Rushden & Diamonds 0 AFC Bournemouth 3

After an unsettling week at Nene Park, Diamonds went down to three well taken goals from play-off hopefuls Bournemouth.

Brian Stock, James Hayter and Warren Feeney did the damage while two long range shots from Richie Hanlon were the closest Rushden came to getting on to the scoresheet.

The departure of 4 senior players on transfer deadline day left manager Barry Hunter having to make several changes from the one that was defeated at Brentford last week. Underwood, Bignot, Hall and Lowe all moved on so the manager recalled himself to the centre of defence to partner Andy Edwards with Leo Roget switching to right back. Andy Sambrook started at left back while Andy Burgess replaced the injured Gary Mills in midfield.

Play-off hopefuls Bournemouth made one change from the team that lost 2 – 1 at home to Blackpool in midweek. Marcus Browning was ruled out with a groin strain so Stock came into midfield.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Steve Fletcher drove across the face of the goal on 8 minutes while Hayter flashed a header wide following Stock’s free kick.

A mistake from Karl Broadhurst after 18 minutes allowed Rodney Jack the chance to turn and shoot but his effort went wide of the left hand upright. Four minutes later the visitors almost took the lead when Warren Cummings left wing cross was touched on by Hayter but the shot fell the wrong side of the far post.

Stock hit a long range shot just wide before Hanlon tested Neil Moss with a 30 yard strike. At the other end, Lewis Buxton saw his long range effort dip just over the bar.

The visitors were finding plenty of space and enjoying most of the early possession and it was no real surprise when they took the lead after 37 minutes. Roget was off the field with a head injury that required 4 stitches when Feeney found Stock all alone on the right of the penalty area and he easily beat Billy Turley diving to his right.

Paul Kitson failed to appear for the second half due to a suspected broken toe so Diamonds introduced Robert Duffy at the start of the second half only for the home side to go further behind three minutes later. Steve Fletcher fed Claus Jorgensen on the edge of the penalty area and then found Hayter in acres of space to his right. Hayter drew Turley before slotting the ball home.

Diamonds didn’t give up and Stuart Gray’s header was comfortably saved by Moss before Hanlon unleashed another thunderbolt from 35 yards which went narrowly wide.

But the game was effectively over on 63 minutes. Hunter’s defensive header only found Hayter who quickly fed Feeney on the edge of the area and he coolly rounded Turley before tapping home into an empty net.

Rushden immediately sent on Marcus Kelly for David Bell and he lit up an otherwise disappointing afternoon. On 77 minutes, the youngster easily beat Warren Cummings on the right but could only shoot into the side netting.

Diamonds: Turley, Edwards, Hunter, Hanlon, Jack, Burgess, Gray, Sambrook, Bell (Kelly 62), Kitson (Duffy 46), Roget

Subs unused: Dempster, Story, Okonghae, 

Bookings: Kitson 26, Duffy 64, Hunter 76

Bournemouth, Moss, Purches, Broadhurst (Tindall 74), Maher, Stock, Feeney(Holmes 83), Fletcher, Hayter, Buxton, Cummings, Jorgensen (O’Conner 74)

Subs unused: Young, Elliott, 

Bookings: Buxton 49, Maher 90

Diamonds MOM: Stuart Gray

Match report by Chris Barritt

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Brentford 3 Rushden & Diamonds 2

On a very windy afternoon in West London, the Diamonds slipped to defeat after their hosts took advantage of the wind-assistance to build a 3-0 lead that the Diamonds could not claw back despite goals from substitutes Andy Burgess and Onandi Lowe.

Kick Off was delayed and the Diamonds warm-up truncated as they were late arriving due to traffic problems.

Match report by Chris Barritt

A storming comeback by Diamonds ended in vain as struggling Brentford held on to take three precious points at Griffin Park.

Brentford scored three goals in ten first half minutes before Andy Burgess and Onandi Lowe grabbed two late goals to give the home fans a nervous last few minutes.

Manager Barry Hunter made two changes from the side that beat Notts County in midweek. Richie Hanlon came into midfield for Paul Hall while Paul Kitson replaced  Lowe up front.

Brentford were under new management and came into the game without a victory in 8 games and just one win from their last 19 matches. Martin Allen – a former playing colleague of Hunter at Reading – left Barnet in midweek to take up the helm at Griffin Park.

On a blustery afternoon in West London, Brentford made a bright start and Leo Roget – back at his old club – had to be alert after 4 minutes to block the on rushing Jay Tabb. Ten minutes later, a long throw from Michael Dobson came back out to the defender and he drilled the ball across the face of the goal but nobody was able to get a touch.

