March 28, 2005 Leave a comment
Rushden and Diamonds claimed their second successive away point with a goalless draw at Blundell Park.Diamonds had to doggedly stick to their task as they looked to keep up the pace with the relegation pack.
Grimsby made two changes to the line-up from the side that slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Bury on Good Friday with Michael Reddy and Ronnie Bull both missing allowing Stacy Coldicott to move up from the bench to start whilst Midfielder Terry Fleming returned after serving a one match ban.
Rushden also made two changes dropping Alex Hay to the bench in favour of the fit again David Bell whilst Peter Hawkins returned at left-back following a two game suspension.Andy Burgess moved back into Midfield after deputising for Hawkins in recent weeks whilst Craig Dove continued on the left leaving Billy Sharp as the Diamonds lone man upfront.
The Mariners had the better of the possession early on and could boast the greater share of the chances in a tight and fairly dour first half, although Diamonds did progressively get into the game as time went on.
Grimsby started brightly and saw Andy Parkinson fire narrowly wide of Scott Shearer’s right hand post inside the first two minutes after being set up well by Matt Harrold.The Mariners continued to have the greater of the possession and saw Martin Gritton fire a 30 yard shot wide of the left post with 12 minutes gone.
Justin Whittle’s downfield diagonal ball into the box was flicked on well by Gritton for Harrold to get a touch at the far post but Shearer was alert to save bravely, after 19 minutes.Harrold and Gritton combined well again when the latter put a brilliant ball forward only for Gritton to take a touch too many and allow Shearer to rush out and make the save, after 24 minutes.
Diamonds eventually came more into the game and saw Burgess shoot high over the bar from just outside the box, to the left of centre, after good build up play between himself, Dove and Hawkins, on 30 minutes.
At the other end Thomas Pinault’s 33rd minute half volley went wide of the left post whilst Pinault’s free-kick towards the far post allowed Gritton to flick on with Harrord unlucky not to make a final touch to open the scoring, two minutes later.
The best chance of the first half came after 40 minutes and fell to the Mariner’s when Pinault’s ball into the box found Harrord who smashed the ball at an angle with his left foot from 6 yards; however Shearer somehow saved with Gier making the final clearance.Three minutes later Bell wasted a golden opportunity for the Diamonds from a 30 yard free-kick when he blasted high and wide as the first half came to a close.
Diamonds forced two corners at the start of the second half but could do little with them and it was the hosts who again came close when Harrord fired a curling shot from just inside the box narrowly over the bar, with 52 minutes gone.
Phil Gulliver had to be alert to hurriedly knock away Shearer’s palmed save from a fine Fleming header from the centre of the box after Jason Crowe had supplied him with a left wing cross, after 58 minutes.
Shearer had to pull of a fine reflex save to deny Parkinson from ten yards, pushing the right footed shot wide of his far post after 63 minutes.Grimsby then made a change replacing Stacy Coldicott with Graham Hockless a minute later.
Diamonds themselves made a change after 71 minutes as Sharp, who had worked tirelessly without reward as the lone ban upfront, was replaced by Adrian Littlejohn.Diamonds then brought on Hay for Dove minutes later.
Pinault volleyed well wide with 77 minutes gone before Grimsby also made a second change with David Soames replacing Gritton.Sean Connelly had to hack away substitute Hockless’ dangerous ball into the box after 83 minutes, with Fleming wasting an effort from the resultant corner.
As Diamonds looked to grab a late winner Burgess raced forward but placed his right footed effort wide of the keeper’s right post whilst at the other end Soames fancied his chances from long-range with a shot that flashed wide, after 86 minutes.
Soames shot wide of Shearer’s right post in the dying minutes before a frantic finale.Diamonds looked to have won the game when Littlejohn was fouled by Forbes to earn Diamonds a free-kick on the edge of the box, to the left of centre, which McCafferty struck well but the deflection off the wall hit the keeper’s right post and was hurriedly cleared by Justin Whittle.At the other end Diamonds saw Shearer punch through a crowded area to deny Soames once more, deep into injury time.
Despite the frantic end nothing could be done to break the deadlock as both defences came out on top and Diamonds secured successive goalless draws on the road.With defeats for both Cambridge and Kidderminster at home this is certainly a point gained rather than two dropped in the bid to avoid relegation to the Nationwide Conference.
Diamonds now have six games to secure their League Two status starting with a massive game against high flying Yeovil.What is certain is that Diamonds must secure a better points return over the next six games than in their previous clashes against the forthcoming opposition which saw them claim just one point, that coming against Bristol Rovers.
Williams, Forbes, Crowe, McDermott, Harrold, Pinault, Parkinson, Caldicott (Hockless 64), Whittle, Fleming, Gritton (Soames 80).Subs not used: Crane, Downey, Jones.
Rushden and Diamonds:
Shearer, Connelly, Hawkins, Gier, Gray, Sharp (Littlejohn 71), Bell, Burgess, Gulliver, Dove (Hay 74), McCafferty.Subs not used: Dempster, Taylor, Afandiyev.
Referee: Mr J J Ross
Attendance: 4566 (205 away)
Diamonds Man of the Match: Rob Gier
By Rich Beeby