Rochdale 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to their first ever defeat to Rochdale as a determined home side put in a strong second half display to snatch all three points courtesy of goals from Ernie Cooksey and Grant Holt.

Rushden and Diamonds Caretaker Manager Barry Hunter made just one change to the starting line-up following the previous week’s victory over Leyton Orient as Charlton Athletic youngster Neil McCafferty lined up in central midfield to make his debut loan appearance.On the bench Alex Hay returned from suspension whilst Marcus Kelly was left out of the squad.Rochdale lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with former Northampton Town man Daryl Burgess left on the bench whilst Gary Jones missed out due to suspension allowing Holt to return from the suspension he served at Yeovil in midweek.

Diamonds started brightly and saw Billy Sharp cut inside from the left to fire a shot from 12 yards straight at the keeper Matthew Gilks, inside the first minute.Little was seen from either side in the form of attack and the next moment of note didn’t arrive until the 12th minute when Sharp received a yellow card for a series of dives, moments later Scott Warner’s drive flew wide of Alan Blayney’s right post.

Craig Dove’s right wing, out-swinging corner gave Sharp the opportunity to head from six yards, but his effort went a couple of yards over the bar in the 18th minute.Grant Holt’s brilliant ball through the centre unleashed Leo Bertos for Dale as he got behind the Diamonds backline in the 21st minute, but Rob Gier tracked back superbly to nullify the threat with a great challenge to prevent damage to the Diamonds goal.

As Diamonds pressed, Jamie Clarke’s foul on Burgess set up a good opportunity from a free-kick on the left channel as Dove saw his in-swinging kick palmed away by Gilks before a further superb stop from a Burgess smash from 10 yards, just two minutes later, with Sharp seeing his effort blocked in the follow up.

In response Rochdale saw Gareth Griffiths head wide of the post from a Clarke right-wing corner, after 42 minutes and two minutes later McCafferty volleyed into the hands of the keeper after being supplied by Sharp, as the first half came to a close.

Dale started the second half the brighter of the two sides and saw a good opportunity after 50 minutes as Blayney was forced to save with his legs from Grant Holt before Leo Bertos’ follow up had to be blocked on the line by Gier.As Rochdale stepped up the pace they took the lead, after 56 minutes.Holt stole the ball and cut inside from the right before finding Ernie Cooksey who drove home a shot from just outside the area, left of centre, to give Blayney no chance in the Diamonds goal.

Alan Goodall and Scott Warner both received yellow cards for a scuffle which led to a Diamonds free-kick after 62 minutes and a minute later Blayney had to save well from Tait’s close range effort as Dale bossed the second period.In attempt to liven things up Jason Taylor replaced Adrian Littlejohn on 67 minutes.

Blayney had to save at full stretch to deny Warner after 69 minutes as he dived low to his left following the shot from outside the area, as Dale looked increasingly likely to bag a second.Diamonds made a second change bringing off Dove for Hay after 75 minutes.

Bertos burst through on the counter-attack following a rare Diamonds corner only to see his run ended by Sean Connelly, however the referee harshly ruled the challenge was a foul and booked Connelly, after 80 minutes.Just a minute later the game was wrapped up for Dale as they bagged a second goal.Clarke’s right wing corner found Holt at the far post who climed to power home his header and claim his 20th goal of the season.

Peter Hawkins was booked after 82 minutes to become the second Diamonds player in the referee’s notebook, before Gier had to head over his own crossbar from a Holt header following another Clarke corner.Successive Diamonds corners looked to have given Diamonds a precious late goal as Taylor headed at the far post, but the referee deemed the ball had not crossed the line despite the belief of the Diamonds players.

Despite Diamonds attempts to make headway going forward little could be done to reverse the deficit as Barry Hunter saw his side fall to defeat, but enough spirit was shown to suggest that Diamonds can return to winning ways at Chester next week.

Rochdale:

Gilks, Evans, Griffiths, Heald, Goodall, Warner, Clarke, Cooksey, Bertos, Tait, Holt.Subs not used:Woodhall, Burgess, Gallimore, Kitchen, McGivern.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Blayney, Connelly, Hawkins, Gier, Sharp, Bell, Burgess, Littlejohn (sub Taylor 67), Gulliver, Dove (sub Hay 75), McCafferty.Subs not used: Allen, Dempster, Worgan.

