Rushden & Diamonds 5 Notts County 1

Rushden and Diamonds made history as they put in a superb performance at Nene Park to sweep aside a sorry Notts County side with Drewe Broughton bagging the fastest ever goal at Nene Park whilst also securing his first ever career hat-trick.

Rushden and Diamonds boss Ernie Tippett made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Bury last weekend.Rob Gier started at right-back in place of the injured Sean Connelly whilst David Bell returned to the line-up at the expense of John Dempster who was dropped to the bench.

Diamonds made a storming start to the game going in front after just 10 seconds.Stuart Gray played the ball out from the kick off for Drewe Broughton to head on to Gary Mulligan, who played the ball back to Broughton who struck a sweet right footed shot from the centre, 20 yards out, into the bottom corner of Saul Deeney’s net.It was the first goal for Broughton since joining the club on loan from Southend United.

Diamonds continued to press and saw Mulligan’s header from a Craig Dove corner palmed clear after 6 minutes, but only had to wait a further 5 minutes to go further in front.David Bell did brilliantly to turn former Northampton Town player Rob Ullathorne on the right hand touchline, after Dove’s pass, before hooking over a cross which met the rising head of Broughton who powered home, to double his tally.

Good work from Dove provided a cross from the right which was misjudged by the Magpies Mike Whitlow but Broughton failed to connect after 22 minutes as Diamonds looked to further their lead.At the other end only glimpses of threat were seen from Notts County with Diamonds coping admirably when needed at the back, in fact until the 31st minute a real clear cut opportunity failed to occur.Tony Scully’s free-kick from the left, close to the score board, drifted into the box and was cleared only as far as Stefan Oakes who hit the ball on the volley only to see his effort go wide of Billy Turley’s right hand post.

Diamonds were well and truly on form and found themselves 3-0 in front before the break.Bell knocked the ball onto Gray who played in Dove who launched a wonderful right footed curling strike into Deeney’s top left hand corner, leaving the keeper helpless.The goal cued a move for the exits by some County fans whilst Diamonds were in jubilant mood.

Bell and Gray combined well for Diamonds first attempt on goal in the second half.Bell played the ball to Gray who then returned his pass to the youngster, before Bell ran forward down the centre and into the box where his shot was superbly pushed over the bar by Deeney to deny a goal.Two minutes later the lead was stretched further, as Broughton headed back from the by-line to Dove who struck home with his left foot after 51 minutes.

In response to the goal County boss Gary Mills replaced Chris Palmer with David Pipe, much to the annoyance of the visiting fans, however Pipe made an instant impact.Paul Bolland broke free down the left and rolled the ball across for Pipe to knock home past a helpless Turley after 55 minutes, just two minutes after entering the field of play.

The goal gave the Magpies a sudden glimmer of hope and slackness threatened to take hold.Geoff Hurst’s cross found the head of Scully, who had raced ahead of Gier, only for the player to head wide with Turley out of his goal, after 61 minutes.

Any fear of a comeback was soon averted as Broughton bagged his hat-trick and the Diamonds fifth.Bell’s chip from the right towards the left hand post found Broughton who was pushed by Matthew Gill, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.Broughton stepped up to take the spot kick and scored, only for the referee to order for the kick to be taken again, however Broughton again beat the keeper striking slightly off centre and to the right past Deeney, after 67 minutes.

A double substitution saw Ullathorne replaced by Emmet Friars after 68 minutes, soon to be followed by Shane McFaul replacing Matthew Gill.The Diamonds then made a substitution themselves, replacing the superb Broughton with Jason Taylor, with the latter receiving a deserved standing ovation.

Craig Dove had the opportunity to match Broughton’s hat-trick from the spot after Mulligan was tugged back by Whitlow to concede a penalty, after 81 minutes.Dove stood up confidently but saw his effort saved well by the keeper who dived to his right.Dove then was subbed off to make way for Marcus Kelly for the latter stages of the game.

