Leyton Orient 2 Rushden and Diamonds 2

Rushden and Diamonds came within minutes of their first league win since October 30th only to end up feeling dejected after seeing a two goal lead slip as Orient grabbed a truly undeserved point at a bitterly cold Brisbane Road.

Diamonds made the trip down South to London to take on Leyton Orient hoping it would be the case of third time lucky after failing to grab all three points on either of their previous two visits.

Diamonds made two changes from the starting line-up fielded in the previous game.Sean Connelly was brought in at right-back due to the injury to Andy Sambrook whilst Gary Mulligan’s absence up-front made way for youngster Jason Taylor.On the bench both Simeon Jackson and Luke Kennedy were added.Leyton Orient made just one change to their line-up with Tom Newey starting in place of Donny Barnard.

Diamonds started well and almost went ahead with their first attack after 5 minutes.David Bell’s pass through the middle wasn’t cut out by Gabriel Zakuani which allowed Alex Hay to run through towards goal before shooting from midway inside the box, only for the keeper to save well, before Craig Dove followed up from the left corner of the box but saw his effort go wide.

Andy Scott fired well over from outside the box after 8 minutes for Orient before another presentable opportunity for Diamonds on 13 minutes as Taylor saw his flicked shot from 6 yards go wide of Harrison’s left post, after Dove’s cross from the left.

Andy Burgess lost the ball in the middle of the park to Michael Simpson as Diamonds were stretched after 17 minutes.Simpson raced forward before laying the ball off to his left to find Lee Barnard whose shot from the outside edges of the box had to be deflected for a corner.

Diamonds continued to look the better side going forward and a neat move saw Stuart Gray feed Dove before the latter played it back to Gray who shot from the left of the box and saw his effort deflect wide for a corner after 22 minutes.A minute later Dove’s cross from the right found Taylor whose shot from six yards was saved by the legs of the keeper.

Orient tried to attack and had a good chance when a long ball forward fell for Barnard who cut inside from the right before shooting but saw Worgan save after 26 minutes, but just two minutes later they were behind.Taylor played a ball forward causing the keeper to run out to make the clearance but Harrison miss-kicked on the edges of the box allowing Hay to move into the box from the left to place his shot into the back of the open net.

Orient almost levelled but for desperate Diamonds defending.Barnard was upended when through by Graham Allen but the referee played the advantage well as Daniel Chillingworth raced through after grabbing the loose ball before shooting and seeing his shot half saved by Worgan.Connolly desperately tried to clear the rebound only to fail and see Chillingworth crack another shot which flashed across the face of goal, after 35 minutes.Just before half time good build up play saw Scott shoot but fail to truly test Diamonds and at the other end Gray saw an effort deflected for a corner to bring an end to the first half proceedings and a good performance from the visitors.

Scott was booked for a foul on Burgess after 49 minutes before John Mackie replaced Gabriel Zakuani.Six minutes after the substitution Orient almost pulled themselves level as Chillingworth shot from the centre of the box, only to be defied by a superb save by Worgan, with the keeper again thwarting Barnard from the rebound as he shot from the left.

As Diamonds came under pressure they were able to hit Orient on the break.Gray’s long clearance found Hay who played the ball towards Dove who moved inside from the left before unleashing a curling shot from the edges of the box, which flew in the back of the net at the far corner, after 63 minutes.The second goal saw a second substitution as Barnard was replaced by Efe Echanomi before both Mackie and Connolly got booked for fouls.

Brian Saah made way for Daryl McMahon as Orient made their final change after 73 minutes, and just moments after coming on the sub failed to test Worgan from just outside the box with a weak shot that was easily picked up, at the other end Hay blasted high over the bar.

Diamonds were reduced to ten men after 78 minutes when Connelly received a second booking after upending Matthew Lockwood on the left.From the resultant free-kick Echanomi could only head over the bar.Despite the man deficit Diamonds still threatened and Dove saw his effort flash across goal and narrowly wide of the far post after he had cut inside the box from the left, after 83 minutes.

