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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