Late on Bell twice went close, striking hard and low from distance after 86 minutes and then chipping just over the bar minutes later as Diamonds refused to be content with their five goals, but ultimately in the end they had to be.This performance was arguably the best of the season so far and the confidence shown by the team would have impressed the fans, and with another home game against Darlington to come lets hope the momentum can be kept.

TEAMS:

 

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell, Broughton (for Taylor 75), Gulliver, Dove, Mulligan.Subs not used: Worgan, Dempster, Kelly, Kennedy.

Notts County FC: Deeney, Whitlow, Oakes, Gill (for McFaul 73), Gordon, Hurst, Scully, Palmer (for Pipe 53), Bolland, Ullathorne (for Friars 68), Kelvin Wilson. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Friars, McFaul, O’Grady.

Referee: Mr C Penton (Sussex)

Bookings: Hawkins,Gordon, Wilson

Goals: Broughton (10 seconds), Broughton 11, Dove 41, Dove 51, Broughton penalty 67 min.

Attendance: 3504 (775 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: David Bell

By Richard Beeby

Bury 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

A determined performance earned Diamonds a deserved draw at Gigg Lane and extended their unbeaten away run to three games.

Alex Hay returned from injury to score Diamonds opener on 58 minutes before Dwayne Mattis’ 65th minute equaliser gave the home side a share of the points.

Ernie Tippett was forced to make two changes to the starting line-up from the side which gained a useful point at Wycombe in midweek. David Bell was ruled out with a bruised calf and was replaced by fit again Alex Hay while John Dempster came in to the centre of midfield for ankle injury victim Andy Burgess. Graham Allen was able to continue at the heart of the Diamonds defence following the FA’s decision to allow his appeal against the red card shown to him at Wycombe. Gary Mulligan and Drewe Broughton continued up front.

Bury were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 5 games. Manager Graham Barrow was still without striker Gary Jones but recalled Jon Newby in place of Terry Dunfield while Matty Barrass replaced Lee Unsworth.

Diamonds kicked off in their new all red away strip playing a 4 – 4 – 2 formation with Hay on the right side of midfield and Craig Dove on the left,

Bury enjoyed the first real attack when long throw expert Dave Challinor launched one of his trademark missiles into the Diamonds penalty area after 3 minutes but Phil Gulliver comfortably headed away the danger. Five minutes later, Diamonds were relieved that Dave Nugent failed to get a head to Tom Kennedy’s left wing cross.

The game became somewhat scrappy with both sides trying to take control of the midfield. Danny Swailes played a sweet pass to Newby inside the Diamonds defence on 23 minutes but his cross evaded everybody and Connolly was able to clear.

The home side were becoming continually frustrated by being caught offside as Diamonds defence held the upper hand while play was being punctuated by misplaced passes and disappointing crosses.

In a rare piece of goalmouth action on 35 minutes, Billy Turley had to be alert to finger tip over Brian Barry – Murphy’s 25 yard free-kick. Seven minutes later, Gulliver was wide with a header from Dove’s cross

On the stroke of half-time, good work from Peter Hawkins allowed Dove space and time to shoot from just outside the penalty area but the former Middlesbrough player could only slice the ball wide.

The second half was a far more entertaining affair. On 50 minutes Gulliver got back well to tackle Chris Porter in the penalty area while at the other end Dempster set up Mulligan on the right. After nice control from the on-loan striker, his shot was only blocked by Glyn Garner but nobody was on hand to covert the rebound.

Diamonds took the lead on 58 minutes. A mistake by Challinor allowed Mulligan to swiftly find Hay all alone in the penalty area and he made no mistake from 12 yards.

Going behind seemed to inspire the home side and, unfortunately for the visitors, it took just 7 minutes for Bury to net the equaliser when Kennedy’s cross from the left found Mattis unmarked and he was able to squeeze the ball under Turley’s body,

The game opened up into an end to end spectacle. Broughton curled a shot just wide after a lengthy run from Stuart Gray while at the other end Nugent headed into Turley’s arms after latching onto a cross from Mattis.