Chillingworth headed over from Lockwood’s corner from the left as Orient desperately pressed forward but with two minutes of normal time remaining they did finally reduce the deficit.Justin Miller’s ball forward from the centre of the Diamonds half found the head of substitute Echanomi who got the goal which set up a grandstand finish, after 88 minutes.

Diamonds tried to ease time and brought on Phil Gulliver for Dove after 89 minutes but Orient continued to pour forward and somehow grabbed the equaliser deep into stoppage time.Chillingworth’s shot from 10 yards looked to be heading over the bar but instead fell into the back of Worgan’s net to spark wild celebrations amongst the home fans.

Diamonds had little time to grab the winning goal which they so richly deserved but almost did amid a desperate scramble as the keeper Harrison somehow pulled off a string of saves, including one from Bell before Burgess ended the mad purge on the Orient goal.The scramble proved to be the last chance and to the relief of the home fans the final whistle was blown leaving the Diamonds players visibly dejected as they left the pitch wondering quite how they hadn’t won the game.

This was another spirited performance, and one that was almost faultless until the last five minutes.Diamonds will continue to plug away as they look for the elusive first league win since October as they move to a match at Southend, on New Years Day.

TEAMS:

 

Leyton Orient:

Harrison, Lockwood, Simpson, White, Scott, Miller, Newey, Zakuani (sub Mackie 49), Saah (sub McMahon 73), Barnard (sub Echanomi 65), Chillingworth.Subs not used: Morris, Duncan.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Worgan, Connolly, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell, Burgess, Dove (sub Gulliver 89), Taylor.Subs not used: Dempster , Kelly, Jackson, Kennedy.

Referee: Mr Brian Curson

Goals: Hay 28, Dove 63, Echanomi 88, Chillingworth 90 +1.

Bookings: Scott, Mackie, Connolly.

Sending off: Connolly (second bookable offence).

Attendance: 3777 (242 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: David Bell.

Report by Richard Beeby

Rushden & Diamonds 3 Oxford United 3

 

Rushden and Diamonds came from behind twice to lead before being forced to settle for a draw in an entertaining match at Nene Park where six goals were shared with Oxford United.

Diamonds boss Ernie Tippett made two changes to the starting line-up from the previous game against Scunthorpe United.Lee Worgan deputised in goal and made only his 3rd league start, and Diamonds league debut, for the suspended Billy Turley whilst Graham Allen returned to the starting line-up in place of Phil Gulliver who was dropped to the bench.Andy Sambrook kept his place in the starting eleven after an impressive performance against Scunthorpe to keep the returning Sean Connelly out on the bench.Oxford United meanwhile kept an unchanged side which included former Diamonds Leo Roget and Barry Quinn.

Diamonds started brightly and saw Craig Dove move inside from the left to shoot from 30 yards only to see his effort flash wide, after three minutes.Two minutes later Dove whipped in a ball, again from the left, which Alex Hay fed through to Gary Mulligan who shot from ten yards but saw the U’s defender David Woozley block.Stuart Gray also came close with a first time, left footed shot that drifted wide of the keeper’s right hand post from the edge of the area, following good Diamonds play after nine minutes.

Despite the positive start Diamonds afternoon started to go downhill.An injury to Gary Mulligan ended the youngster’s game as he was replaced by Jason Taylor, after 11 minutes.Diamonds then fell behind after 14 minutes following a quick break from the visitors, on their first real attack of the game.Jamie Brooks broke free on the left with a surging run before crossing the ball through to Chris Hackett who banged home from 6 yards past a helpless Worgan.

David Bell went close to levelling for the Diamonds on 32 minutes with a shot from the right, 30 yards from goal, but Bradie Clarke palmed the ball away well to his right to concede a corner.Five minutes later a good lay-off from Peter Hawkins to his left found Dove who shot hard and low from the left, almost level with the box, to score past Clarke who looked destined to make the save but somehow saw the ball slip through into the back of the net.Minutes later Hawkins, who looked to be playing very forward, almost hit the target with a right-footed shot, towards the left edges of the box only to see it narrowly miss and hit the side netting.