However, Diamonds were rocked back on their heels when they conceded two goals in a minute midway through the half. Stephen Hunt provided a 25th minute cross which was cleared only as far as Tabb and the diminutive midfielder shot low past Billy Turley.

Worst was to follow moments later. Tabb fed Matt Harrold on the edge of the penalty area and when the shot came in, Turley could only palm the ball into the path of Hunt who tucked the ball home from close range.

Diamonds first real effort of note came in the 29th minute through a long range shot from Rodney Jack while a minute later Hanlon’s 25 yard free kick was blocked by Alan Julian’s legs.

Turley pulled off a superb save to deny Hunt’s free kick before the home side scored a third goal on 35 minutes. There didn’t seem any real danger when Stewart Talbot picked the ball up 35 yards out but his speculative shot deceived Turley and found the left hand corner of the net.

Diamonds problems increased when they lost the services of Gary Mills on the stroke of half-time with an ankle injury. Hall came on for the few seconds remaining.

The visitors had the wind in their favour in the second half and Diamonds sent on Lowe to replace Hanlon but it was The Bees who still carved out the better chances. Fine play by Tabb ended with a shot that went wide while Hunt made space for himself but he couldn’t find the target.

On the hour, the industrious Tabb attempted an audacious 35 yard lob but Turley was wise to the danger while four minutes later Jack hit a shot which sailed over the bar.

Slowly but surely Diamonds increased the tempo and they were rewarded with their first goal on 75 minutes. Marcus Bignot’s cross was headed across the face of the goal by Lowe and Burgess slid in at the far post to score.

Ben May and Talbot both missed glorious chances to increase Brentford’s lead late on – Turley touching away the latter’s cross shot – before Diamonds set up a grandstand finish two minutes from time thanks to Lowe’s strike after Roget’s effort had come back off the post.

In the dying seconds, the visitors had strong appeals for a penalty waived away when Jack appeared to be impeded in the box but Brentford held on.

Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Mills (Hall 45), Edwards, Hanlon (Lowe 46), Jack, Gray, Bell (Burgess 69), Kitson, Roget

Subs unused: Hunter, Duffy,

Bookings: Bignot 31, Lowe 56, Roget 79

Brentford: Julian, Dobson, Talbot, Sonko, Tabb (Frampton 90), Hunt (Evans 66), Harrold (O’Conner 73), Hutchinson, May, Hunt, Bull

Subs unused:  Tommy Wright, Lennie

Bookings: Hunt 35, Evans 88, Julian 90

Diamonds MOM: Jack

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Notts County 1

A first career brace from defender Andy Edwards gave Diamonds a welcome three points at Nene Park.

Edwards struck twice in the first half following set pieces while substitute Tony Scully pulled one back for the visitors midway through the second half.

There was a surprise omission in the Diamonds line-up with Barry Hunter staying on the sidelines to oversee his home debut as acting player manager. The home crowd gave him a warm welcome as he came out onto the pitch.

Diamonds reverted to 4-4-2 with Paul Hall coming back into the side for Hunter and Onandi Lowe replacing Paul Kitson up front. Reading recalled ‘keeper Jamie Ashdown from his loan spell leaving Bill Turley to make his re-appearance after injuring his knee in the victory at Blackpool almost five months ago. Paul Underwood made his 300th competitive appearance for the club.

Notts County came to Nene Park on the back of a 5 game unbeaten run and they made one change from the team that drew at Wycombe at the weekend. Steve Scoffham switched places with Tony Scully to partner leading scorer Paul Heffernan up front.

On a perfect night for football, Lowe immediately gave notice of his intent with a trademark 30-yard free kick which was only just inches over the bar. On 9 minutes. Rodney Jack cut menacingly into the penalty box from the left only to see Pegguy Arphexad pull off a superb one handed save diving to his left.

A minute later and Diamonds were deservedly in front. David Bell’s corner was only half-cleared as far as Gary Mills and his attempted shot fell nicely to Andy Edwards who cleverly found the net from close range.

The visitors looked quick and keen on the break and began asking the Diamonds defence some questions without actually looking too dangerous in front of goal.

Rushden, meanwhile, were knocking the ball around with pace and confidence and after a period of midfield stalemate they scored a second goal with Edwards again the scorer. Bell’s corner from the right was headed down by Leo Roget and Edwards flicked the ball over Arphexad for his third goal of the season.

Seven minutes from the interval it was the turn of Edwards the defender when he made a timely interception to deny Heffernan after Turley had spilled Simon Baldry’s long range effort. 

