Rushden & Diamonds 1 Lincoln City 1

 

A third consecutive score draw extended the Diamonds unbeaten start to the season as they came from behind yet again to earn themselves a deserved point.

Dean Keates scored with a brilliant free kick while Greg Pearson scored his first league goal for Diamonds midway through the second half. That was Rushden’s 1,000th league goal since it’s formation in 1992.

Diamonds came into the game boasting a three game unbeaten start to the campaign while Lincoln had taken 5 points from their opening four games with just one defeat at Notts County on their travels.

Diamond’s manager Barry Hunter made two changes from the side that started the Carling Cup game against Coventry City in midweek. Magnus Okuonghae came into the centre of defence to partner Phil Gulliver while Ashley Nicholls started at right back in place of the injured Rob Gier. Sixteen year old Lee Tomlin won a place on the bench.

Lincoln kept the same team that thrashed Championship side Crewe 5 – 1 in midweek.

Diamonds almost went ahead inside 2 minutes. Chris O’Grady forced an early corner and when David Bell’s flag kick came in Alan Marriott produced a superb save to deny Gulliver’s downward header and then somehow blocked Greg Pearson’s follow up.

Six minutes later the visitors went close thanks to a similar piece of action to Diamonds earlier close call, Dean Keates right wing corner was headed goalwards by Nat Brown but Jamie Young expertly turned the ball round the post.

O’Grady’s superb penalty area turn almost gave the loan man a shot at goal while at the other end Derek Asamoah saw his overhead kick sail over the bar after Jamie McCombe headed on.

On 16 minutes, Okuonghae redeemed himself with a great saving tackle after Gary Birch raced clear but 3 minutes later the visitors went in front. Gulliver gave away a free kick 25 yards out and Keates produced a superb left footed shot which gave Young absolutely no chance as the ball flew into the top left hand corner of the net.

A mistake by Peter Hawkins on 36 minutes let in Maheta Molango on the right. The midfielder tried to pick out Asamoah at the near post but quick thinking by Young put an end to the danger.

Three minutes later, a fine mazy run from Bell allowed O’Grady the chance to shoot but the chance went wide. The play then switched to the other end when Keates picked out Gary Birch running clear of the Diamonds defence but the striker hit his shot high and wide.

Half – timeRushden & Diamonds 0 – 1 Lincoln City

Rushden started the second half very positively as Bell went on an early mazy run towards the Peter De Banke Terrace but the midfielder failed to find the target. On 56 minutes, Marcus Kelly raced along the byline and found O’Grady in space but Marriott produced a fine save to touch over the teenager’s shot.

Bell then found himself on the byline and shot instinctively but Marriott was alert again to save.

After Diamonds had exerted their best spell of pressure in the game, Diamonds got back on level terms after 65 minutes. After Okuonghae pushed the ball forward to Gulliver the defender cleverly laid the ball into the path of Greg Pearson who beat Marriott with ease from the penalty spot.

The goalscorer almost made it two three minutes later when his shot on the turn was superbly turned round the post by Marriott who was having an inspired game between the Lincoln posts.

Dave Savage and Peter Hawkins linked well before the Diamonds skipper headed straight at the Lincoln ‘keeper.

That was the last action for the Irishman who left the field with a twisted ankle leaving him doubtful for the Bank Holiday fixture at Grimsby on Monday,

On 89 minutes, Young denied Birch with a fine save before Neil McCafferty scooped a 35 yard free – kick over the bar.

TEAMS:

Rushden and Diamonds:

Young,Gulliver,Hawkins, Savage (Capt) (Grainger 77), Pearson (Pearson 89), Bell, Nicholls, McCafferty,O’Grady,Kelly, Okuonghae

Subs not used: Woodman, Dempster, Tomlin.

Lincoln City:

Marriott, Beevers, McCombe (Capt) Asamoah (Mayo 60), Birch, Kerr, Bloomer, Cryan, Keates (Morgan 67), Brown, Molango.

Subs not used: Coleman, Hughes, Robinson.

Referee: J Singh

Goals: Keates 19, Pearson 65

Bookings: Beevers 61, McCafferty 71

Attendance: 2,860 (Away 668)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Marcus Kelly

Match Report by Chris Barritt

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