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

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