Wycombe Wanderers 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

By Steven Dove

Brian Talbot taught his former Arsenal team-mate Tony Adams a things or two about life as a football manager as Diamonds recorded their double of the season over Wycombe Wanderers.

The experience of Talbot outwitted the rare breed of Adams thanks to two stunning strikes from Rodney Jack.

The St Vincent international kept a cool head for goals on four and 35 minutes to seal a relatively easy win.

Diamonds’ task of victory at the recently named Causeway Stadium were made hard by the fact that Paul Underwood and Onandi Lowe both missed out through injury.

However Jack settled nerves early on when the nippy midfielder started and finished off a wonderful free flowing move which involved Andy Burgess, the recalled Ritchie Hanlon and Paul Kitson.

Diamonds started like a train down a step hill and Trevor Benjamin, who replaced Lowe in attack, could have doubled the visitor’s advantage with a long range effort which was blocked by the shaky Wycombe defence.

Wycombe had few chances and Diamonds goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown was surely struggling to keep warm in the cold conditions.

A bizarre overhead kick from Barry Hunter on 17 minutes saw Steve Williams make a vital save whilst a minute later a rare effort from Charlie Mapes caused few problems for Ashdown.

John Dempster and Trevor Benjamin both had further efforts before Diamonds deservedly extended their advantage.

Benjamin displayed great bravery and determination to chase down a lost ball and beat Williams, who had came 30-yards out his goal to clear the apparent danger.

As the ball broke loose, Jack guided a long range effort into an empty net much to the delight of the 500 plus travelling army which had made the journey from Northamptonshire.

Paul Hall and Jack both had chances before the interval whilst Keith Ryan should have done better deep into first-half injury time hitting a 25-yard effort over the crossbar.

AT HALF TIME: WYCOMBE 0 DIAMONDS 2

As expected, Ashdown was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second half and Luke Moore’s header flew straight into the Diamonds goalkeepers arm on 49 minutes.

To inspire some attacking threat, Adams threw on Dannie Bulman into the equation and the midfielder nearly made and influence with a long range shot which tested Ashdown.

Diamonds’ attacks were rare but David Bell, who had replaced Burgess midway through the second-half, was threatening to do further damage to Wycombe’s wayward defence.

Jermaine McSporran and Andy Bell both had chances at the death but this was always going to Diamonds’ day as they recorded their first away victory since mid-October’s success over Blackpool.

AT FULL TIME: WYCOMBE 0 DIAMONDS 2  

Wycombe: Williams, Simpemba, Ryan, Taylor, Mapes, McSporran, Senda, Moore, Reilly, Faulconbridge, Bloomfield.

Bookings: Bloomfield

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Hunter, Hanlon, Jack, Benjamin, Burgess (Bell), Dempster, Sambrook, Kitson, Hall (Talbot).

Subs not used: Story, Okounghae, Akinfenwa.

Bookings: Sambrook.

Referee: Mr P Danson

Attendance:

Diamonds’ MOTM: Rodney Jack

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Rushden & Diamonds 2 Swindon 0

By Steven Dove

A Boxing Day brace from Onandi Lowe gave Diamonds the perfect Christmas present with a relatively easy 2-0 win over Swindon.

Lowe grabbed his first goals for three games to take his tally to 13 goals in 14 games for the season.

Swindon were not helped by the early dismissal of Rory Fallon, who seemingly struck Barry Hunter in full view of referee Mark Warren. 

Diamonds were forced to include Andrew Sambrook into the starting line-up as Paul Underwood missed out through a knee injury.

Paul Hall was recalled to the right flank for the first time since the defeat by Hartlepool United as Daniel Talbot dropped to the bench.

Swindon handed Fallon his first start for Swindon as veteran Tommy Mooney dropped to the bench.

A positive start from Diamonds nearly saw them open the scoring when Rodney Jack’s goalbound effort was cleared by the Swindon defence.

Diamonds’ free-flowing football was warming the buoyant home supporters in the cold conditions and Kitson’s header on eight minutes caused confusion in the Swindon defence.

AFTER 15 MINS: Diamonds 0 Swindon 0

Swindon’s opening effort on 15 minutes saw Jamie Ashdown make a full stretch save to prevent Sammy Igoe from breaking the deadlock.

Rhys Evans, the Swindon goalkeeper, was then asked keep his side in the game when Jack’s curling effort was tipped over the crossbar.

However the deadlock was broken moments later when, after 23 minutes, Jack’s pinpoint cross saw Lowe rise above the Swindon defence to power home a header from close range.

Fallon’s dismissal on 29 minutes for violent conduct shown towards Hunter gave Diamonds a numerical advantage but the home-side were soon put on the back foot for the first time in the game.

AFTER 30 MINS: Diamonds 1 Swindon 0

Without troubling the Diamonds defence, Swindon continued to enjoy a good share of possession despite their numerical disadvantage.

