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.

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