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)

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