Rushden & Diamonds1 Grimsby Town 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds claimed their first win at home since March after seeing off the tough challenge of Grimsby Town at Nene Park.Diamonds were second best for the majority of the game but managed to defend superbly before stealing a goal through Kevin Braniff.

Ernie Tippett made two changes to the starting line-up that beat Lincoln 3-1 last Saturday with both Rob Gier and David Bell returning from injury.Opposing manager Russell Slade made just one change after his side’s 5-1 triumph over Bury with Michael Reddy replacing Darren Mansaram who was dropped to the bench.

Grimsby started brightly and put the Diamonds defence under pressure. An early Thomas Pinault free-kick from the Diamonds left near to the home side’s box was played short to John McDermott who failed to test Billy Turley as his effort rebounded back off Alex Hay.From another set piece situation Dean Gorden shot inches over Turley’s crossbar from just outside the box.On 10 minutes a through ball found Michael Reddy who broke free but Turley saved comfortably in between a period of sustained Diamonds pressure.

The Mariner’s continued to probe and a sliced clearance from McDermott’s low right cross by Gier allowed Jason Crowe to shoot from 22 yards, but his effort glanced just wide of Turley’s left hand post.Grimsby always looked the livelier with Reddy particularly a threat for the Diamonds defence but despite the possession they failed to convert it into chances.

Diamonds gave Anthony Williams a comfortable half in the visitor’s goal although a brief moment of pressure did occur for his defence on 32 minutes.Andy Burgess drifted in a free-kick from the right which was hurriedly cleared away before any true threat could occur whilst Gray’s corner from the left would have found Grham Allen but for the referee to whistle for a foul just seven minutes later.

As both sides played out a disappointing first half, Grimsby again finished the stronger.Pinault took his chance and elected to chip the ball from outside the box, but his effort went over the bar, then the same player found Reddy inside the area from a corner with the formers powerless header easily saved by Turley right on half time.

Mariner’s started the second half well and looked bright again on the attack.Sestanovich found Reddy and Pinault in two separate breaks, but on both occasions the promising forward play failed to materialise with anything testing for Turley.Diamonds looked for a response in attack and brought on Craig Dove for David Bell within ten minutes of the second half but it was Grimsby who still threatened most with Andy Parkinson doing well to get into the Diamonds box from the left before putting a shot wide. Sestanovich then placed the ball into Turley’s hands with a curling shot from 25 yards.

Diamonds battled hard and almost found some way through when Gray’s effort from far out was blocked on 65 minutes, before Reddy broke and shot again in reply for Grimsby.On a rare Diamonds attack on 70 minutes they took the lead.Gray’s corner from the Diamonds left found Burgess who’s effort was blocked before the ball fell to Braniff in the box and he hit a right footed strike past Williams, through a crowded box, from 10 yards to delight the Diamonds faithful.The goal was Braniff’s second goal in as many games and the first goal at Nene Park since Barnsley’s visit last April.

The goal livened up the Diamonds and only a magnificent save by Williams prevented the hosts going further ahead, six minutes after the first goal.Dove’s corner from in front of the score board was played long to Burgess who supplied Braniff; the latter had his shot from six yards saved well for a corner.Gray’s resultant corner then found Burgess who blasted a shot from distance which Williams managed to hold onto.Moments later Burgess’ cross found the diving head of Dove, but his shot went wide.

In response Justin Whittle’s header from a free-kick was easily saved by Turley before Grimsby’s most promising chance arrived.Substitute Ronnie Bull worked his way down the Diamonds right before finding Parkinson who crossed to Pinault, Turley saved superbly as the former Northampton trialist headed from six yards to preserve Diamonds slender lead.At the other end Mills and Connelly both shot from distance but failed to test Williams too greatly.

Diamonds managed to hold out as Grimsby battled hard for at least a share of the spoils that their play merited.Despite the hosts failing to impress too greatly in the final third before taking the lead, they were again defensively sound.Three points were again secured and Tippett’s men would have settled for that, regardless of the overall performance and now look forward to their next game, at home to Swindon, on Tuesday.

TEAMS:

DIAMONDS: Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Mills, Allen, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell (sub Bell 55), Burgess, Braniff.Subs: Worgan, Sambrook, Gulliver, Kelly.

GRIMSBY: Williams, McDernott (sub Bull 79), Ramsden, Whittle, Sestanovich (sub Mansaram 71), Crowe, Reddy, Parkinson, Fleming, Pinault (sub Coldicott 88), Gordon.Subs not used: Young, Marcelle.

Referee: Mr J Singh

Bookings:Allen, Dove

Goals: Braniff 70,

Man of the Match: Rob Gier

Attendance: 2924 (651 away)

Report by: Richard Beeby

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