On 77 minutes, Diamonds were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area following a push from Challinor but Gray’s shot was deflected for a corner.

Bury created another scoring opportunity four minutes later but substitute Dunfield flashed his shot wide while five minutes from the end, only desperate defending by Diamonds and a wonderful saving tackle from Allen denied the home side as Bury laid siege to the Diamonds goal.

In the end, a fair result with Diamonds defence, not for the first time this season, defending resolutely and deservedly earning their team another valuable point.

TEAMS:

Bury: Garner, Barrass, Kennedy, Swailes, Challinor (capt), Woodthorpe, Mattis, Barry – Murphy, Newby (Dunfield 64), Porter (Kazim – Richards 79), Nugent.

Subs not used: Whaley, Flitcroft, Scott,

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Hay, Gray (capt), Broughton (Sambrook 82), Dempster, Gulliver, Dove, Mulligan (Braniff 90).

Subs not used: Gier, Worgan, Kelly.

Referee: Mr P Armstrong

Goals: Hay 58, Mattis 65
Attendance: 2,672

Bookings: None

Diamonds Man of the Match: Phil Gulliver

Wycombe Wanderers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Ten man Diamonds secured a well deserved point at Wycombe after seeing Graham Allen sent off late in the second half.

In a pulsating first half, Adam Birchall scored after 14 minutes only for Gary Mulligan to equalise on his full debut.

Rushden boss Ernie Tippett made two changes to the starting line-up from the side which lost narrowly against Chester City at the weekend. Alex Hay was ruled out with a calf injury allowing on-loan striker Gary Mulligan to make his full debut up front alongside Drewe Broughton. Peter Hawkins had recovered from his calf injury and returned to the left back position leaving Andy Burgess to switch back to midfield in place of John Dempster. Graham Allen had shaken off his calf injury to keep his place at the heart of the Diamonds defence.

Wycombe were looking to end a run of 5 league games without a win and they also made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Boston on Saturday. Clint Easton replaced Gus Uhlenbeek at right back while Adam Birchall came in for Ian Stonebridge in midfield.

Fortunately, the heavy afternoon rain had ceased shortly before the start and while the pitch was very moist, it was Diamonds who kicked off towards their own supporters on a mild night in the impressive Causeway Stadium.

The home side took just 34 seconds to test the Diamonds defence. Matt Bloomfield’s long ball out of defence allowed Nathan Tyson to run clear on the left but as he cut into the penalty area his shot could only find the side netting.

Two minutes later Diamonds created an excellent opportunity to take the lead after Mulligan and Broughton combined nicely to set up David Bell but with the ‘keeper off his line, the midfielder’s lob fell onto the roof of the net.

A slip by Hawkins gave Tyson another chance to run clear of the Diamonds defence but the striker crucially lost control as he approached the penalty area allowing Billy Turley to come out and smother the ball.

The game seemed to be settling down after the early goalmouth action until two superb goals in five minutes changed all that.

The home side took the lead on 14 minutes with a wonderfully worked move. Danny Senda picked the ball up 35 yards out and struck a deft lob over the top of the visitors defence to Birchall who brought the ball down before giving Turley no chance from 12 yards.

Diamonds equaliser was just as impressive but the finish was spectacular. Sean Connolly’s cross from the left picked out Broughton and when Wycombe failed to clear his knock down, Mulligan, with his back towards goal, produced a superb overhead kick which went into the net with the aid of the right hand post.

On 23 minutes, both teams were reduced, temporarily, to ten men when first Easton had to leave the field with a gashed left knee and then Phil Gulliver had to receive treatment for a facial injury. Gulliver resumed play with a change of shirt but Easton had to be substituted by Charlie Comyn – Platt.

The game continued at pace with both sides keen to attack. Broughton and Mulligan were starting to forge an encouraging understanding and beginning to pose more and more questions to the home defence.

On the stroke of half-time, Diamonds came close to an interval lead when Graham Allen’s header from David Bell’s corner was well saved by Frank Talia diving to his left.