Referee: Mr G Laws

Goals: Cooksey 56, Holt 81

Bookings: Sharp (diving) 12, Goodall 62, Warner 62, Connelly 80 (foul), Hawkins 82

Attendance: 2664

Diamonds Man of the Match: Rob Gier

By Richard Beeby

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Leyton Orient 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds got the biggest possible boost after perhaps one of the toughest weeks in the history of the club as they put to bed a dismal run of 13 league games without a win, dating back to October 30th.

Caretaker boss Barry Hunter and his assistant Neville Hamilton steered the side to a thoroughly deserved victory in a performance that oozed character, which would have delighted the home fans who strongly backed the side throughout.

Both goals came late on in the game as Rob Gier headed home and then David Bell wrapped up the win inside the last five minutes to the relief of all at Nene Park.

Both sides came into the game on the back of defeats.Diamonds caretaker boss made three changes to the starting line-up as Alex Hay was out due to suspension whilst Graham Allen and Jason Taylor were left on the bench allowing Phil Gulliver, Marcus Kelly and new loan striker Ben Sharp, from Sheffield United, to line-up.Andy Burgess was given the captains armband for the first time due to the absence of Gray.Orient boss Marin Ling made three changes to his starting line-up following last weeks loss at home to Grimsby with Efe Echanomi, Donny Barnard and David Hunt started.

Diamonds started brightly and saw loan striker Sharp almost putting them ahead after five minutes.David Bell supplied a good chip up-field into the Orient half for Adrian Littlejohn to run onto before he crossed from the left to find the in-rushing Sharp at the far post; however Lee Harrison saved bravely in the Orient goal.

Orient threatened when Alan White saw his header from a Daryl McMahon corner deflected wide of the keepers far left post, after 17 minutes before the resultant corner saw John Mackie head home but the effort was ruled out for a foul on a Diamonds Burgess.

Craig Dove saw his effort from 25 yards well held by Harrison on 21 minutes and then Diamonds saw the impressive Sharp link up well with Bell who found the free Dove in acres of space to cross from the left to find the low, firm head of Sharp who saw the keeper save well from a low height.

Diamonds saw the best chance of the first half after 40 minutes as Dove’s cross found Littlejohn who saw his curling shot from just inside the area rebound off Harrison’s left hand post.Just after Justin Miller wasted a good opportunity as he shot wide when well placed for Orient as the first half came to a close.

Diamonds started the second half, again in a positive manner, as Dove passed out left to Sharp who saw the keeper save his effort from the edge of the box comfortably.David Hunt worked his way into the book for persistent fouling after 49 minutes as Orient earned the first caution of the afternoon.

Orient boss Martin Ling made a change after 60 minutes bringing on Andrew Scott for McMahon.Three minutes later came Orient’s best chance of the game at that point as Mackie hit a magnificent first time snap shot from inside the area which saw Alan Blayney pull off an equally magnificent save.Orient then made a second change as Efe Echanomi was replaced by Gary Alexander after 68 minutes.Alexander made a quick impression as he shot hard and low but saw his effort go just wide of Blayney’s right hand post after 71 minutes.

Despite an impressive debut Sharp was substituted off on 72 minutes to make way for Jason Taylor upfront.Two minutes later Bell was booked for a foul from behind on White.

Diamonds pushed for a much needed victory and saw Phil Gulliver firmly from close range only to see Michael Simpson clear off the line to deny a certain goal after 81 minutes, two minutes later Andy Burgess struck his shot hard and low from the left hand corner of the box only for the effort to go wide of the keeper’s left post.

Diamonds finally took a merited lead after 85 minutes.Craig Dove swung in a corner from the Diamonds left to find Rob Gier who headed home to leave the keeper with no chance.The goal sparked mad celebrations all around Nene Park and amongst the players, but more was soon to come as Diamonds doubled their lead just into stoppage time.David Bell ran through the centre of the pitch before getting behind the Orient defence to strike low and hard with his right foot past the keeper into his far left corner.

This was a superb victory, and one which was thoroughly deserved to end a dramatic week at Nene Park.More performances and most importantly results like this will be the perfect medicine to cure the Diamonds poor league form this season.

TEAMS:

 

Rushden and Diamonds:

Blayney, Connelly, Hawkins, Gier, Sharp (sub Taylor 72), Bell, Burgess, Littlejohn, Gulliver, Dove, Kelly.Subs not used: Worgan, Allen, Dempster, Kennedy.

