Macclesfield Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Diamonds away day hoodoo continued as they fell to their third successive defeat at the end of a long and dismal season in a game which they controlled for long periods, only to see the hosts grab all three points they needed to guarantee their play -off place.

Rushden and Diamonds made three changes to the starting line-up for their trip to Cheshire to face Macclesfield at Moss Rose.Sean Connelly did not travel with the squad and Peter Hawkins missed out through injury whilst Neil McCafferty’s loan spell at the club ended with last weeks game against Cambridge.Rob Gier returned from suspension and started in a back three alongside John Dempster and Phil Gulliver.In midfield Marcus Kelly started on the left flank with Craig Dove on the right, with a central threesome of Andy Burgess, Stuart Gray and David Bell.

Diamonds had the opening opportunity of the first half as Drewe Broughton played in Alex Hay who blasted his angled drive over Alan Fettis’ crossbar, inside the first minute.

The hosts had the greater of the early pressure and forced several corners inside the opening 6 minutes but could only muster a deflected Matthew Tipton shot, that went wide of Scott Shearer’s left post and that was as close as they came for the whole half.

Diamonds paved a greater way into the game as time wore on and Burgess was extremely unlucky to see his strong shot from 20 yards rebounded away by the keeper after a bursting run through the centre, on 14 minutes.Five minutes later Broughton’s diving header from a Dove right wing cross went narrowly wide.

Despite some possession Macclesfield were rarely threatening and Diamonds again came close after Bell had worked hard to regain possession in the box before setting up Gray who smashed wide from just inside the box, towards the right, after 33 minutes. Then three minutes before the end of the first half Bell saw his low strike have Fettis desperately scrambling down to his left, but it went narrowly wide.

Burgess smashed over the bar in front of the contingent of Diamonds travelling fans at the start of the second half before Macclesfield’s best chance of the game at that point when Paul Harsley stabbed wide of Shearer’s left post after Tipton’s clever thinking had set him up, after 50 minutes.

Broughton shot straight at Fettis before Diamonds saw Hay play in Gray only for Fettis to make himself big, however the rebound still had to be cleared away in a moment of worry, by Mark Boyd.The clearance proved to be Boyd’s last action of the game as he was replaced by Matthew Carragher on 55 minutes.

A momentary lapse in concentration by the Diamonds saw them sliced open with a ball through to Jon Parkin who raced onwards before a fine challenge from Kelly prevented any further danger, however moments later the Diamonds were behind.Kevin McIntyre crossed a dangerous ball into the box from the left flank which Parkin stabbed home at Shearer’s far post from a matter of yards to give the Silkmen a fortunate lead, after 60 minutes.

Having gone behind Diamonds made a change on 70 minutes as Simeon Jackson replaced Craig Dove, with Hay dropping back to the right of midfield.Jason Taylor soon followed Jackson in making his way onto the pitch replacing Broughton after 73 minutes.In between the two changes Macclesfield threatened to make the game safe as Parkin cut the ball back to Harsley who shot strongly from the edges of the area, only to see Shearer save at full strength low to his left.

Shearer again pulled off heroics to deny another Harsley smash on 75 minutes, with Tipton heading the rebound across goal and wide, with Jon Miles being the man who had picked out Harsley.

Macclesfield made their second change to bring off Tipton for Kevin Townson on 79 minutes. Diamonds final change came on 82 minutes when Scott Wark replaced John Dempster; moments after Parkin had seen his header tipped over Shearer’s bar.

Late on Gray’s slip in the centre allowed Harsley to burst forward before finding Parkin who laid the ball backwards to McIntyre who saw Shearer save his shot, then Shearer pulled off two fine saves in succession as he denied both Parkin and Miles to keep the score down.

As the final whistle sounded to spark jubilant scenes from the Silkmen fans the Diamonds fans will just have been thankful that the season has come to a close.Whilst the Silkmen now chase for a play-off victory to see them into League One. The Diamonds know they have much work to do in preparation for another League Two season which kicks off on August 6th.

 

Scott Shearer highly respected by Lee Worgan today pulled off many great saves to keep thescoreline deficit at 1-0

TEAMS:

Macclesfield Town:

Fettis, Bailey, Harsley, Parkin, Tipton (Townson 79), Miles, Whitaker, Boyd (Carragher 55), Morley, McIntyre, Swailes.Subs not used: Wilson, Barras, Mackenzie.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Shearer, Gier, Hay, Gray, Bell, Burgess, Broughton (Taylor 73), Dempster (Wark 82), Gulliver, Dove (Jackson 70), Kelly.Subs not used: Sambrook, Worgan.

Referee: Mr Miller.

Goals: Parkin 60.

Attendance: 2658

Diamonds Man of the Match: Scott Shearer (fine saves prevented a bigger deficit).

By Rich Beeby

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