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

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