The visitors made two substitutions at the start of the second half with Ian Baraclough and Scully replacing Darren Caskey and Baldry.

The Magpies pressed continuously for a way back into the game and started to take a grip of midfield. Heffernan and Paul Bolland both had shots go wide before the visitors reduced the arrears on 62 minutes.

Substitute Scully was allowed too much room in the middle of the Diamonds half and then he unleashed an accurate left foot shot from 20 yards which beat Turley diving to his right.

Scully almost scored a carbon copy goal on 81 minutes when he drew Mills but Turley was equal to the challenge.

County had two good chances to equalise in the dying minutes but the grounded Roget produced a superb tackle to deny Scoffham and then Richie Hanlon cleared off the line to thwart Nicky Fenton.

Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Edwards, Jack, Gray, Bell, Hall, Lowe, Roget

Subs unused: Burgess, Dempster, Duffy, Kitson

Bookings: Mills 80,

Notts County: Arphexad, Fenton, Oakes, Barras, Richardson, Pipe, Caskey (Baraclough 46), Heffernan, Bolland, Baldry (Scully 46)

Subs unused:  Deeney, Harrad, McHugh

Bookings: Barras 17, Scoffham 38, Baraclough 67

report by Chris Barritt

Bristol City 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Ashton Gate: 12 March 2004

Match report by J Roberts

A new era unfolded for the Diamonds on a rainy Friday night in Bristol. After seven years with Brian Talbot at the helm, Barry Hunter took charge of the team for the first time at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate.

The new player-manager made two changes to the line-up in his first game in charge, with Edwards and Kitson coming in for Hall and Lowe. City also made changes, with Hill, Roberts and Lita in for Bell, Wilkshire and Miller.

Big Barry also changed the formation of the team, switching back to the system with three centre-backs and two wing-backs that garnered a draw in Talbot’s last away game at Wrexham.

The system seemed to be working for the first 15-20 minutes as a lot of the play took place in midfield, with the Diamonds generally keeping City at bay. Indeed, Underwood probably had the best chance of the first 20 minutes after Kitson’s beautifully weighted cross. Unfortunately, having made an excellent run into the box on three minutes, Unders skied the ball from about six yards out.

However, around the 20-minute mark City seemed to really wake up and put the Diamonds under some concerted pressure for the first time since their flurry of corners in the first couple of minutes.

City’s best move of the match to date saw Tinnion cross well for skipper Doherty to head just over the bar on 23 minutes.

City continued to apply the pressure and it finally paid off on 29 minutes when a good Carey cross from the right was headed back across the box by Brown for Lita to head home. A good goal and, in all honesty, a deserved lead for City.

For most of the rest of the first half City looked in control and Diamonds continued to struggle to make any real headway going forward.

Although the Diamonds finally managed to apply some sporadic pressure towards the end of the first half, it was City who had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in injury time. An awful back pass by Edwards let in Lita, who only had to slot the ball past an advancing Ashdown – but thankfully pushed the ball past the post.

With a shot count of 7 to 1 in favour of City and a corner count of 6-0, a one goal lead was the least City deserved after the first period.

Within three minutes of the restart, Diamonds could have fallen further behind as Hunter headed a corner against the bar.

However, just a minute later Rodney Jack, played in by the industrious Gary Mills and helped by some non-existent marking, nearly equalised as he beat the keeper but saw his shot skim away off the outside of the post.

The Diamonds enjoyed reasonable amounts of possession during the rest of the second half, but rarely exerted any real pressure or created any clear-cut chances. They were also understandably caught on the break a number of times, with the lively Roberts guilty of not making enough of many of counter-attacks.

Overall, the second half was relatively even, but with the hosts again having the better chances and looking the likelier to score.

On 67 minutes Hunter, in his first game as manager, was shown a deserved yellow card for hauling down the lively Lita near the touchline.

This was the impressive Lita’s last involvement in the game, as he was subbed straight afterwards. For someone making his first ever start for City, admittedly after numerous substitute appearances, he certainly looked the part.

The Diamonds made their first substitution when Andy Burgess replaced Stuart Gray after 71 minutes. Burgess looked lively and was involved in a lot of the good moves that Diamonds had after his arrival.

But it was City who continued to have more chances, with Roberts, Miller and Fortune, among others, putting efforts wide. On one occasion, with only 10 minutes remaining, Ashdown was called upon to make an excellent tip-over from a Roberts shot. The on-loan keeper was once again a very impressive last line of defence throughout.

It took the Diamonds until the first minute of added time in the second half to win their first and only corner and, if hitting the post is not counted as being on target, then the Diamonds did not have one effort on target all night.