After almost going ahead the Diamonds went behind again following a set piece.Brooks drifted in a corner from the Oxford left which was headed out by Andy Burgess but only fell to Lee Bradbury who volleyed home from just inside the area, past Worgan’s right post, with 41 minutes gone.With one minute of added time remaining the Diamonds had a wonderful opportunity to equalise as Gray placed a ball out to the left to Dove who crossed a brilliant ball in but missed Taylor who was late arriving towards goal.

Diamonds were quick out of their blocks in the second half and saw Burgess’ shot deflected but picked up well by Hay who played in Bell, who crossed from the right, only to see Taylor shoot his effort wide of Clarke’s left post, after 47 minutes.A minute later Oxford forward Craig Davies finally got booked following a series of fouls to earn the first caution of the game.

The good start was continued as Diamonds equalised after 51 minutes.Bell latched on to a ball off Matt Robinson before switching onto his right foot to strike hard and low into the net from the edge of the area with the keeper again beaten at his near post.

Worgan handled well from Brook’s header from six yards following Tommy Mooney’s cross from the left before a lucky escape when Hackett blasted a shot well over the bar after a surging run, with several players better placed.

At the other end Dove’s cross from the left found the diving head of Taylor but the keeper saved brilliantly at his right post, after 58 minutes.A minute later Graham Allen was harshly booked for his first foul.

Brooks was replaced on the hour by Rob Wolleaston as Oxford looked to turn the tide in the second half but two minutes later they fell behind for the first time in the game.Bell, who was in inspired form, crossed with his left foot from the right hand corner of the box towards the far post where Taylor headed home strongly past a helpless Clarke.

After the goal Oxford threatened and saw Wolleaston go close with an effort from 35 yards that edged wide of Worgan’s left post, after 68 minutes and a minute later Bradbury’s effort from distance was well saved by Worgan at his near post.Mooney was booked for dissent after 70 minutes as Oxford became aggravated whilst Hawkins was booked a minute later for the home side.

Diamonds failure to hold a lead saw Oxford equalise.Davies, who was incredibly lucky to still be on the field following a number of fouls, took advantage of poor defending to beat Worgan after 77 minutes.Diamonds then were forced to make a change as Andy Sambrook hobbled off injured to be replaced by Sean Connelly before a Taylor header into the back of the net was ruled out for offside.

Oxford were knocked down to ten men as Mooney received a second yellow card for a late challenge on Andy Burgess.With the man advantage Diamonds strode forward and Hawkins cross found Taylor but he saw Robinson cut out his shot after 86 minutes.Oxford then made two changes to ease time bringing on Mark E’Beyer in place of Bradbury and Lee Molyneaux for Hackett.

Deep into stoppage time Diamonds almost got the winner amid a desperate goal mouth scurry which ended with a Burgess blast over the bar from the edge of the box.Dove then saw his effort from the angle on the left go just wide.

Ultimately, despite much determination Diamonds had to settle for a point but anyone watching at Nene Park in the bumper Boxing Day crowd would have surely seen enough to encourage them that the tide will finally turn in the Diamonds favour.With games coming thick and fast against Leyton Orient, Southend and Swansea over the next couple of weeks Diamonds will be hoping that similar performances can merit more points.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:

Worgan, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell, Burgess, Sambrook (sub Connelly 78), Dove, Mulligan (sub Taylor 11).Subs not used: Dempster, Gulliver, Kelly.

Oxford United:

Clarke, Mackay, Robinson, Roget, Woozley, Hackett (sub Molyneaux 88), Mooney, Bradbury (sub E’Beyer 86), Quinn, Brooks (Wolleaston 62), Davies.Subs not used: Tardif, Morgan..