Leyton Orient:

Harrison, Barnard, Lockwood, Simpson, White, Mackie, Hunt. Steele, Miller, McMahon (sub Scott 60), Echanomi (sub Alexander 69).Subs not used: Saah, Duncan, Palmer.

Referee: Mr M Thorpe

Goal: Gier 85, Bell 90.

Bookings: Hunt (persistent fouling 49), Bell (foul from behind 74).

Attendance: 3288 (774 away).

Man of the Match: Rob Gier

Report by Richard Beeby.

Cheltenham Town 4 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Rushden suffered a heavy defeat when they lost convincingly to old rivals Cheltenham at Whaddon Road.

Jason Taylor’s 30th minute strike reduced the arrears after Brian Wilson and Steven Gillespie had put the home side ahead. Second half goals from Martin Devaney and a penalty from Grant McCann gave Cheltenham their best victory of the season.

Rushden and Diamonds were looking to halt a run of 11 league games without a win and manager Ernie Tippett was forced to make at least one change due to Gary Mulligan ending his three month loan spell at Nene Park after last weeks home draw against Shrewsbury. Jason Taylor partnered Adrian Littlejohn up front.

Cheltenham were without groin injury victims John Finnigan and Ashley Vincent, They were replaced by Steve Guinan and Steven Gillespie who was on-loan from Bristol City.

Rushden kicked off against the end where there supporters were standing and enjoyed the better of the early exchanges with Peter Hawkins forcing an early corner after making a good run down the left.

However, it was the home side that took the lead on 9 minutes with their first real attack. After Alex Hay had fouled Gillespie, referee Parkes played an excellent advantage to leave Devaney time and space to cross from the byline. Brian Wilson popped up at the near post to poke the cross home.

Even worse was to follow ten minutes later. There didn’t appear any danger when Wilson picked out Gillespie 20 yards out but when the shot came in, the ball went through Alan Blayney and squirmed into the net.

Diamonds pulled a goal back on the half hour. Grant McCann’s attempted clearance from the edge of the penalty area only found the advancing Jason Taylor who gleefully fired fast Shane Higgs from 12 yards.

The game sprang into life after that. Wilson’s cross almost caught out Blayney before McCann’s long range effort whistled past the right hand upright.

Craig Dove hit a 37th minute shot low and wide before Hay went into referee Parkes’ book for a late tackle on Devaney.

Diamonds almost got back on level terms four minutes from the interval when a superb run from Littlejohn almost unlocked the Cheltenham defence but he couldn’t find a way past Higgs as he galloped into the penalty area,

Early in the second half, Littlejohn jinxed into the area again but got crowded out as he shaped to shoot.

But it was Cheltenham who got on the scoresheet again as they gained their two goal lead on 59 minutes when Devaney ran onto David Bird’s defence splitting pass and beat the advancing Blayney from 18 yards.

Ten Minutes later, the game was effectively over for Diamonds when Rob Gier was adjudged to have tripped Gillespie in the penalty area as he latched onto Devaney’s flick. Diving to his right, Blayney got a hand to McCann’s spot kick but the ball ended up in the corner of the net.

Diamonds never gave up and tried hard to salvage a consolation goal but apart from a weak shot from Hay on 72 minutes goal, they failed to troubled ‘keeper Higgs. Luke Kennedy and Marcus Kelly were introduced in place of Dove and Hay but to no avail.

It’s now 4 points from a possible 36 and Diamonds are still looking over their shoulders.

TEAMS:

 

Cheltenham Town: Higgs, Wilson (Melligan 72), Victory, Duff, Devaney (Fyfe 79), Guinan, McCann, Bird, Gill, Caines, Gillespie (Spencer 72)

Subs not used: Brown, Odejayi,

Rushden and Diamonds: Blayney, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay (Kennedy 74), Bell, Burgess, Littlejohn, Dove (Kelly 74), Taylor.

Subs not used: Dempster, Worgan, Dempster, Gulliver,

Referee: Mr T Parkes

Bookings: Hay (40 foul), Devaney (56 dissent)

 

Attendance: 3,160

Diamonds Man of the Match: Littlejohn

Report by: Chris Barritt.