Bell’s ambitious 30-yard effort drifted wide of the target as Swindon soon found it difficult to get the ball out of the Diamonds half.

Despite a late onslaught from Diamonds they couldn’t add to Lowe’s header and had to settle for a single goal lead at the half-time whistle.

AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 1 SWINDON TOWN 0

Diamonds made an instant impression in the second-half and Lowe had a shot blocked on 49 minutes which would have certainly tested Evans had it found its way through the crowd.

On 54 minutes, Hall went close to doubling Diamonds advantage. After some fine trickery down the left flank from Jack, the Diamonds midfielder couldn’t keep a difficult ball on target with the Swindon defence cut open.

A low drive from Steve Robinson on 57 minutes was one of a few efforts from the visitors which was equally matched with by Ashdown.

AFTER 60 MINS: Diamonds 1 Swindon 0

Lowe added to Diamonds’ lead on 61 minutes with a curling 20-yard free kick after Alan Reeves had brought down the Jamaican international striker on the edge of the area.

The Diamonds striker superbly curled the ball around the Swindon wall, leaving Evans scrambling across the face of his goal, unable to prevent his side slipping further behind.

Diamonds refused to lie down and continued to pressure the Swindon goal and Lowe went inches wide to claiming his hat-trick on 67 minutes.

AFTER 75 MINS: Diamonds 2 Swindon 0

Tommy Mooney’s free-kick on 81 minutes failed to trouble Diamonds as it became increasingly unlikely that the visitors would respond.

Kitson was unable to reach Andy Burgess’ through ball on 85 minutes and moments later the latter fired straight at Evans when he was unchallenged.

It never mattered as Diamonds completed this much-needed victory with relative ease.

AT FULL TIME: DIAMONDS 2 SWINDON 0 

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Hunter, Jack, Burgess, Dempster, Sambrook, Bell, Kitson, Hall, Lowe (Hanlon 72)

Subs not used: Benjamin, Talbot, Okounghae, Akinfenwa

Bookings:

Swindon Town: Evans, Gurney, Igoe (Mooney 58), Parkin, Miglioranzi, Nicholas, Fallon, Howard (Duke 72), Reeves, Robinson, Ifill.

Subs not used: Griemink, Hewlett, Ruster

Bookings: Robinson (41), Reeves (61)

Sent-Off: Fallon (30)

Referee: Mr M.R Warren

Attendance: 4,845 (1089 from Swindon)

Diamonds’ MOTM: Rodney Jack

Peterborough United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 1

By Stephen Brown

After holding the lead from Paul Kitson’s 49th minute strike Rushden & Diamonds finally succumbed to three late goals to go down to defeat at London Road Peterborough this afternoon.

Over 1500 R&D supporters made the short trip to witness this local derby as the teams met for the first time in league action as Posh celebrated their 2000th league fixture in style.

The game took place in dreadful weather conditions with a strong wind & driving rain preventing a footballing classic and it became a battle of attrition as both teams tried to overcome both their opponents and the weather.

Rushden & Diamonds continued to be without Billy Turley, Stuart Wardley, Robert Duffy & Stuart Gray along with Trevor Benjamin who suffered a groin injury in training this week. Additionally, former Posh players Andy Edwards & Ritchie Hanlon were unable to face their old team today – Edwards continuing with back troubles whilst Hanlon was not quite ready after a recent hamstring injury.

John Dempster flew back from Scottish under-20 duty to continue his excellent run in central defence with Barry Hunter and loanee goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown played after agreeing to extend his stay for another month.

Posh came into the game in the knowledge that they had failed to secure a home league victory so far this season and had lost their last two games – both away from home. Goalkeeper Mark Tyler failed to recover from injury suffered during last week’s defeat at Wrexham and was replaced by James Pullen. Matthew Gill & David Farrell overcame injury scares but were named on the bench in a line-up showing 4 changes from last week with new signing from Fulham Calum Willock leading the attack.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Ashdown Bignott Underwood (Sambrook 70) Mills Hunter Jack Burgess Dempster Talbot (sub Bell 79) Kitson (sub Hall 86) Lowe

Subs unused: Story, Akinfenwa

Peterborough United: Pullen Legg Arber Clarke (sub Farrell 72) Kanu Woodhouse Jelleyman Burton (sub Gill 93) Logan Thomson Willock (sub Fotiadis 90)

Subs unused: Scott, Newton

Referee: Mr A Bates

Rushden & Diamonds kicked off the game facing into the teeth of the very strong wind and found themselves immediately on the back foot. Paul Underwood conceded a free kick on the edge of the area but Woodhouse put his shot high over the bar.

Posh laid siege to Diamond’s goal with Andy Legg, armed with a huge long throw routine, continually pressurising the away side with several efforts into the penalty box but, fortunately, no clear cut chances were created.