Rushden had to make an early substitution in the second half when Burgess failed to run off a twisted ankle and had to be replaced by Dempster.

Nine minutes later Mulligan did well to flick the ball back to Craig Dove 20 yards out and while the youngster’s shot beat Talia the ball whistled inches past the upright.

After a scrappy opening to the second period, Diamonds were starting to take control of midfield and they came close to taking the lead on 70 minutes. Broughton found himself all alone with just the ‘keeper to beat but Talia pulled off a fine save to deny the midfielders well struck volley.

Straight from that piece of action, Diamonds found themselves reduced to ten men when Allen was adjudged to have hauled back Tyson as the striker tried to break clear. Referee Tomlin reached for the red card despite understandable protests from the Rushden players.

Manager Tippett made a change bringing on Gier for Dove and the substitute made an immediate impact. From the resulting free kick , Williamson’s shot was parried by Turley but only as far as Senda and when he sent the follow up goalwards, Gier made an excellent sliding clearance to clear the danger.

Wycombe had two late chances to win the game. Zema Abbey headed wide from Tyson teasing cross while six minutes from time Tyson was again the villain for Wycombe when, not for the first time, he got clear of the Rushden defence but with Turley in front, Tyson somehow found the stands instead of the target.

This was a battling performance by Diamonds and one that will give them great heart as they go on to face Bury at the weekend.

TEAMS:

Wycombe Wanderers: Talia (capt), Silk, Easton (Comyn-Platt 17), Johnson, Williamson, Bloomfield, Burnell, Senda, Birchall, Abbey, Tyson.

Subs not used: Williams, Uhlenbeek, Stonebridge, Ryan’

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Gray (capt), Bell, Burgess (Dempster 47), Broughton, Gulliver, Dove (Gier 72), Mulligan.

Subs not used: Sambrook, Worgan, Braniff.

Referee: Mr S Tomlin

Goals: Birchall 14, Mulligan 18
Attendance: 3,844

Bookings: Dove 42 – Foul

Diamonds Man of the Match: Gary Mulligan

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Chester City 1

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to only their second home league defeat of the season as Ian Rush’s Chester City side sneaked a late victory.Stewart Drummond’s 77th minute header proved the difference between the two sides, after a draw had seemed the only likely result.

Rushden and Diamonds boss Ernie Tippett made three changes to the starting line-up from the side which triumphed at Shrewsbury in the previous game.Peter Hawkins missed out due to injury, forcing Andy Burgess into a left back position with John Dempster starting in midfield.Upfront, new loan signing Drewe Broughton was preferred to Jason Taylor.Diamonds other new loan signing, Gary Mulligan, started on the bench.Ian Rush was forced to make a late change in goal with Chris Mackenzie starting after Wayne Brown was injured in the pre-match warm up.

In a bright start Diamonds saw David Bell shoot only a yard over the bar after a strong run from the half way line after 3 minutes, following a Chester City attack which saw Billy Turley come out on top.Gradually Chester City looked the sharper side early on and saw a fierce shot from the corner of the penalty area from Kevin Ellison saved superbly by Turley in the Diamonds goal, after 11 minutes.

A foul on Broughton by Stewart Drummond presented Diamonds with a good opportunity after 17 minutes.David Bell took the resultant free-kick from towards the left, just outside the penalty area, but his curling effort was deflected wide for a corner.Chester continued to threaten and Diamonds were again thankful to Turley as he managed to smother Michael Branch’s shot following Ellison’s left hand ball into the box.

Chester escaped as they almost went behind after 36 minutes.Bell’s cross into the area from the right was poorly judged by Mackenzie in the City goal, allowing Broughton to head the ball, however his effort went across the face of the goal and wide when he really should have scored.In fairness a Diamonds goal before the break would have been harsh on Chester who battled well in the opening half with Ellison particularly looking a threat.