Referee: Mr M Fletcher

Goals: Hackett 14, Dove 37, Bradbury 41, Bell 51, Taylor 62, Davies 77

Bookings: Davies 47, Allen 59, Mooney 70, Hawkins 71

Sending off: Mooney 83 (second bookable offence)

Attendance: 4140 (1490 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: David Bell (scored a goal and set up Taylor for the third.)

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Scunthorpe United 3

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to their fourth consecutive home defeat as league leaders Scunthorpe United grabbed a hard worked win.Diamonds, without a win in five league games were always likely to find life tough against a visiting side that had gone eight league games without defeat.

Diamonds made two changes to the starting line-up from the side that claimed a goalless draw at Mansfield last week.Drewe Broughton’s departure following his loan period allowed Alex Hay to move back into a striking role alongside Gary Mulligan whilst Sean Connelly’s injury gave Andy Sambrook a chance at right-back.Scunthorpe Manager Brian Laws named the same starting line-up for the eighth consecutive game.

Diamonds started brightly and saw Rob Gier set up Phil Gulliver for a shot on goal after one minute; however his shot from 25 yards went wide of Paul Musselwhite’s right-hand post.Two minutes later Diamonds took the lead.Andy Sambrook chipped the ball forward for Alex Hay to run onto before he turned Andy Butler on the by-line to sweep the ball across the six yard box, allowing Gary Mulligan to smash home, after a poor clearance from the visiting defence.

Scunthorpe looked shell shocked and failed to materialise anything going forward until the 12th minute when Peter Beagrie made room down the left wing before shooting narrowly wide from the corner of the box.Peter Hawkins picked up a booking after 17 minutes after pulling back Matthew Sparrow outside the box; however the visitors did little from the resultant free-kick.

The Iron increasingly came back into the game although it was still against the run of play when they got the equaliser after 31 minutes.Beagrie struck a right footed corner from the Scunthorpe left which was in-swinging and was headed on at the near post towards Butler who headed home past Billy Turley, from six yards.

Diamonds had a near escape after 38 minutes as Turley saved bravely from Richard Kell’s close range effort, but the Diamonds keeper came off worse from making the save and needed treatment from the Diamonds Physio.At the other end Hay ran through before unleashing a decent strike from the right angle after 41 minutes which Musselwhite was unable to save on the first attempt, however Hay failed to pick up on the rebound after slipping in the box.

Ian Baraclough was lucky to escape with only a talking to from the referee after 43 minutes after a foul from behind on Andy Burgess as Diamonds ended the half positively.The home side were mightily unlucky not to go into the break in the lead.Bell, who was in inspired form in the first half, chipped the ball over the Scunthorpe defence on the edge of the box to find Gray who struck a strong shot with his left foot, only to see it cannon off the keeper’s left hand post.Moments later Andy Burgess’ shot from 25 yards went inches wide of the same post.

Scunthorpe made a substitute at the start of the second half bringing off Cliff Byrne for Nathan Stanton in a bid to tighten up defensively.

Scunthorpe forced their way in-front just minutes into the second half, again from a corner.Beagrie played the corner in, right footed, which swept across the area to find Butler at Turley’s far post who headed home strongly for his second goal of the afternoon.Five minutes after the goal Paul Hayes threatened to score a third after breaking free but his shot went wide of Turley’s left hand post.

Diamonds battled hard without any merit but could rarely test Musselwhite in the visitor’s goal and it was always the Iron who looked most likely to grab a third goal.Beagrie, who performed strongly down the left wing, supplied a clever cross to the far post towards Steve Torpey but the striker couldn’t test Turley with the free header from 6 yards, after 78 minutes.

Bell shot weakly straight into the keeper’s hands after 79 minutes before Gulliver came the closest to getting an equaliser with his shot from just inside the area which went just wide of the left post, with five minutes remaining.

Kell shot left footed from distance only to see his shot go wide, after 88 minutes but a minute later the defeat was confirmed.Torpey struck a marvellous effort from the centre, just outside the box, which curled in the left hand of Turley’s goal to seal the eighth win on the trot for the visitors.With the goal came a change as Kell was replaced by Cleveland Taylor as Brian Laws looked to ease time.

