Swansea 3 Rushden & Diamonds 0

By Steven Dove

With finances at a minimum, this was a game Rushden & Diamonds needed to win. However a one-sided contest resulted in Brian Talbot’s men being dumped out at the first stage of the FA Cup by Swansea.

Diamonds were never in the game and could have no complaints about this defeat. Lee Trundle, Kevin Nugent and Kieron Durkan bagged the goals as the Third Division side deservedly booked their passage into round two.

Diamonds made as number of significant changes from the club’s LDV Vans defeat by Luton in midweek.

Duane Darby made his first start in six games as he replaced the injured Paul Kitson whilst Barry Hunter and David Bell were recalled into the starting line-up.

Swansea made no fewer than eight changes to their starting line-up from the one which slipped to defeat by Southend on Tuesday.

Swans boss Brian Flynn recalled Trundle to the starting line-up along with the likes of Kristian O’Leary and Lenny Johnrose.

Diamonds made a slow start to proceedings as Swansea made the early progression. However, Paul Underwood squandered an early chance after breaking through the Swansea defence and Darby saw a goal bound effort blocked.

Despite controlling large periods of possession, Swansea failed to trouble the Diamonds defence as Paul Evans, continuing in between the sticks for Diamonds in the absence of Billy Turley, had little to do.

Swansea carved open the first notable effort on 14 minutes when Trundle turned on the edge of the Diamonds penalty area to crash a shot against the outside of the woodwork.

AFTER 15 MINS: Swansea 0 Diamonds 0

Diamonds continued to play patient football and on 16 minutes, Stuart Gray fired a goal bound shot straight into the arms of Swansea’s veteran goalkeeper Roger Freestone.

Chances were few and far between in this even contest. Trundle came close on 19 minutes with a shot across the face of the goal and Gary Mills was wayward with an effort moments later from 25-yards.

Lee Britton, ever consistent in the Swansea team this season, beat Evans on 22 minutes but dragged an effort wide of the target following some good build-up play from the home-side.

Swansea continued to create a number of chances. In the space of two minutes, Richard Duffy and Durkan both went close.

Durkan’s effort, which arrived on 27 minutes, flashed wide of the target after he met Michael Howard’s cross with a powerful header.

Diamonds were dealt a blow before the half-an-hour mark as Andy Burgess was taken off on a stretcher following a rash challenge from Johnrose.

AFTER 30 MINS: Swansea 0 Diamonds 0

Diamonds had failed to test Freestone until Rodney Jack burst through the Swansea defence on 31 minutes to strike a shot straight at the goalkeeper.

The former Crewe man latched onto a through ball from Gray but couldn’t squeeze his effort into the corner of the net as Freestone stood tall.

Freestone displayed great acrobatics on 38 minutes as he pushed aside a fierce effort from Gray. Diamonds worked the ball into a dangerous area and it was Ritchie Hanlon who set-up the former Celtic player who unleashed a shot towards the top corner of the net.

It seemed as if it would be all square going into the interval until Trundle smashed home his 12th goal of the season on 38 minutes. The Diamonds defence backed away enabling the Swansea striker to tee up the perfect effort.

Things continued to go from bad to worse for Diamonds as Andrew Edwards was forced to be replaced by John Dempster after the former Peterborough man picked up a back injury.

AT HALF TIME; SWANSEA 1 DIAMONDS 0

A curling free-kick from Gray two minutes after the restart caused anxious moments for Swansea supporters as Diamonds set out their tactics early in the second-half.

Swansea came out for the second-half to continue and create the better chances. Britton wormed his way through the Diamonds defence on 50 minutes but was let down by a poor finish which failed to trouble Evans.

Trundle, the constant threat for Swansea tried his luck on 56 minutes with a curling free-kick but Evans showed great awareness to make a comfortable save.

Swansea deservedly doubled their advantage on 58 minutes when Trundle teed up Nugent inside the penalty area who had the easiest job to smash the ball home from close range.

AFTER 60 MINS: Swansea 2 Diamonds 0

Diamonds could have few complaints about the two goal margin as the visitors rarely threatened the Swansea goal.

Gray saw a tame header from Hall’s cross on 66 minutes fail to trouble Freestone as Swansea continued to dominate this one-sided game.

Diamonds best second-half chance arrived on 70 minutes when a dangerous ball from Underwood resulted in Hall testing Freestone from inside the six-yard penalty area.

AFTER 75 MINS: Swansea 2 Diamonds 0

Diamonds had no response to Swansea’s domination and it looked in the final ten minutes as if the home-side would add a third.

As time ticked away, the game began to fall flat although Diamonds did everything in their power to find a response.

However, the game was over a contest as Durkin lobbed Evans from 20-yards as the Swansea midfield ran half the length of the pitch unchallenged.

AT FULL TIME: SWANSEA 3 DIAMONDS 0

Swansea: Freestone, Howard, O’Leary, Britton, Nugent, Trundle (Thomas 89), Johnrose, Durkan, Robinson (Coates 77), Iriekpen.

Subs not used: Jenkins, Jones, Murphy.

Bookings: Duffy (71), Johnrose (74)

Diamonds: Evans, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Edwards (Dempster 42), Hunter, Jack, Darby, Burgess (Hanlon 29), Gray, Bell (Hall.57).

Subs not used: Sambrook, Talbot.

Bookings: Mills (62), Hunter (74)

Referee: Mr Steve Tomlin

Attendance: 5,031

Diamonds’ MOTM: Ritchie Hanlon

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