Diamonds made a change at the start of the second half replacing Graham Allen with Robert Gier due to an injury to the latter.Diamonds again began brightly with Bell’s long run up-field and chipped ball into the area headed wide of Mackenzie’s right hand post early in the second half by Alex Hay, whilst at the other end, Cortez Belle headed straight into the hands of Turley.Bell fed Sean Connelly well who then supplied a first time cross to Hay, who this time connected much better with the header only to see Mackenzie tip his effort over the bar, after 53 minutes.

Turley lost his bearings and almost paid the price after 54 minutes, but Branch’s curling shot hit the far post, with only Connelly as cover on the line.Turley then redeemed himself as in the next City attack Branch supplied Ellison, only for the Diamonds keeper to make himself big and thwart his effort for a corner.Turley again saved bravely when Branch sneaked in ahead of Connelly as Diamonds began to come under real pressure.

In an attempt to reverse the trend in the second half, Ernie Tippett brought on new loan striker Gary Mulligan after 61 minutes in place of Craig Dove.The change saw Hay move onto the left of midfield in a supporting role for the attack.

Within minutes of the change Andy Burgess came mightily close to breaking the deadlock as his magnificent left footed shot on the volley was saved equally well by Mackenzie, who flew low to his right to deny what would otherwise have been a certain goal, after 63 minutes.

Mulligan’s presence brightened up the Diamonds attacks, with the player showing some neat touches, but Chester again threatened.A mistake from Phil Gulliver and Turley allowed substitute Kevin Rapley a perfect opportunity to score, within his first few minutes on the field, however Rapley shot across the face of goal rather than into it, with no one available to cover.

Chester only had to wait a further 3 minutes to take the lead.The impressive Ellison drifted in a corner from Chester’s right, which was met well by the head of Drummond who headed home from 6 yards after 77 minutes.

The lead was almost doubled only 2 minutes later as Ellison broke free but put his shot wide when well placed, whilst a clearance from Diamonds only fell to Paul Carden who cracked a shot from 30 yards, which Turley had to push over the bar for a corner.

Mulligan shot low and hard late on, but to no avail and Diamonds were left to comprehend defeat, when they perhaps deserved a share of the spoils. Again, good promise was shown at times by the hosts and surely with time their luck will turn. Ernie Tippett must take heart from the performance shown by his players and in particular the pleasing debuts of the two new loan strikers, despite the defeat.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Connelly, Allen (sub Gier ht), Hay, Gray, Bell, Burgess, Broughton, Dempster, Gulliver, Dove (sub Mulligan 61).Subs not used: Worgan, Sambrook, Braniff.

Chester City: Mackenzie, Carden, Bolland, Drummond, Branch (sub Rapley 72), Ellison, Davies, Hessey, Hope, Belle, Edmondson.Subs not used: McIntyre, Vaughan, Clare, Harris.

Referee: Mr P Melin

Goal: Drummond 77
Attendance: 2735 (361 away)

Booking: Carden (deliberate foul)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Billy Turley

Shrewsbury Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Two changes to the Diamonds team that played out the 0-0 draw with Rochdale six days earlier, with captain Stuart Gray returning after injury in central midfield for Andy Sambrook and Jason Taylor preferred up front to Kevin Braniff.

Shrewsbury started with Diamonds cult hero Duane Darby on the bench and on-loan Manchester Utd youngster David Fox coming into the Shrewsbury midfield for Jamie Tolley, on international duty with the Wales U-21 team.

A bright start from the Diamonds saw Alex Hay hit the base of the right-hand post after just three minutes after being set up well by the Diamonds midfield. It begs the question of just how unlucky Hay is, as he did absolutely everything right and fully deserved a second goal in Diamonds colours.

Taylor made a decent impression early on, but it was David Bell, who seems to be saving his best form for away games these days, who shone most in the early exchanges. And it was from a Bell corner that Gulliver headed just wide after 11 minutes.

After 16 minutes we had the first real sighting of Luke Rodgers, who so tormented Diamonds on their last visit here, when he left Gulliver for dead cutting in from the right and shot early, but Billy Turley dealt with it relatively comfortably.

