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.


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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