Mills broke out to find Kitson whose cross was easily collected by goalkeeper Pullen.

Back came Posh and Woodhouse thundered a 35-yard left foot effort inches wide of Jamie Ashdown’s left-hand post.

Legg’s throw from near the half way line caused trouble for Diamonds and Clarke’s shot was only just blocked and scrambled away for a corner. The corner wasn’t cleared and Logan had a snap shot half saved by Ashdown but it took a goal-line clearance by Talbot to keep the game scoreless.

After 15 minutes: Peterborough United 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Posh continued in the ascendancy and it took a good defensive header from Mills to avert a dangerous cross into the box and a minute later Legg’s low drilled effort went only inches past the far post.

At last Diamonds responded and Kitson set up Talbot to deliver a dangerous ball across the face of the home goal but Posh were soon back on the attack and it took a very good block by Hunter on the edge of the area to deny Clarke.

Somehow Willock found himself unmarked at the far post from a corner kick but his header down across the Diamond’s goal was smuggled away.

Logan turned well in the box but his shot was weak and Ashdown had no difficulty in making the save.

Diamonds ventured upfield and when Talbot was adjudged to have been obstructed, he delivered the free kick himself to the far post where it reached Onandi Lowe who tried a left foot volley but frustratingly failed to connect.

After 30 minutes: Peterborough United 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Woodhouse was only just over the bar with a rising drive after another Legg throw was only partially cleared.

Bignott sent a right wing free kick to the far post but Lowe’ header was too close to goalkeeper Pullen as Kitson closed in.

A clever through ball from Mills released Jack but after winning his tussle with Jelleyman he could only drag his right foot shot across the face of the goal.

Right on half time Posh came closest to breaking the deadlock when, inevitably from a Legg long throw, Burton’s header was brilliantly clawed away at full stretch by Ashdown as the ball seemed destined for the corner of the net.

Half Time: Peterborough United 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Posh started the second half facing the strong wind but in familiar fashion Burton had a snap shot over the bar after another Legg long throw.

Then, out of the blue and with their first effort on target, Diamonds took the lead in the 49th minute. Talbot took an inswinging free kick from the right and when Lowe’s header was turned against the post by Pullen, Kitson was on hand to stab the rebound over the line from six-yards for his fourth goal of the season.

Posh responded immediately with Legg crashing a pile driver against Ashdown’s right hand post with the goalkeeper well beaten. The ball was cleared and Diamond’s survived.

Lowe received the game’s first booking when he was adjudged to have fouled Burton from behind.

After 60 minutes: Peterborough United 0 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds

Willock put his header from yet another Legg long throw just over the bar and moments later Logan delivered a wicked right wing cross which Ashdown did very well to push away at full stretch.

Woodhouse drilled a cross shot just wide of the far post just before Underwood, who had looked to have sustained a pull moments before was replaced by Sambrook.

Kitson managed to steer his header towards Lowe but the striker’s attempted shot was wayward as he slipped on the greasy surface.

Home manager Barry Fry began to ring the changes in attempt to find a breakthrough – replacing Clarke with Farrell after 72 minutes.

After 75 minutes: Peterborough United 0 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds

After resisting so stubbornly for so long Diamond’s eventually conceded their lead and it came from a mistake from Hunter. He failed to clear a through ball allowing Logan to get free and as Ashdown came out to narrow the angle, he slipped the ball to Willock to put the ball into the empty net. This was a tragedy for Hunter as both he and Dempster had been outstanding in the Diamonds rearguard action all afternoon.

Bell replaced Talbot two minutes later but Posh struck again to turn the scoreline on its head. As Willock drove into the penalty area from the left Jack was adjudged to have fouled him from behind. The referee awarded a penalty in spite of Diamond’s protests and Woodhouse despatched the kick to put the home side into the lead.

Worse was to follow just three minutes later as Diamonds’ world fell apart. Substitute Farrell worked his way from the touchline into the Diamond’s area and as defenders closed he sent a terrific drive into the roof of the net past the helpless Ashdown.

Hall immediately replaced Kitson but it was to no avail. Diamonds failed to test the home goalkeeper in the dying minutes and Posh went on to record their first home league victory of the season.

Full Time: Peterborough United 3 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds

Peterborough United 3 v 1 Rushden & Diamonds

Willock 77 Kitson 49 Woodhouse (pen) 83 Farrell 86

Attendance 6176 (1576 from Rushden & Diamonds)

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Bristol City 1

By Steven Dove

On paper it was the minnows against the giants but on reflection of the 90 minutes a 1-1 draw over Bristol City was probably justified.

Daniel Talbot was credited with his first goal of the season after three minutes but a Lee Miller close range effort in the second-half was deserved as Bristol City enjoyed large spells of possession.