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Shrewsbury Town 0

 

Two of League Two’s struggling sides met at Nene Park to play out a drab goalless draw in windy conditions.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Ernie Tippett made two changes to the starting line-up from the side that lost 2v0 to Swansea on Monday.Loan signing Alan Blayney, from Southampton, replaced Lee Worgan who was dropped to the bench whilst new signing Adrian Littlejohn came in upfront. Shrewsbury meanwhile also made two changes to their starting line-up from the side which lost 4-2 at Yeovil on Monday.David Ridler was dropped to the bench whilst Trevor Challis, transfer listed by the club on Friday, was dropped completely.Darren Moss and Neil Ashton were the two replacements.

Diamonds almost went behind after four minutes as David Edwards took advantage of a Rob Gier slip to shoot from just inside the area, but the ball strayed wide of Blayney’s left post.

Four minutes after going behind Diamonds almost went in front; Peter Hawkins fed Craig Dove on the left who moved inside, running diagonally towards the centre, before unleashing a wild 30 yard drive that hit keeper’s far right corner of the bar.Two minutes later Littlejohn turned and shot from the edge of the box and Alex Hay also fancied his chances after a good ball through by Andy Burgess, but both efforts went wide of the keeper’s left post.

Diamonds looked imposing and saw another good opportunity from a free-kick, after 18 minutes.Gary Mulligan took the kick, 10 yards outside the box and central, and forced the keeper into a smart save as Howie tipped the ball over his bar.Two minutes later the same player headed the ball straight into the hands of the keeper after a superb long ball forward had left the Shrews defence stranded.

Dove was unable to take advantage of his mazy run forward as he was closed down by Darren Tinson and Moss just as he was about to shoot, after 37 minutes.Dove was able to hit the target a few minutes later as he played a one-two with Mulligan before shooting hard and low from outside the box, only to see the keeper smother.

Diamonds were well on top as the half came to a close and saw Burgess shoot wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Shrewsbury brought off John Grant for Ryan Lowe at the start of the second half.The substitute impressed early on and played a good ball infield for Edwards to shoot after 49 minutes, but his effort flashed wide.

Rob Gier received a yellow card for a foul on Lowe after 59 minutes and a minute later came Diamonds first opportunity of the second half.David Bell won the ball well before finding Littlejohn on the edges of the box who controlled well before turning and finding space to shoot, only for Howie to pounce.

Mulligan shot well over with a snap shot from the edge of the box, after 67 minutes, just after receiving treatment for an injury to his face and then two minutes later Hay put a shot on the volley over the bar, from less than six yards, when it looked easier to score.

Jason Taylor replaced Mulligan, who eventually had to go off due to his injury, after 72 minutes to end his loan spell at Nene Park.Diamonds battled desperately for the win and saw Bell shoot wide from the left of centre, just outside the box, with ten minutes of normal time remaining.

Jamie Tolly shot high and wide after 85 minutes for the Shrews and Howie punched clear Hawkins crossed shot after 88 minutes before Diamonds made two late changes.Marcus Kelly came on for Craig Dove and John Dempster for David Bell, with two minutes remaining but both had little time to make any impact as the game came to a close.

Whilst three points would have been welcome, a point was possibly just about the right result, and hopefully the side can now build on the confidence from their performance ahead of next weeks trip to Cheltenham.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:
Blayney, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay, Bell (sub Dempster 88), Burgess, Littlejohn, Dove (sub Kelly 88), Mulligan (sub Taylor 72).Subs not used: Worgan, Gulliver.

Shrewsbury Town:

Howie, Moss, Tolley, Tinson, Sedgemore, Ashton, Whitehead, Edwards, Grant (sub Lowe 46), Langmead.Subs not used: Ridler, O’Connor, Hart, Lyng.

Referee: Mr P Prosser

Booking: Gier 59.

 

Attendance: 2829 (712 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Sean Connelly.

Report by: Richard Beeby.

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Swansea City 2

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to their sixth home league defeat of the season as Swansea grabbed two first half goals to comfortably see off the Nene Park side.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Ernie Tippett made three changes to the starting line-up for the visit of the Swans as Luke Kennedy started due to Stuart Gray’s injury, Sean Connelly returned from suspension and Gary Mulligan made a return from a groin injury.On the bench Robert Duffy made a surprise appearance as Tippett looked to utilise his other options in the squad.