All in all, City were well worth their win and perhaps could, or even should, have added at least another goal. However, that should not detract from what was a decent effort by a Diamonds side that has had a lot to cope with in recent times and is understandably low in confidence after just one win in eight games now.

When considering the calibre of the opposition – a second-placed team that had not lost at home in 12 games and had recently won 11 matches on the spin – the Diamonds did not disgrace themselves by any means. And who knows, had Unders buried that chance after three minutes, or Rodney equalised early in the second half, the result at Ashton Gate might have been very different.

As it is, the future will look bright for the Diamonds if everyone is willing to put in the same kind of effort and drive that Gary Mills showed in Bristol – and has been doing for some time now. The young midfielder is surely enjoying the best period of his career to date

1st minute: City have four corners one straight after the other in the first few minutes.

3rd minute: Bell to Kitson, who crosses to Underwood, but Underwood’s shoots over the bar from close range.

5th minute: City’s first shot on target, but Ashdown comfortably holds Brown’s effort.

20th minute: City begin to pile on the pressure, culminating in a great cross by Tinnion and a header just over by Doherty.

29th minute: Long cross from the right by Carey, Brown heads back across the box and Lita nods home.

40th minute: Lita booked for play-acting after Hunter challenge.

43rd minute: Goodfellow on for the injured Brown.

45th minute: Lita played in by poor back pass, shoots just wide.

48th minute: Hunter heads a corner against his own bar.

49th minute: Jack hits post.

53rd minute: Hunter and Ashdown combine to clear danger after break by Roberts.

56th minute: Bignot crosses, Bell can’t quite get the ball under control in the penalty area – muted appeals for a penalty.

59th minute: Good run and cross by Bell, Jack and Kitson cause confusion in the City box, but the move comes to nothing.

63rd minute: Good shot from distance by Peacock that is well saved by Ashdown.

66th minute: Kitson almost gets his shot away in the box after a good ball in by Bell.

67th minute: Hunter sees yellow for challenge on Lita.

67th minute: Miller replaces Lita.

71st minute: Burgess replaces Gray.

75th minute: Good run by Goodfellow, lovely one-two with Roberts, but sends his shot wide.

76th minute: Fortune on for Doherty.

78th minute: Pinball in the Diamonds box, with new man Fortune causing the problems.

80th minute: Great defence-splitting ball by Miller plays in Roberts, whose shot is brilliantly tipped over by Ashdown.

80th minute: Hanlon on for Mills.

81st minute: Powerful Fortune shot just clears the bar.

83rd minute: Good run and shot by Roberts.

90th minute: Duffy on for Kitson.

91st minute: Diamonds win their first corner of the game.

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Underwood, Edwards, Hunter, Roget, Mills (Hanlon 80), Gray (Burgess 71), Bell, Jack, Kitson (Duffy 90)

Subs not used: Sambrook, Hall

Bookings: Hunter

Diamonds MoM: Gary Mills

Bristol City: Phillips, Carey, Coles, Butler, Hill, Tinnion, Doherty (Fortune 76), A Brown (Goodfellow 43), Roberts, Peacock, Lita (Miller 67)

Subs not used: Wilkshire, Woodman

Bookings: Lita

City MoM: Carey, Lita.

Referee: Mr P Taylor

Attendance: 12,559 (209 visiting supporters)

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Peterborough United 1

Diamonds slumped to their fourth home defeat of the season in a disappointing performance against local rivals Peterborough United.

 

Callum Willock scored the all important goal on 22 minutes – his third goal in three games – to take the visitors out of the relegation zone.  

 

Diamonds kept the same side that drew with Blackpool in midweek. Daniel Talbot replaced John Dempster on the bench. Peterborough included former Rushden loanee Guy Branston in central defence.

 

Peterborough almost scored in the opening minute when Willock found himself in space on the left but hit his cross shot wide of the far post.

 

Eight minutes later Barry Hunter rose well to meet David Bell’s corner only to see his header fly over the bar.

 

Peterborough took the lead on 22 minutes. Clive Platt flicked on Andy Legg’s throw and Willock capitalised on indecision between Leo Roget and Jamie Ashdown to poke the ball home.

 

Diamonds never really recovered from that setback as the visitors never allowed Rushden any time to settle,

 

Mark Tyler produced a fine save when he tipped over Stuart Gray’s 31st minute freekick while a minute later Onandi Lowe was too high with a header from another Bell corner.

 

Five minutes from the interval, The Posh almost scored a second when Tom Williams shot came back off the post and Platt’s follow – up was blocked.

