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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