Grimsby Town 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Rushden and Diamonds fell to their first League Two defeat of the season as a John McDermott wonder goal and JPK Kalala penalty bagged the Mariner’s all three points, at Blundell Park.

Rushden and Diamonds boss Barry Hunter made one change to the starting eleven following the 1v1 draw with Lincoln City at the weekend.Dave Savage missed out due to a twisted ankle causing David Bell to move into the centre of Midfield with Greg Pearson filling the void left on the right.Pearson’s drop back from the front allowed Jason Taylor to make his first start of the campaign alongside Chris O’Grady.On the bench Daniel Chillingworth had recovered from his injury.

Diamonds made a bright start with Bell and Taylor both looking lively going forward although it was Grimsby that had the best early chance when Magnus Okounghae’s foul on Michael Reddy set up a free-kick which Tom Newey drifted in from the left, just outside the box, for Gary Jones to head narrowly over, on 7 minutes.

Just two minutes later though the Mariner’s were in front when John McDermott beat two Diamonds players and looked to have lost control of the ball before unleashing a mad 25 yard strike, from the right wing, which flew past Jamie Young into the far left corner of the net.

In response to falling behind Kelly broke free to strike from 20 yards but wide of the keeper’s left post on 17 minutes.Six minutes later O’Grady was fed by Pearson from the right and beat three players before seeming to be upended by Justin Whittle, although the referee thought otherwise and booked him for diving.

A minute after the booking McCafferty shot from long range but into the hands of keeper Steve Mildenhall.

The Mariner’s looked to have gone further infront when Newey’s left wing corner was drifted in and found the head of Rob Jones who put the ball home, however the "goal" was ruled out for a push, after 32 minutes.

A minute later Okounghae had to be alert to clear off the line after Jones’ head down found Reddy who flashed an angled drive across the face of Young’s goal.

With the Mariner’s enjoying their best spell of the first half Jones was again influential going forward when he headed into the path of Andy Parkinson however the midfielder blasted over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Diamonds couldn’t grab an equaliser before the break with Bell’s free-kick which fell straight into the hands of Mildenhall, the closest they came.

Newey drifted a free-kick narrowly over Young’s crossbar at the start of the second period, minutes later the Diamonds task became an uphill one when the Mariner’s doubled their lead.

Young rushed out from between the posts to try and thwart the threat of McDermott’s ball into the box; however he was adjudged to have fouled Reddy to concede a penalty.Mariner’s, who had missed seven of their last eight penalties, saw Kalala step up to take it and fire it low past Young and to his right.Kalala was then booked for his celebration.

Diamonds brought off Taylor for Daniel Chillingworth on 57 minutes in an attempt to get something from the game.Grimsby made a change five minutes later when Martin Gritton replaced the impressive Jones.

Diamonds struggled to make headway after falling further behind and Grimsby were content to sit on their lead.The closest Diamonds came was when Gulliver’s header was deflected wide for a corner on 71 minutes, following a Bell free-kick from the left six yards from the by-line.

At the other end Parkinson’s shot across goal from the left had to be tipped away by Young, before O’Grady found space infront of the Mariner’s goal but could only blast over the crossbar, after 75 minutes.

Reddy ran brilliantly through the centre before failing to connect with his strike just when it mattered most, to spare the Diamonds falling three behindon 77 minutes, when Young would have been otherwise beaten.The same player then wasted Parkinson’s ball back as he blasted well wide of Young’s far left post, from 15 yards.

As frustration began to show McCafferty was booked for dissent and Bell for a foul on Kalala after 80 minutes before Pearson was booked for a handball from Whittle’s free-kick, amid a poor refereeing performance.Hawkins later followed when he upended Reddy’s purge towards the Diamonds goal.

Grimsby made a late change to bring off Rob Jones for Tony Crane to ease time, however they came the closest to bagging a late goal when Gritton’s free header at the far post after Reddy’s cross from the right, went narrowly wide.

This was a disappointing afternoon for the Diamonds.Whilst they battled hard and showed determination when needed they failed to ever truly test Steve Mildenhall in the Mariner’s goal and must be more decisive when going forward if they are to get the points their performances are meriting.

TEAMS:

Grimsby Town:

Milldenhall, McDermott, Newey, Whittle, Kalala, Jones (Crane 88), Croft, Andrew, Parkinson, Jones (Gritton 62), Reddy.Subs not used: Ramsden, Downey, Barwick.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Young, Gulliver, Hawkins, Pearson, Bell, Nicholls, O’Grady, Taylor (Chillingworth 57), McCafferty, Kelly, Okounghae.Subs not used: Dempster, Woodman, Grainger, Wark.

Referee: Mr Booth

Goals: McDermott 9, Kalala (penalty) 50,

Bookings: O’Grady 23 (diving), Kalala 50 (unsporting behaviour), Bell (foul) 80, McCafferty (dissent) 80, Pearson (handball) 81, Hawkins (foul) 86.

Attendance: 3774 (166 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Phil Gulliver (strong and determined).

Report by: Rich Beeby.

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