Diamonds made the worst possible start and fell behind after just three minutes with Swansea taking the lead in their first attack.Andy Robinson threaded a good ball through to Paul Connor who raced into the box, avoiding Rob Gier, to slot home from 8 yards past Lee Worgan and into the far left corner of the net.

Diamonds were sluggish to start but did see David Bell’s lay off allow Luke Kennedy the chance to shoot from distance, however his shot went high over the bar after 10 minutes.

As Diamonds struggled, their task became an uphill one.Graham Allen failed to win the ball cleanly or with any power on the edges of the box and allowed Robinson to come through before coolly slotting home from the edge of the area to double Swansea’s lead, after 20 minutes.

Worgan had to smother the ball to avoid Connor from getting in on goal after 25 minutes and then Diamonds saw Trundle blast a shot from 40 yards which went wide, as the Swans took total control, and Kevin Austin saw his header safely held by Worgan after Roberto Martinez’s free-kick from the right, after 34 minutes.

In response Craig Dove fired a yard over Willy Gueret’s bar from the left on 40 minutes and Hawkins completed a miserable half when he crossed his shot which the keeper easily saved, with three minutes remaining.

Diamonds pushed Alex Hay and Craig Dove further forward in the second half in a desperate attempt to threaten the Swansea goal.Swansea started the second half well and Connor saw his threat smothered by Worgan after he was supplied by Adrian Forbes, but following that the Diamonds got on top.

Dove fired wide of the keeper’s right post after 53 minutes from distance before Marcus Kelly was brought on to replace Dove two minutes later.Alex Hay put in a dangerous cross from the right which Mulligan almost got a head on, after 57 minutes.

Diamonds appeared to up the tempo and almost grabbed themselves a life-line when Burgess’ ball allowed Bell to burst through the middle before the ball dropped for Mulligan, 10 yards out, who shot on the half valley only to see the keeper save acrobatically with his left hand down to his left, after 59 minutes.

With the tempo raised by the home side Swansea made a change after 63 minutes bringing off Izzy Iriekpen for Ijah Anderson.Diamonds made a second change six minutes later when the ineffective Hay was replaced by Jason Taylor.

The referee looked to deny Diamonds a certain penalty when Mulligan raced through from a long ball forward and into the box, before having his shirt tugged by Kevin Austin, after 72 minutes, only for the man in black to wave play on.Forbes received a yellow card for a foul on Kelly after 73 minutes and in the following passage of play Bell played in a brilliant cross from the right which Taylor met with his head after timing his run well from six yards, but the keeper somehow pulled off a fine save by diving to his left.

In a last through of the dice Robert Duffy made his first appearance of the season replacing Kennedy after 76 minutes, as Diamonds threw everything they could forward. In response Lee Trundle was replaced by Bradley Maylett and Kevin Nugent took to the field in place of Connor for Swansea.

Late on Burgess’ ball rebounded off a Swans defender and allowed Kelly the chance to pick up the ball in the area, before shooting from the angle, only to see his effort glaze the top of the crossbar.Ultimately as time ticked away it looked as though Diamonds would again have to accept defeat, despite their stronger second half performance.

The latest defeat is another blow to the Diamonds but they must battle on with another tough game approaching on Saturday against Shrewsbury.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:

Worgan, Connelly, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay (sub Taylor 69), Bell, Burgess, Dove (sub Kelly 55), Mulligan, Kennedy (sub Duffy 76).Subs not used: Dempster, Gulliver.

Swansea City Fc:

Gueret, Ricketts, Austin, Tate, Martinez, Trundle (sub Maylett 77), Forbes, Monk, Connor (sub Nugent 77), Robinson, Iriekpen (sub Anderson 63).Subs not used: Murphy, Britton.

Referee: Mr Booth

Goals: Connor 4, Robinson 20.

Booking: Forbes.

Attendance: 3382 (478 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Andy Burgess.

Report by Richard Beeby.

Southend United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to a majorly disappointing defeat as they failed to make it third time lucky with a trip to Roots Hall. Diamonds put in a below par performance to allow Southend to ease their way towards three points to help boost their promotion bid.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Ernie Tippett made one enforced change to the starting line-up from the side that drew at Leyton Orient with John Dempster stepping up from the bench, and youngster Scott Wark filling the empty void he left.Dempster slotted into the line-up in a central midfield position with Andy Burgess switching to left back and Peter Hawkins moving sides to right back.Southend United made two changes to the first eleven with Nicky Nicolau and Lawrie Dudfield starting with Freddy Eastwood and Wayne Gray dropped to the bench.Former Diamond Andy Edwards lined up in central defence to face his old club.

