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

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