December 28, 2004 Leave a comment
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.
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