Despite this latest setback the Diamonds must take heart from their performance, particularly in the first half where they dominated the game.Frustratingly defensive mistakes from the set pieces were ultimately the deciding factor in an otherwise tight and fairly contested game.Similar performances to that of the Diamonds in the first half ovher the full ninety minutes would surely see results start to turn for Ernie Tippett’s battling side.

TEAMS:

 

Rushden and Diamonds:

Turley, Hawkins, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell, Burgess, Sambrook. Gulliver, Dove, Mulligan.Subs not used: Worgan, Allen, Dempster, Kelly, Taylor.

Scunthorpe United:

Musselwhite, Crosby, Byrne (sub Stanton 46), Sparrow, Hayes, Torpey, Baraclough, Ridley, Beagrie, Butler, Kell (sub Taylor 89).Subs not used:Evans, Jackson, Rankine.

Referee: Mr M Russell

Goals: Mulligan 3, Butler 31, Butler 47, Torpey 89

Booking: Hawkins 17

Attendance: 3198 (559 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Andy Sambrook (impressive in defence, looked composed.)

Report by Richard Beeby.

Mansfield Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds put in a superb defensive display to claim a hard earned point at Field Mill.

The two sides came into the game towards the bottom end of the current League Two form table.Diamonds, with only two wins in their last eleven league games were desperate for a win to take into the Christmas period, as were the Stags whose form read just two wins in fifteen.Ironically both sides last league win came in home games with Notts County back in October.

Both sides named identical line-ups to those in their last match in midweek.Former Northampton live-wire Derek Asamoah started up-front for the Stags whilst Diamonds front pairing of Drewe Broughton and Gary Mulligan played out the last game of their current loan period.Both sides came into the game on the back of away defeats, for Mansfield 2-1 at Darlington and Diamonds a 1-0 reverse at Boston United.

Diamonds started brightly and threatened to test Kevin Pilkington in the Mansfield goal early on from a succession of corners, from one of them they saw Phil Gulliver’s shot from 15 yards deflected away after he had controlled well from Stuart Gray’s header, after three minutes.Mansfield were also lively on the attack with Asamoah threatening to race clear of the defence on a couple of occasions.

Alex Neil’s ball though to Asamoah sparked danger for Diamonds as he turned Gier before smashing a low shot from just inside the area, after 12 minutes, which Turley had to dive low to claim and did so on the second attempt.Eight minutes later Richard Barker’s header flashed just wide of Turley’s left hand post after Wayne Corden’s left wing cross. Corden then tested Turley as his angled drive from the left, 25 yards from goal went straight into his hands after 27 minutes.

After 34 minutes Stags carved out the best move of the game at that point.Connelly’s headed clearance fell to Adam Murray who was able to feed Corden who crossed superbly from the left to find Richie Barker who was denied at the far post only by Turley’s superb left footed save, with Craig Dove completing the clearance down field. Moments later Corden caused Turley to flap before the same player drilled a volley from the left, wide of the far post.

With Mansfield clearly in the mood for attacking Asamoah picked up the ball ten yards inside the Diamonds half before beating off the challenge of the desperate Gulliver and racing away to unleash a shot which Turley saved well down to his left for a corner.

As Diamonds looked desperately towards the half-time whistle and a respite from Mansfield’s almost continual bombardment Broughton was booked for a succession of fouls after 42 minutes.

Mansfield started the second half where they left off in the first and missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 50 minutes.From the Stags left corner the ball fell to Alex John-Baptise 10 yards out, who put it through to Barker who miss hit allowing Turley to smother the ball.Turley was again to thank 2 minutes later as Asamoah found time to turn and smash a volley on target, which Turley saved superbly to his right to concede a corner.

Diamonds made a double substitution in a bid to turn the game on its head bringing off Dove for Alex Hay and replacing David Bell with Andy Sambrook, after 55 minutes.