Southend started the brighter and almost went in front after three minutes when Nicolau beat off two diamonds players on the left to cross, however his it swept across goal avoiding the well placed Adam Barrett.Minutes later the same player crossed to find Tesfaye Bramble who headed over from a matter of yards.As Southend continued to dominate Nicolau’s corner from the Diamonds right found the head of Mark Bentley, who saw keeper Lee Worgan save superbly, after 15 minutes.

It seemed inevitable that the Diamonds would fall behind and they did after 17 minutes.Lewis Hunt’s cross from the right was cleared by the head of Rob Gier but only as far as the looming Kevin Maher who struck a sweet left footed shot from the edges of the area, into Worgan’s far left corner.

Edwards headed over from a further Nicolau corner after 27 minutes, as Southend continued to strike the biggest threat with Diamonds struggling to make any way in the game.Bramble picked up Carl Pettefer’s ball to fire wide of the keepers left post whilst after 35 minutes goal-scorer Maher burst through to fire wide of Worgan’s right post.

Craig Dove fired straight into the keeper’s hands and then saw his 41st minute snap shot from outside the box deflected away for a corner, as Diamonds failed to find an equaliser before the break.Phil Gulliver was then brought on to replace Stuart Gray who hobbled off injured with a broken toe, after 41 minutes, forcing Diamonds to re-shuffle with Burgess put back up into midfield and Gier moving to right-back to replace Hawkins who moved back to the left.

Moments before the break the Shrimpers threatened to make it two nil as Bramble’s shot was deflected wide with Worgan desperately scrambling to try and make the save, but little was done from the resultant corner.

Hawkins fired straight at the keeper from a slight angle, after 51 minutes, as Diamonds started the second half more positively.Five minutes later Burgess saw his free-kick from two yards outside the box, close to the right hand corner, easily saved by Bart Griemink.

Despite the better start Diamonds soon fell further behind.Maher’s free-kick, following a foul from Hawkins who was duly booked, was met on the volley by Dudfield who saw his effort saved by Worgan only for Edwards to knock home the rebound after 59 minutes.Diamonds instantly made a change and brought off Dempster for Luke Kennedy to make his league debut.

Maher lashed a shot against the bar from ten yards after 62 minutes, with Worgan helpless as Southend looked to grab a third.Six minutes later Worgan had to back-peddle to tip over an Edwards shot, at the far post with Adam Barrett looming.Bramble then fired a cracking shot from the right, 25 yards from goal, just over the bar.

Diamonds provided some hope for the brave travelling fans as David Bell’s run ended in a shot on goal from the edges of the area which Griemink had to parry wide to his right, after 71 minutes.The best opportunity of the game came after 76 minutes.Bell squared a ball to Burgess who curled his shot from outside the area, which looked destined for Griemink’s far right corner of the net, only for the latter to make a superb reflex save to deny the Diamonds.

Graham Allen fired over from 10 yards after Dove’s left wing cross and with Diamonds beginning to look livelier Southend swapped things round in the attack by bringing Wayne Gray on for Dudfield.

Just after the substitution Diamonds saw Bell booked and despite the attempts Diamonds could not force any goal, and instead saw Southend wrap up the three points when Che Wilson’s cross from the left was headed home by Mark Bentley after 90 minutes.Nicolau was then subbed off for James Lawson to ease time.

This was another hugely disappointing result for Diamonds which now leaves them hovering closer than ever to the drop zone.With two games at home in the next week Diamonds will be urgently looking for some luck and better performances to help them turn around their season.

TEAMS:

Southend United:

Griemink, Nicolau (sub Lawson 90), Hunt, Edwards, Barrett, Maher, Bentley, Pettefer, Dudfield (sub Gray 80), Wilson, Bramble.Subs not used: Flahavan, Prior, Eastwood.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Worgan, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Hay, Gray (sub Gulliver 41), Bell, Burgess, Dempster (sub Kennedy 59), Dove, Taylor.Subs not used: Kelly, Wark, Jackson.

Referee:Mr T Parkes

Goals: Maher 17, Edwards 59, Bentley 90.

Bookings: Hawkins, Bell

Attendance: 5930 (239 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Andy Burgess

Report by Richard Beeby

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