continued to struggle to find an opening but when they did, Jack wasted a glorious opportunity to put the visitors on level terms.

The former Crewe striker found the opening on 22 minutes, beating the offside trap, but despite finding himself one-on-one with Barnes, Jack pulled his effort wide of the target.

However, the resulting chance seemed to spur Diamonds into life and moments later, Kitson should have found the target with a powerful header from Marcus Bignot’s pinpoint cross.

AFTER 30 MINS: BLACKPOOL 1 DIAMONDS 0

Diamonds continued to impress with their passing display but rarely threatened the Blackpool goal as the final ball kept going astray.

The chances for Diamonds were rare but when they did come they failed to take full advantage. Kitson was guilty of another opening when his free header was pushed aside by Barnes.

The Blackpool goalkeeper made the relatively easy save from the former Newcastle striker although in truth Kitson should have done better from close-range.

It was the home-side which finished the first-half stronger but against the run of play, Diamonds found themselves on level terms just before the interval.

Having picked up the ball on the edge of the area, Burgess’ run and shot crept into the corner of the net, leaving Barnes no chance.

AT HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 1 DIAMONDS 1

The second-half began in perfect style for Diamonds as they took the lead within the opening minute. Talbot couldn’t have asked for a better start when Jack latched onto a through ball, shrugging off a Blackpool defender to hit a looping shot over Barnes.

In actual fact, Diamonds made an encouraging start to the second-half and should have extended their lead but Bell wasted a golden opportunity, missing from six-yards with just the goalkeeper to beat.

What a turn around from the first-half this was for Diamonds! Further chances came for the visitors and Gray wasted a further opportunity when he blasted over from Bell’s cutback.

Diamonds began to run rings around the Blackpool defence and this amazing second-half continued when Kitson grabbed Diamonds’ third on 54 minutes as he bravely out jumped the Blackpool keeper to head home Barry Hunter’s long ball.

AFTER 60 MINS: BLACKPOOL 1 DIAMONDS 3

The turnaround in events prompted Blackpool boss Steve McMahon to make a change to his side. Knowing the importance of a quick goal, the Blackpool boss switched to a 4-3-3 formation as he introduced Mike Sheron.

And the Blackpool player made an immediate impact as he played a part in getting the home-side back into the game. The former Stoke player crossed a ball across the face of the goal for Murphy to tap home from close range.

The change in formation brought about a positive attacking display from the home-side and Sheron’s thunderbolt effort on 65 minutes flashed wide of the Diamonds goal.

With the buoyant Blackpool crowd now beginning to get behind their team, Diamonds soon found themselves on the back foot as they began to defend in numbers.

Blackpool thought they had brought themselves back on level terms when Kirk Hilton’s corner on 70 minutes was headed wide by Jonathan Douglas from close range.

It seemed like a goal for Blackpool was just bound to happen as the home-side continued to change the shape of the second-half.

AFTER 75 MINS: BLACKPOOL 2 DIAMONDS 3

Chances were being created at both ends in a pulsating game. Diamonds wasted a further effort on 77 minutes when, after some fine trickery from Bell, Paul Hall fired over the crossbar.

Diamonds should have surely been in a more comfortable lead with a number of good chances going begging as Blackpool tried to take advantage of the visitor’s misfortune.

Scott Taylor, the man who scored a hat-trick in for Blackpool in their win over Hartlepool, fired into the side netting on 83 minutes when the striker should have squared the ball across the face of the goal with a number of his team-mates waiting in the penalty area.

With time running out, Blackpool threw more bodies forward but the Diamonds defence continued to hold firm and thwart any attacking opportunities.

Bell went through one-on-one with the Blackpool goalkeeper with a minute to go before the full-time whistle and despite some late pressure from the home-side, Diamonds held on to all three points.

AT FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 2 DIAMONDS 3

Blackpool: Barnes, Grayson (Coid 68), Clarke, Wellens, Murphy, Taylor, Bullock (Sheron 60), Hilton, Davis, Douglas, Danns

Subs not used: Flynn, Richardson, Evans

Bookings: Wellens (10)

Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Mills (Hall h/t), Edwards, Hunter, Jack, Burgess, Gray, Bell, Kitson (Sambrook 86).

Subs not used: Dempster, Talbot, Story.

Bookings:

Referee: Mr M Miller

Attendance: 5,234

Diamonds MOTM: Andy Burgess

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