Mansfield still posed a major threat and Corden’s low cross from the left allowed Adam Murray the chance to turn and shoot but his shot, from 10 yards, was deflected well by Sean Connelly after 60 minutes.Minutes later Asamoah’s head on Tom Curtis’ right wing cross went straight into the hands of Turley as the one way traffic continued with the defence battling bravely to keep a clean sheet.

Turley saved low to his right after Barker had made space to shoot from the left of centre just outside the area, after 71 minutes.Two minutes later Broughton broke down the Diamonds right wing before unleashing a smart cross to the centre of the box, but Mulligan failed to connect with the ball and Pilkington was able to cut out the threat.

Gulliver was booked for a late challenge mid-way inside his own half on 74 minutes to blot an otherwise impressive performance at the heart of the Diamonds defence.

Brilliant play from Asamoah saw him cut a ball through the Diamonds defence which Paul Warne ran onto, before flashing the ball across the area towards Asamoah who ran inside from the left before shooting, with Turley desperately harrying to make the save, before the final threat was cleared by Hay, after 77 minutes.

As the game moved into the latter stages Hay hacked down Curtis to concede a free-kick and receive a booking after 81 minutes. Broughton was replaced by Jason Taylor after 87 minutes as Diamonds looked to play out time but also maybe catch Mansfield at the back late on.

Despite the change it was Mansfield who had the final say as Warne’s crossed shot from the right from 35 yards had to be tipped over by Turley for a corner after 89 minutes as Mansfield desperately looked for the winner but the solid defence wasn’t to be broken.

Diamonds earned the point with a solid display which would have delighted boss Ernie Tippett after recent defensive lapses by his team.Whilst going forward little came off, this type of solidarity as a team should be seen as a massive plus point and give the Diamonds something on which to build.Special mention should go to Turley in the Diamonds goal who was on top form and also Gulliver who was superb at the back alongside Gier, Connelly and Hawkins.

TEAMS:

Mansfield:

Pilkington, Buxton, John-Baptise, Diemech, Neil, Asamoah, Curtis, Murray, Warne, Barker, Corden.Subs not used: White, Brown, Maxwell, McIntosh, Wood.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Gier, Gray, Bell (sub Sambrook 55), Burgess, Broughton, Gulliver, Dove (sub Hay 55), Mulligan.Subs not used: Allen, Worgan, Taylor.

Referee: Mr J Ross

Bookings: Broughton 42 (succession of fouls), Gulliver 74 (foul), Hay 81 (foul)

Attendance: 3,176 (Away: 187)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Billy Turley and Phil Gulliver (both superb in a solid defensive display)

By Richard Beeby

Boston United 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

A first half strike from Danny Thomas condemned Diamonds to a third consecutive league defeat at York Street.

Diamonds had to defend for their lives for most of the first half but came back strongly in the latter stages of the game but couldn’t get the all important equaliser.

Rushden were looking to end a run of two successive league defeats and boss Ernie Tippett made three changes to the side that went out of the FA Cup to Colchester at the weekend. Gary Mulligan returned to the attack to partner Drewe Broughton. Rob Gier was preferred to Graham Allen in central defence while Alex Hay made way for David Bell on the right side of midfield.

Boston were trying to protect an unbeaten home league record and manager Steve Evans made just the one change from the side that beat Hereford on Saturday. Matt O’Halloran replaced Simon Rusk.

On a mild December night in Lincolnshire, Andy Burgess had the first attempt on goal after 4 minutes but his long range effort went wide. Three minutes later, Diamonds had a real let off after man of the match Thomas picked out the unmarked Chris Holland 12 yards out. The midfielders shot rebounded back to him off the foot of the left hand post but when Holland tried his luck again but Burgess made a superb block by throwing himself into the ball’s path.

Almost immediately, Boston spurned another chance to take the lead when Andy Kirk found himself clear of the Rushden defence but rather than lobbing the onrushing Billy Turley, Kirk hit a poor shot well wide.