If it hadn’t been for a blinding save from on-loan goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown shortly after Miller’s goal, Diamonds could have fell to their fourth home defeat of the season.

Gary Mills was sent-off late on to put a damper on a spirited Diamonds performance.

Following Stuart Gray’s hernia operation, Diamonds boss Brian Talbot was forced to make a change to his midfield with Talbot making only his second start of the season.

John Dempster continued in defence with Andrew Edwards still suffering back problems whilst David Bell was named as a substitute after jetting back from the World Youth Championships in the UAE. Bayo, recently signed on a non-contract, was amongst the substitutes.

Bristol City, very much in the promotion shake-up, named the same starting eleven which grinded out an FA Cup draw with Barnsley last week although Danny Wilson did recall Mike Stowell to the bench.

Diamonds made the perfect start taking the lead after three minutes. A pinpoint cross from Paul Underwood saw Onandi Lowe tower above the visitors head to crash a header against the woodwork.

Well the ball rebounded off a post Steve Phillips, the Bristol City goalkeeper, could do nothing as it hit his back rolling kindly for Talbot to poke home from close range.

Diamonds could have easily extended their lead moments later when Lowe’s trade mark free-kick was spilled by Phillips only for Dempster to fire wide of a target.

After a slow start, Bristol City pegged Diamonds back and a fierce effort from Craig Woodman on eight minutes tested Ashdown from long range.

AFTER 15 MINS: Diamonds 1 Bristol City 0

After a surging run Aaron Brown wasted a golden opportunity to bring the visitors on level terms, scuffing a shot from just outside the area.

The visitors continued to enjoy some healthy possession without trouble the solid Diamonds defence and the impressive Ashdown.

Lowe and Trevor Benjamin both had chances with the latter having a penalty appeal turned down following a shirt tug from Danny Coles.

AFTER 30 MINS: Diamonds 1 Bristol City 0

A timely tackle from Barry Hunter on Lee Peacock, who went surging towards the Diamonds goal, denied the visitors an equaliser.

For the first time in the game, Bristol City began to play impressive football as their quick passing and quick thinking were carving the Diamonds defence open.

As Diamonds began to get frustrated by needless decisions from the referee, Marcus Bignot and Rodney Jack went into the referee’s notebook for clumsy challenges.

Despite the visitors finishing the half strongly, Andy Burgess could have extended Diamonds’ lead but a curling 25-yard effort on the stroke of half-time flew wide of Phillips’ goal.

AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 1 BRISTOL CITY 0

Lowe nearly opened the scoring for Diamonds three minutes into the second-half with a 25-yard effort although Phillips made a comfortable save.

Bristol City thought they had brought themselves back on level terms when Brian Tinnion headed home from close range. However an earlier infringement saw the goal ruled out by the match referee.

In a bid to add more attacking threat, the Bristol bench made an early substitution in the second-half with Christian Roberts thrown into the action.

AFTER 60 MINS: Diamonds 1 Bristol City 0

On 64 minutes, Lowe’s goal bound effort was heading into the back of the net until it took a wicked deflection off Barry Hunter.

Both sides had chances to score in the second-half but Diamonds were frustrated by some good goalkeeping by Phillips whilst City were guilty of some poor finishing.

With City pressing forward, they got their rewards on 70 minutes when Miller, on his second attempt, fired home from close range, leaving Ashdown no chance.

It was the Diamonds goalkeeper who was called to make a vital save flinging himself to stop Lee Miller’s 25-yard driver which would have certainly crept into the net.

AFTER 75 MINS: Diamonds 1 Bristol City 1

Brown was gifted a free header on 80 minutes but was unable to find the target as Bristol City looked the more likely side to find a winner.

On 84 minutes, Lowe couldn’t keep a Bignot cross on target as Diamonds began to push forward.

Bristol City had chances at the death, most notably through Leroy Lita, but a share of the spoils was what both teams deserved.

A second yellow card for Mills for a challenge on Luke Wilkshire saw him sent-off late on to end the game in disappointment.

AFTER 90 MINS: DIAMONDS 1 BRISTOL CITY 1

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Hunter, Jack, Benjamin (Kitson 73), Burgess, Dempster, Talbot (Bell 63), Lowe.

Subs not used: Sambrook, Hall, Bayo.

Bookings: Bignot (34), Jack (39), Mills (78, 90)

Sent-Off: Mills (90)

Bristol City: Phillips, Carey, Hill, Wilkshire, Peacock, Miller (Lita 85), Tinnion, Brown, Clist (Roberts 56), Coles, Woodman.

Subs not used: Butler, Burnell, Stowell.

Bookings:

Attendance: 4,340 (979 from Bristol City)

Referee: Mr F G Stretton

Diamonds’ MOTM: John Dempster

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