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.

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