At the other end, Bell’s sweet 30 yard shot was saved by the diving Nathan Abbey and then moments later the home stopper had to be alert to deny Mulligan after he cut inside following a great run.

On 27 minutes, Boston took the lead with a goal out of the blue. There seemed little danger when Thomas picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area but the ex-Leicester player gave Turley no chance with a wicked curling shot inside Turley’s near post.

Four minutes later, Turley produced a fantastic save to deny the Boston goal scorer when he tipped over another rasping shot from Thomas.

In the last action of the half, Jason Lee was too high with his drive after good work from Kirk.

In the opening minutes of the second half there seemed to be more urgency to Rushden’s work. Three minutes in, Stuart Gray released Bell who cut inside from the right before firing wide. On 49 minutes, Abbey held onto Mulligan’s close range shot.

A minute later, Lee latched onto Paul Ellender’s hopeful punt but put his attempted lob into the crowd. Turley then had to be at his best to touch away another scorcher from Thomas.

Midway through the half, Diamonds started to take control of midfield and increased the tempo. On 67 minutes, the ever willing Mulligan forced a fine save from Abbey while a minute later there was a strong suspicion of handball in the penalty area against Ellender but the referee waived play on.

Broughton failed to trouble the goalkeeper with a 69th minute drive while at the other end, that man Thomas was testing Turley with another long range fizzler.

Tippett threw Alex Hay into the ring to replace Craig Dove. The ex-Tranmere man went to the right side of midfield with Bell switching to the left.

Gray was starting to ask the home side some searching questions and on 75 minutes he was just wide after playing a clever 1-2 with Hay. Eleven minutes later, substitute Daryl Clare should have made the game safe for Boston but somehow stabbed his close range shot wide.

Then, in the dying seconds of injury time, Diamonds thought they’d got a deserved equaliser when Broughton pounced to beat Abbey but jubilation turned to frustration as the on-loan striker’s strike was ruled out for offside,

So disappointment for Diamonds but they move on to Mansfield on Saturday for another League2 encounter.

 

Rob Gier voted Man of the Match by Diamonds Press Officer

Boston: Abbey, Beevers, Ellender, Greaves, Lee, Kirk (Clare 74), Holland, McCann, Thomas, O’Halloran (Thompson 65), West

Unused subs: Melton, Rusk, Pitt

Rushden: Turley, Connolly (Taylor 90), Hawkins, Gier, Gray, Bell (Sambrook 85), Burgess, Broughton, Gulliver, Dove (Hay 69), Mulligan.

Unused subs: Allen, Worgan

Goal:Thomas 27 – Boston

Bookings:McCann 76 – Foul

Diamonds MOM:Rob Gier

Attendance:2334

Diamonds fans:131

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Colchester United 5

 

Rushden and Diamonds were comprehensively beaten on a nightmare afternoon at Nene Park as they were knocked out of the FA Cup at the second round stage.A brace of goals from Craig Fagan and a hat-trick from Greg Halford did the damage, despite a brief resurgence from the Diamonds late on.

Rushden and Diamonds boss Ernie Tippett made two changes to the line-up from the side that lost 2-0 to Macclesfield last Saturday.David Bell was dropped to the bench and replaced by Alex Hay on the right whilst Gary Mulligan’s ineligibility gave Marvin Robinson a chance to partner Drewe Broughton upfront for the first time.Robinson was looking for his second goal in a Diamonds shirt, having scored the winner in the previous round at Bradford City.

Diamonds made a bright start against their higher league opponents and saw Stuart Gray’s shot from 25 yards deflected for a corner, after just three minutes.Just a minute later though the Diamonds were behind.On Colchester’s first surge forward Peter Hawkins made a poor headed clearance, which allowed Craig Fagan to cross the ball over to Greg Halford at Turley’s far right post, who was able to head the ball over the keeper.

Halford again came close from a free-kick after 12 minutes.Halford curled his ball around the wall from 25 yards, central to the goal, only to see his strike rattle Turley’s left hand post.The same man forced Turley to rush out and make a brave save nine minutes later, after he was allowed time to race into Colchester’s right of the box.

