Rushden & Diamonds 3 Grimsby Town 1

By Steven Dove

Onandi Lowe marked his return from injury with a brace as Diamonds came from a goal down to record a vital win over Grimsby Town.

Lowe made his first start for six weeks after sustaining a groin injury in our defeat by Bournemouth in September and celebrated it in fine style.

His overall performance was something Diamonds had been longing for but his brace was overlooked by a stunning strike from Ritchie Hanlon late on.

Diamonds had fallen behind through an Iain Anderson effort but a stunning second-half performance brought kept all the points at Nene Park.

Paul Evans continued between the sticks with Billy Turley still out through injury and there was a welcome return for Ritchie Hanlon who was named amongst the substitutes.

Grimsby made two changes to their side with Greg Youngs and Jason Crowe coming into the starting line-up with Paul Groves, the Mariners boss, on the bench.

The visitors made the brighter start of the two sides and nearly opened the deadlock inside the opening two minutes when Michael Boulding flashed a shot across the face of the Diamonds goal.

An ambitious 30-yard free-kick from Iain Anderson tested Evans on eight minutes but the former Sheffield Wednesday shot-stopper made a comfortable save.

The visitors continued to enjoy some healthy possession but Lowe began to show early signs of his power and pace that had certainly been missing from the Diamonds front-line in recent weeks.

Diamonds carved open an excellent opportunity to open the scoring on 14 minutes but Andy Burgess’ pinpoint header, from Rodney Jack’s cross, was saved by the feet of Aidan Davidson.

The former Bradford goalkeeper probably didn’t know much about the save but it soon became apparent that Diamonds might open the scoring.

AFTER 15 MINS: DIAMONDS 0 GRIMSBY 0

Diamonds continued to threaten the Grimsby goal and Lowe’s pace was certainly giving the visitors problems.

Paul Hall’s deflective shot on 25 minutes rolled wide of the Grimsby goal with Diamonds looking sharp on the break.

Grimsby had caused few problems for Diamonds but the visitors were working the offside trap to effect as the home-side continued to be frustrated.

AFTER 30 MINS: DIAMONDS 0 GRIMSBY TOWN 0

Chances were few and far between but on 36 minutes, Jack latched onto a pass from Burgess only for the former Crewe striker to blast over the crossbar after hitting a shot from inside the area.

Despite Diamonds dominating proceeding, Grimsby took a 39th minute lead when a well worked corner was powerfully struck home by Anderson.

The Grimsby defender sweetly struck a shot which somehow crept under the arms of Evans.

However, the Diamonds goalkeeper soon made amends when he somehow denied Mike Edwards with a shot which seemed destined to hit the back of the net.

Lowe continued to be frustrated by the linesman’s flag and despite their best efforts the home side couldn’t find a way through the Grimsby defence.

AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 0 GRIMSBY 0

Jack saw his name go into the referee’s notebook for descent on 49 minutes as Diamonds began to show their frustrations early in the second-half.

Grimsby started the second-half strongly and Iffy Onuora had the chance to extend the visitors lead when he was left unmarked in the Diamonds penalty area but the striker failed to connect with Jason Crowe’s cross.

Diamonds’ frustration was starting to show as Grimsby defended in numbers and continued to be thwarted by the offside trap.

AFTER 60 MINS: DIAMONDS 0 GRIMSBY 1

A tactical change from the Diamonds bench saw Paul Kitson introduced into the action as Jack moved into midfield with Stuart Gray being replaced.

The change saw Diamonds look lively on the attack and on 63 minutes, Hall nearly managed to bring the home-side back on level terms but the Jamaican saw his effort blocked.

The equaliser wasn’t far away as Diamonds got their rewards for their hard work. A Marcus Bignot cross wasn’t cleared and as the ball hobbled around, Lowe poked the ball home from close range after Burgess and Kitson both had a crack on goal.

Grimsby responded to their disappointment and went close through Onuora and Crowe in quick succession.

However, Diamonds were in front on 73 minutes when Lowe grabbed his second of the game. A long clearance from Paul Underwood released Kitson who showed his experience by finding the Jamaican striker and, despite a moment of hesitation, Lowe slotted by Davison.

Diamonds could have extended their advantage a minute later when Kitson’s glancing header from Lowe’s cross was saved by Davison.

AFTER 75 MINUTES: DIAMONDS 2 GRIMSBY 1

Lowe was given a standing ovation on 79 minutes as he was replaced by Hanlon, who was also given a good reception by the home crowd.

Onuora was denied by some fine work from Bignot as Grimsby continued to search for an equaliser.

The Diamonds defence continued to hold firm as Grimsby began to throw bodies forward.

Crowe fired over the crossbar on 87 minutes and then in the closing stages, McDermott rattled the woodwork.

It seemed Diamonds would hang on to victory but in actual fact they made sure of the win in the closing stages when Hanlon struck a wicked 25-yard drive which flew past Davidson and into the corner of the net.

AT FULL TIME: DIAMONDS 3 GRIMSBY TOWN 1

Diamonds: Evans, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Edwards, Hunter, Jack, Burgess, Gray (Kitson 60), Hall, Lowe (Hanlon 79).

Subs not used: Dempster, Sambrook, Talbot.

Bookings: Jack (49), Kitson (90)

Grimsby Town: Davison, McDermott, Cas, Campbell, Boulding, Young, Hamilton, Anderson (Jevons 76), Edwards, Crowe, Onuora.

Subs not used: Pettinger, Wheeler, Groves, Soames

Bookings: Campbell (29), Cas (90)

Referee: Mr RJ Olivier

Attendance: 4,185 (686 from Grimsby

Diamonds’ MOTM: Onandi Lowe (Welcome back)

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