Rushden and Diamonds 0 Macclesfield Town 2

 

Macclesfield produced the ultimate smash and grab performance as two goals, late on in both halves, saw them steal the points at Nene Park.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Ernie Tippett made only one change to the starting line-up from last weekends defeat at Cambridge as Alex Hay was replaced by David Bell on the right-side of Midfield.Brian Horton made two changes from the side that triumphed in the midweek cup replay against Alfreton.Michael Welsh and Neil Mackenzie both started in place of Tony Barras and Ian Brightwell.

Diamonds made a positive start to the game and saw a good move end with a decent shot wide by Stuart Gray after 6 minutes.Craig Dove chipped the ball across field from the right to find Broughton in the box who laid the ball off for the supporting Gray, who blasted his effort from just inside the area, a yard wide of the keepers left post.Two minutes later Gary Mulligan was fouled, prompting the referee to signal a good advantage which gave Hawkins time to run down the left before crossing from near the by-line to find the header down of Broughton, which the keeper just managed to save.

The impressive start continued as Andy Burgess and Gray combined to set up another effort by the latter, struck hard and low but straight at the keeper, then Broughton saw his header from Dove’s out-swinging corner from the Diamonds right, tipped over the bar by the Silkmen keeper, Steve Wilson.

Little was seen of Macclesfield as an attacking force and it was Diamonds who looked the most threatening, with Gray particularly a potent threat.A brilliant chest down by Broughton allowed the former Reading man the chance to blast another effort from the centre, but again the goalkeeper showed safe hands, after 31 minutes.

The first attempt on goal for the visitors came in the 36th minute.Ex-Cobbler Paul Harsley punted a ball forward down the right wing towards Jon Parkin who had got behind the Diamonds defence.Parkin chipped the ball from wide on the right, 20 yards out, after seeing Turley out of his goal, but the effort drifted wide of the keeper’s far right post.

Against the run of play and from their first shot on target, Macclesfield took the lead.Mike Sheron and Parkin combined well, before the latter fed Graham Potter who found space in the centre of the defence and ran through to the centre of the area where he clipped the ball home with his right foot, after 43 minutes, past the helpless Turley.

Diamonds again dominated after the break and went close to levelling when Broughton’s firm header went narrowly wide of Steve Wilson’s right hand post, after Dove had seen off Harsley down the Diamonds left, after 55 minutes.Then 10 minutes later Sean Connelly’s crossed shot was handled well at the far post.

David Bell was replaced by Alex Hay after 68 minutes as Ernie Tippett looked to add an extra dimension to the Diamonds forward play that appeared to level off in the second half.Dove was replaced nine minutes later as Marvin Robinson entered a three pronged attack.

Turley’s throw launched a mazy run by Hay, who ran almost the length of the pitch before moving infield and seeing his shot saved well at the second attempt, after 81 minutes.Later Simon Weaver halted Broughton in his tracks, on the edge of the box, just to the left, to concede a free-kick and a yellow card.From the kick Connelly’s effort was deflected wide for a corner, with 5 minutes remaining.

Three minutes later the game was won by Macclesfield.A long punt forward from the keeper Wilson set up a battle for the ball between Allen and Parkin, which the front-man won before turning his man and rolling the ball onto his left foot, to shoot home past Turley from 15 yards to claim his eighth league goal of the season.

Diamonds dominance surely deserved at least a share of the spoils, but again a lack of decisiveness in and around the box cost the home side dear.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:

 

Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Gray, Bell (sub Hay 68), Burgess, Broughton, Gulliver, Dove, Mulligan.Subs not used: Worgan, Gier, Robinson, Kelly.

Macclesfield Town FC:

Wilson, Potter, Carragher, Harsley, Parkin, Miles, Whitaker (sub Widdrington 85), Sheron, Welsh, Mackenzie, Weaver. Subs not used: Fettis, Tipton, Rooney, Briscoe.

Referee: Mr Williamson

Goals: Potter 43, Parkin 88

Bookings: Broughton 44 (persistent fouling), Weaver 85.

Attendance: 2643 (120 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Sean Connelly

By Richard Beeby

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