The next chance came after an excellent Bell corner on 16 minutes, which no Diamonds player could get on the end of. The ball eventually came out to Gray, whose shot from distance went tamely wide.

Logan then probably had the best chance of the game on 22 minutes, but Turley came out and made an excellent save from the forward’s shot.

David Bell slightly spoiled his very good first half by picking up a needless booking for not retreating at a Shrewsbury free-kick – which was almost by the opposition’s corner flag!

Shrewsbury proceeded to waste a couple of headed chances from a McGrath free-kick and corner, before something of a lull descended upon the game, with the Diamonds more than holding their own.

A good run and cross by Bell on 39 minutes seemed to wake Shrewsbury up and from an only half-cleared corner debutant Fox just cleared the bar with a fierce volley. Another good chance followed shortly afterwards with Rodgers again through on goal, but his effort was tame to say the least, little more than a back pass to Turley.

Shortly after the fourth official raised his board to signal one minute of added time, Diamonds won a corner on the left. Shrewsbury failed to clear yet another good delivery by Bell and the ball eventually emerged from the melee to fall invitingly for Dove to hammer home with his left foot from about eight yards out.

A spirited performance by the visitors in the first half, with Shrewsbury at no time applying any concerted pressure and, although Rodgers and Logan did have some good chances, who could begrudge the Diamonds a half-time lead after some of the luck they’ve had recently?

After the break, as would be expected, Shrewsbury put the Diamonds under a bit of pressure, but without ever really looking like drawing level.

Instead, the first really good chance of the second half came nine minutes in at the other end when Hawkins swung over a cross from the left, with Taylor heading down well, but unfortunately against the outside of the right post.

After Taylor had another headed chance, this time under more pressure, a Rodgers breakaway saw Turley magnificently push a Lowe shot around the post on 63 minutes.

Next up it was Lowe serving Rodgers, but his shot went just wide.

However, Shrewsbury chances were still few and far between halfway through the second period, with Diamonds, on the whole, looking pretty comfortable.

On 71 minutes a dangerous McGrath free-kick from just outside the box, harshly awarded against Bell for what looked like a fair challenge on Rodgers, was punched clear by a diving Turley. From the ensuing corner an unmarked Tinson headed into the side netting.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Shrewsbury made a substitution, but not just any old substitution – as "Lord" Darby came off the bench to take Logan’s place in attack. Thankfully, his rousing reception from the away fans did not inspire him to great things, and he did little of any note after coming on.

After 82 minutes sub Aiston went on a good run and played a one-two with Rodgers, only for Gulliver to clear for a corner.

Next up was a long-distance shot from Bell at the other end, followed shortly afterwards by a Burgess cross that Hay headed back across the keeper but unfortunately also just wide of the post. Hay also had a break and shot that just cleared the bar.

A groan from the away end accompanied the board showing four minutes of injury time, but really, only a long-range shot that flashed wide presented any danger to the Diamonds goal, again very well defended by the back four and Billy Turley. But, while Bell was just pipped as man of the match at the last away game in Swansea, he has to share it this time round with the big keeper.

A word, too, about Jason Taylor on his full debut. After a bright start he struggled at times for the rest of the first half, but in the second 45 minutes he provided a good focal point for the Diamonds attacks and was unlucky not to open his account. Encouraging stuff.

A very impressive performance by the Diamonds and a richly deserved win. Seven clean sheets in 12 league games, just one defeat and one goal conceded in the last five league games and a comfortable mid-table position after their second away win of the season. Crisis? What crisis?

