Bradford City 0 Rushden and Diamonds 1

 

Rushden and Diamonds left it late to snatch a fully deserved victory at Valley Parade in the FA Cup First Round.Marvin Robinson headed home with three minutes of normal time remaining to round off a superb debut performance.Ernie Tippett’s side battled bravely against their League One hosts on a bitterly cold afternoon in Yorkshire.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Ernie Tippett made four enforced changes to his side as they took on Bradford City.Loan strikers Drewe Broughton and Gary Mulligan were missing due to suspension and Wolves refusal to allow Mulligan to play respectively, whilst David Bell didn’t travel with the squad due to injury and Sean Connelly replaced the injured Rob Gier at right-back.Jason Taylor made his first ever FA Cup appearance for the club, starting upfront alongside the non-contracted Marvin Robinson.

Diamonds made a positive start with Robinson testing Paul Henderson in the Bradford goal within the first 20 seconds of the game after being played in by Andy Burgess.Bradford struggled to get into the game but did see a promising opportunity when Nicky Summerbee swung in a free-kick from the Bantams right hand near side; 10 yards into the Diamonds own half, only for Dean Windass to put his shot on the volley wide of Turley’s right post from inside the box, after 8 minutes.

Neat play down the Bantams right between Symes and Summerbee resulted in the latter supplying a telling right footed cross into the box towards Windass, however Turley gathered calmly with Phil Gulliver in support, after 16 minutes.Diamonds also continued to probe and Gray’s through ball to the lively Robinson on 23 minutes saw the former Derby man pass across goal from the left by-line towards Jason Taylor, but the youngster only half struck his effort as he failed to test the keeper.

A superb cross from the left from Dove left Robinson with a free header at Henderson’s far post as he shrugged off his marker Mark Bower, however the header down lacked the power to beat the keeper after 31 minutes.Tom Kearney received a yellow card four minutes later after ending Alex Hay’s forward run, however Sean Connelly could do little with the resultant free-kick and allowed the Bantams to break and earn themselves a corner. Windass again posed the threat as his snap shot swerved away from goal following Summerbee’s kick.

Stuart Gray worked his way into the book for a foul; moments after being spoken to for a previous incident, but as home fans began to grow restless Diamonds still pressed forward.Burgess had two chances for the visitors before the break, firing wide on both occasions.The first chance came from 25 yards followed by the second when Taylor’s neat header down in the area eluded the home defence and found Burgess, however he couldn’t keep his hopeful shot down.

The Bantams saw Windass shoot wide of Turley’s right post from distance three minutes into the second half after being supplied by Ben Muirhead. The hosts looked to up their tempo and as they began to get on top Muirhead tested Turley with a low shot from the left of the area, just 5 yards in, after being supplied by Michael Symes.In another opportunity defence was turned into attack as Bradford raced away up-field where David Holloway’s cross allowed Symes to head towards goal, only for Turley to spread himself across to make the save.

Whilst Diamonds were on the back foot, defensively they were sound, with Sean Connelly dealing with the pacey Muirhead whilst Graham Allen and Gulliver kept firm tabs on Windass. The Bantams looked to increase the threat to the Diamonds defence by replacing Symes with Danny Forrest with 12 minutes left to go.

As the game looked increasingly likely to end goalless Diamonds battled to sneak a late victory. On 84 minutes Dove squared a ball from the left into the path of Burgess, however his shot was too weak to truly test the keeper whilst Summerbee saw his free-kick from 10 yards outside the box, to the left, saved by Turley who had to dive low to claim it.

The vital break through came after 87 minutes. Dove whose supply all afternoon was good, this time crossed from the right to Robinson who was able to head home at Henderson’s far right post to complete a brilliant debut performance and delight the loyal band of visiting fans.

The Bantams battled hard to force a draw but found no way past a stubborn and resilient Diamonds defence, as Diamonds held out to knock out their higher ranked opposition and provide a welcome boost to the Nene Park finances.

TEAMS:

 

Bradford City FC:

Henderson, Kearney, Wetherall, Bower, Shumacher, Symes (sub Forrest 78), Summerbee, Windass, Holloway, Muirhead, Emanuel.Subs not used: Ricketts, Crooks, Gavin, Swift.

Rushden and Diamonds FC:

Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Gray, Gulliver, Hay, Allen, Burgess, Robinson, Dove, Taylor.Subs not used: Kennedy, Dempster, Kelly, Sambrook, Worgan.

Referee: Mr C Boyeson

Bookings: Kearney, Gray

Goals: Robinson 87

Attendance: 4171

Diamonds Man of the Match: Marvin Robinson

By Richard Beeby

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