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.

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