TEAMS:

Shrewsbury Town: Howie; Moss, Challis (sub Ridler 45), Tinson, Whitehead; McGrath (sub Aiston 80), Street, Fox, Lowe; Rodgers, Logan (sub Darby 72)

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley; Connolly, Hawkins, Allen, Gulliver; Gray (sub Dempster 76), Dove, Bell, Burgess; Taylor, Hay

Referee: Mr Stroud

Goals: Dove 45

Attendance: 3,882

Diamonds Men of the Match: Turley, Bell

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Rochdale 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds failed to score for the third consecutive game as they claimed their fourth goalless draw of the season.In a drab encounter neither side ever looked likely to break the deadlock with Diamonds lack of attacking prowess again evident.

Rushden and Diamonds boss Ernie Tippett made no changes to the starting line-up for the visit of Rochdale, following Tuesdays defeat at Walsall.Rochdale boss Steve Parkin made four changes to his starting line-up from the side that triumphed in midweek against Scarborough bringing Neil Edwards, Leo Bertos, Paul Weller and James Clarke into the starting eleven.

Diamonds made a positive start and saw Kevin Braniff’s shot from the angle stray wide of Edwards right post after just four minutes.Two minutes later Gary Jones’ shot from the centre, just outside the box, was almost spilled by Billy Turley before he made the final save as Rochdale also looked to attack.Despite the early promise the game failed to live up to the opening tempo as a number of fouls spoilt the games flow.

On 15 minutes Jones again threatened as his shot went agonisingly wide of Turley’s right hand post, at the far corner.It took a further 10 minutes for the next chance to arrive as David Bell drilled an effort wide of the keeper’s left hand post from 40 yards following Alex Hay’s layoff.A minute later the Dale keeper almost spilled Sean Connelly’s right hand cross, with Braniff ready to pounce.

Paul Weller shot into the Peter De Banke Terrace on 30 minutes before the best opportunity of the game so far fell to Grant Holt as his effort from 12 yards was well saved by Turley, and cleared away by Phil Gulliver. Ernie Cooksey’s header from Tony Gallimore’s long free-kick had to be saved well by Turley before he touched over Gareth Griffiths’ header from Gallimore’s in-swinging corner as half time approached.

Diamonds brought on Marcus Kelly in the second half in an attempt to liven up the game in the place of Kevin Braniff, causing Craig Dove to move upfront to fill his gap.

Rochdale posed the early problems in the second period and Holt should have done better from Gallimore’s corner; however he instead headed it across the six yard box without testing Turley, after 52 minutes.Cooksey then played in Holt who this time tested Turley with a shot close to the near post which Turley palmed away well.

With Diamonds rarely threatening Ernie Tippett made a further change bringing on Jason Taylor for the ineffective Craig Dove with 65 minutes gone, but Dale still threatened and Diamonds escaped when Turley saved well from Cooksey’s shot after a mistake by Connelly.Dale also brought on a sub with Neil Brisco replacing Scott Warner, before Graham Allen worked his way into the book after a tough challenge, soon to be followed by Holt who was booked for dissent.

Cooksey headed well but saw his effort tipped over by Man of The Match Turley, from a Gallimore corner, before seeing the Diamonds keeper again save well from the next corner, after 76 minutes.A rare chance for Diamonds saw Connelly shoot agonisingly wide of the left hand far post after 79 minutes as the game looked increasingly likely to end goalless.

Briscoe’s shot got a rebound off Andy Burgess for a corner in injury time but aside from that neither side could sneak a goal, however Rochdale would have been the most disappointed of the two sides had they lost after having the bulk of the few clear cut chances. A point shared, but the performance would have disappointed the Diamonds who would prefer to secure points in a more creative fashion.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds: Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Hay, Bell, Burgess, Sambrook, Braniff (sub Marcus Kelly 46), Gulliver, Dove (sub Taylor 65). Subs not used: Worgan, Gier, Dempster.

Rochdale AFC:Edwards, Evans, Gallimore, Cooksey, Griffiths, Bertos, Holt (sub Tait 88), Jones, Weller, Clarke, Warner (sub Brisco 69).Subs not used: Gilks, Proberts, Gibbins.

Referee: Mr P Joslin

Bookings: Allen, Holt

Attendance: 2619 (228 away)

Man of the Match: Billy Turley

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