 

On the stroke of half time, Tyler pulled off another excellent save when he touched over Lowe’s 35 yard free kick.

 

At the start of the second half, Brian Talbot threw on Andy Burgess and Paul Kitson at the expense of Stuart Gray and Paul Hall as the Diamonds boss tried to turn things around.

 

But Diamonds never really got into their stride and failed to seriously test Tyler in the Peterborough goal.

 

Mark Arber shot into the side netting after 55 minutes while Williams shot over 5 minutes later after Roget was clearly fouled.

 

On 66 minutes, David Farrell found himself all alone on the left  and when he cut in he found Ashdown in great form as the Diamonds stopper produced a brilliant point blank save.

 

11 minutes later Platt flicked on Legg’s corner but substitute Andy Clarke missed the target from 3 yards.

 

Clarke again found himself in a great position on 78 minutes but his 20 yard shot whistled past the post.

 

 

The home side threw everything at the visitors in the dying minutes but Richie Hanlon’s late volley lacked pace and direction.

 

Rushden stay in 13th place while Peterborough’s win gave them back to back victories for the first time since April 02.

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Hunter, Jack, Gray (Burgess 46), Bell (Hanlon 72), Hall (Kitson 46) Lowe, Roget.

Subs not used: Edwards, Talbot

Bookings: Underwood 6, Lowe 70, Kitson 82

Peterborough United: Tyler, Legg, Branston, Arber, Farrell, Platt (Logan 90), Newton, Woodhouse, Burton, Williams, Willock (Clarke 72)

Subs not used: Gill, Thomson, Jenkins

Bookings: Burton 45

Referee: Mr P Robinson

Diamonds MOM: Jamie Ashdown

Match report by Chris Barritt

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Blackpool 0

Match report by Chris Barritt

Diamonds extended their unbeaten run to three matches after a disappointing stalemate at Nene Park.

Diamonds made three changes from the side that earned a precious point at Wrexham on Saturday. Reverting to a 4-4-2 formation, Onandi Lowe and David Bell were restored to the side after injury while Paul Hall stepped up from the substitute bench. Andrew Edwards, Richie Hanlon and Paul Kitson all made way and joined fit again Andy Burgess on the bench.

Blackpool came to Nene Park looking for their first win six league games. They also made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 at home to Plymouth Argyle at the weekend. Tony Dinning and Matthew Blinkhorn returned after injury while Leam Richardson came in for his first appearance of the season.

The game kicked off in ideal playing conditions and Jamie Ashdown was soon called into action when he pulled off a fine 5th minute block to deny Blinkhorn’s close range shot.

The game flowed from end to end but it wasn’t until the 14th minute that Diamonds enjoyed their first shot on goal. Marcus Bignot picked the ball up midway through the Blackpool half before unleashing a ferocious shot from 25 yards. Phil Barnes saw the shot late and did well to claw the ball away for a corner.

There was little action of note for the remainder of the half. Dinning couldn’t control a Richardson cross with his header sailing over the bar while Mike Sheron missed the target with a long range speculative shot. Indeed, the most interesting statistic was the award the game’s first free kick after 22 minutes.

Nine minutes from the interval Lowe rose above the Blackpool defence but couldn’t get any direction on his header.

The second half did see far more goalmouth action but neither side had that killer instinct to claim the all important breakthrough.

On 49 minutes, Bell stabbed wide after Lowe had found hall on the right while Mike Flynn made a great saving tackle to deny Jack in full flight.

A minute later, the visitors came closest to scoring when Ashdown got down late to a Keith Southern shot only to see the ball rebound off the post. Sheron, following up, could only find the side netting.

On 51 minutes, Ashdown made another fine save to deny Flynn’s header from Gareth Evans corner. Nine minutes later Bignot had another long range effort comfortably saved by Barnes.

Jack produced a 25 yard pile driver which almost caught out Barnes before five minutes from the end Ashdown made another great reaction save to thwart the impressive Southern. Seconds later Southern pounced on a Burgess clearance but shot inches wide.

Diamonds: Ashdown, Bignot, Underwood, Mills, Hunter, Jack, Gray (Burgess 63), Bell, Hall (Kitson 63), Lowe, Roget.

Subs unused: Edwards, Hanlon, Dempster

Bookings: None

Blackpool: Barnes, Grayson, Southern, Flynn, Wellens, Sheron (Bullock 84), Richardson, Blinkhorn (Walker 84), Dinning, Elliott, Evans

Subs unused: Coid, Jones, McMahon

Bookings: Richardson 84

Referee: Mr L.Probert

Diamonds MOM: Ashdown

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