Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

In their quest to beat the drop into Division Three, Rushden & Diamonds claimed what could turn out to be a precious point over play-off contender’s Brighton on Easter Monday

The game was far from a classic but that would not have concerned Acting Manager Barry Hunter who was solid at the heat of the Diamonds defence.

Brighton, who had only conceded two home league goals since the turn of the year, were not a patch of the side that demolished Diamonds 3-1 at Nene Park back in September as they failed to display their promotion material.

But you couldn’t take away anything from a hard working Diamonds side who went into this match on the back of four straight defeats.

Brighton had a goal ruled out midway through the first-half and although Diamonds could only muster one shot on target all afternoon, it was their defence display that warranted this vital point.

Marcus Kelly was handed his first senior start in the Diamonds side whilst Leo Roget returned to the heart of the Diamonds defence at the expense of Andrew Edwards who dropped onto the bench.

Brighton started in a bright manner but it wasn’t until the 22nd minute when Chris Iwelumo headed home Lee Cable’s cross, which was ruled out for a foul on Barry Hunter, that the home side began to look dangerous.

Many would have expected the floodgates to open at the heart of the Diamonds defence after that disallowed goal but Brighton struggled to make an impact on the game as Billy Turley enjoyed a relatively comfortable afternoon.

Turley’s opposite number Ben Roberts was also enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the Brighton sunshine as half-efforts from Rodney Jack and the hard-working Robert Duffy was all that Diamonds could muster.

Brighton’s effort were few and far between as Guy Butters saw a looping header drop wide of the Diamonds goal and Charlie Oatway also going close with a long range effort.

Brighton fans must have been hoping that a strong half-time team-talk would bring the home-side firing on all cylinders but they were to be disappointed as the second-half ended in a similar pattern to the opening 45 minutes.

Stuart Gray, another who enjoyed a solid game in the Diamonds midfield, carved open Diamonds only real effort on goal – a half-hearted effort which flew straight into the arms of Roberts.

In a bid to liven up a dull game, Brighton boss Mark McGhee threw on three substitutions but even the introduction of their new signing Paul Reid failed to inspire Brighton.

Chris McPhee headed straight into the arms of Turley whilst at the other end Jack may have felt he should have done better with a long-range shot.

Despite some nervy moment, Diamond soaked up the pressure in the final stage to warrant a priceless point much to the delight of the fantastic travelling army from Northamptonshire.

Diamonds Team: Turley, Dempster, Burgess, Sambrook, Roget, Hunter, Hanlon, Gray, Duffy, Jack, Kelly. Subs: Story

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