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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