Graham Allen gave away a foul after holding Fagan, just outside the box, to concede another free-kick after 24 minutes which Joe Keith hit superbly but somehow Turley made a fine save, to divert the ball away high to his left.From the resultant corner Sam Stockley crossed the ball from Colchester’s right to find Fagan who had time to smash the ball home on the half volley with his left foot, from 15 yards past a helpless Turley to double the visitors lead.

Diamonds were rarely able to take a stronghold of the game as Colchester dominated proceedings and a third goal arrived just ten minutes before the break.Keith passed to his right to find Stockley who supplied a low cross from the by-line for Fagan to shoot home his second to the right of Turley, from 15 yards.

After the third goal Gray hit a free-kick from 30 yards that the keeper managed to save before Drewe Broughton was booked for an accumulation of fouls after 42 minutes.Then just before the break, Dove’s ball into the box caused worry as Colchester’s keeper Aidan Davison rushed out, but Joe Keith was able to scramble the ball clear from off the line to keep the U’s advantage intact.

Two minutes into the second half the result was firmly put out of doubt as Colchester bagged their fourth goal.Andy Burgess’ pass to Stuart Gray was cut out by Richard Garcia who fed the lively Greg Halford who smashed the ball home from the right of the box past Turley.

Booby Bowry was replaced by Ben Bowditch as U’s boss Phil Parkinson looked to rest some of his players and Pat Baldwin was booked for a foul, after 54 minutes.A minute later Hay was replaced by Bell for the Diamonds and The U’s got their second booking of the game as Keith was punished for a foul on Sean Connelly.

Broughton saw his shot from outside the box, trickle a yard wide of Davison’s left post after 54 minutes, but Diamonds could offer scarce little to truly test the visiting keeper.

Phil Gulliver’s foul on the livewire Fagan saw him become the second Diamond player in the book, after 63 minutes before Graham Allen was replaced by Rob Gier in central defence whilst the opposition brought on Wayne Brown in place of Sam Stockley.Diamonds made their final substitute after 70 minutes as Dove was replaced by Marcus Kelly.

Hawkins placed a free-kick from the Diamonds left, level with the box, towards the touchline straight into the hands of the keeper after 75 minutes and just after Colchester made their third substitution as Garcia was replaced by Jamie Cade.

As the game slowly came to a close, and Colchester played out time, Diamonds managed to get themselves a couple of goals. Bell crossed from the right from 35 yards to find Broughton at Davison’s far left post, who headed home after 81 minutes to bag the first.Four minutes later Burgess supplied Gray who struck home from the left of the box, from fifteen yards to further lessen the deficit.

Colchester managed another goal before the end though as Halford bagged his hat-trick deep into stoppage time.The goal was easily the goal of the game as he turned and curled a brilliant shot with his right foot past Turley, into his left hand post, from 5 yards into the box.

Despite the two late goals, it was all far too little too late, as the Diamonds had already shot themselves in the foot by going so far behind, but at least the game ended positively but much better must be seen of Ernie Tippett’s side in the coming weeks.With tough games to come against Boston, unbeaten at home all season, and Mansfield in the next week heads must be lifted in the hope of picking up league points.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:

Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen (sub Gier 65), Hay (sub Bell 55), Gray, Burgess, Broughton, Robinson, Gulliver, Dove (sub Kelly 70).Subs not used: Worgan, Taylor.

Colchester United:

Davison, Halford, Keith, Watson, Fagan, Baldwin, Bowry (sub Bowditch 51), Chilvers, White, Stockley (sub Brown 67), Garcia (sub Cade 76).Subs not used: Gerken, Williams..

Referee: Mr T Kettle

Goals: Halford 4, Fagan 24, Fagan 35, Halford 47, Broughton 81, Gray 85, Halford (hat-trick) 90.

Bookings: Broughton, Baldwin, Keith, Gulliver.

Attendance: 3077 (away 1006)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Stuart Gray

By Richard Beeby

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