Rushden and Diamonds 1 Northampton Town 3



Two late goals handed Northampton a fortunate victory in the Northamptonshire local derby.


Ryan Gilligan opened the scoring for Northampton before Dave Savage equalised. Rob Gier’s own goal put The Cobblers back in front before Scott McGleish wrapped things up late on.


Diamonds kept the same squad that took a point at Notts County on Saturday while Northampton made three changes from the team that went down 2 – 1 at home to Cheltenham. Chris Doig came in to the centre of defence to replace the injured Sean Dyche. David Rowson and Ryan Gilligan also came into the side replacing Josh Low and Petr Mikolanda.


Diamonds won an early free kick which Drewe Broughton failed to get a head on Marcus Kelly’s cross while on 6 minutes Ashley Nicholls blazed over from 12 yards.


The visitors had a lucky break a minute later when they took the lead. Jamie Young produced a miraculous save to somehow keep out Gavin Johnson’s long range shot after it had taken a huge deflection off Scott McGleish. However, McGleish reacted speedily to pass to the unmarked Ryan Gilligan who scored from close range.


Broughton hit a shot over the bar before Eoin Jess missed the target following David Hunt’s long throw.


Diamonds almost drew level on 22 minutes. Phil Gulliver headed Marcus Kelly’s free kick goalward’s and Magnus Okuonghae somehow scooped the ball over the bar from 2 yards.


Ian Taylor then shot wide before Lee Harper superbly tipped over Broughton’s bullet header following Kelly’s left wing corner.


The Cobblers should have extended their lead on 38 minutes when McGleish ran onto Ian Taylor’s fine pass but with just Young to beat, McGleish shot weakly allowing the Rushden ‘keeper to save easily.


At the other end, Ashley Nicholls found Dave Savage in space 25 yards out and the Irishman’s attempted chip almost caught out Harper under his crossbar.


There was plenty of fire and passion at the start of the second half. Diamonds fans had their hearts in their mouths on 48 minutes when McGleish charged down Young’s attempted clearance but the ball rebounded into touch.


Back came Diamonds when good work from Kelly on the left resulted in Grainger getting his head to the ball but Harper comfortably saved.


Kelly produced Diamonds best move of the game so far when he latched onto Savage’s through pass, jinxed inside before firing just wide of the right hand post.


A slick passing move by Northampton almost produced dividends when Ian Taylor teed up McGleish but the pace of the pass was just too much for the striker.


The game to life again when Diamonds equalised on 62 minutes. Savage ran onto Chris O’Grady’s flick and then coolly slotted home past the advancing Harper.


Peter Hawkins headed wide from Kelly’s cross before the diminutive little winger did everything but score after a fantastic run along the byline.


Just as Diamonds confidence grew, they received a hammer blow when the visitors regained the lead on 79 minutes. Hunt’s free kick was aimed forward and Rob Gier, under pressure from McGleish, looped a backward header past the despairing Young and into his own net.


Worst was to follow on 82 minutes when Northampton secured the points. Hunt’s free kick was met by Ian Taylor but Young fumbled the ball on the line allowing McGleish to slide in and score.


So a disappointing result for Diamonds but they showed enough resolve and endeavour tonight to show that they have character to bounce back.




Rushden and Diamonds:


Young, Gulliver, Hawkins, Gier, Savage, Broughton (Jason Taylor 88) , Nicholls (McCafferty 70), O’Grady, Kelly, Okounghae, Grainger (Pearson 81).  Subs not used: Woodman, Dempster.


Northampton Town:


Harper, Crowe, Chambers, Doig, Ian Taylor, McGleish, Jess (Bojic 84), Hunt, Rowson (Low 74), Gavin Johnson, Gilligan (Brett Johnson 89). Subs Not Used: Bunn, Galbraith


Referee: Mr Uriah Rennie


Goal: Gilligan 7, Savage 62, Gier 79 (og), McGleish 82


Bookings: Doig 31 (Foul), Chambers 33 (Foul), Gilligan 45 (Dissent), Kelly 82, McCafferty 87 (Foul)


Attendance: 5,211 (Away 2,348)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Marcus Kelly


Match Report by Chris Barritt.


Notts County 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0


Rushden and Diamonds and Notts County played out a fairly drab goalless draw at Meadow Lane, but it was the visitors who were left unhappiest as they were denied a late penalty.

Rushden and Diamonds Manager Barry Hunter made two changes to the line-up from the side that triumphed 3v2 against Stockport County.Rob Gier returned from injury at right back and Daniel Grainger started on the right of the midfield, leaving John Dempster and Greg Pearson on the bench alongside the returning Neil McCafferty.

Diamonds started brightly and saw Phil Gulliver head Marcus Kelly’s left-wing corner narrowly over the crossbar inside the first two minutes.Then came blasts handsomely over the bar for both sides by Lewis McMahon for Notts and Gulliver for Diamonds.

Diamonds were fortunate to see Gavin Gordon fail to connect with a telling left wing cross from Jake Sheridan at the far post, on 6 minutes as the hosts started to exert some early pressure.Five minutes later Kelvin Wilson headed at Jamie Young from Rob Ullathorne’s corner.

Gordon was again to blame for the hosts not taking the lead on 17 minutes when he glanced a header narrowly wide of Young’s far right post, following David Pipe’s brilliant run and cross from the right.

Despite the hosts having the better of the chances Diamonds weren’t out of the game and a hashed clearance from Wilson fell invitingly for Broughton who took advantage but his shot was saved by Pilkington, on 22 minutes, before Gier notched wide.

Diamonds began to regain some superiority in the game and saw Gier’s long punt forward fall for Ashley Nicholls in an advanced position who could only blast over the bar, after 32 minutes.

Glynn Hurst headed across goal on 33 minutes but little was seen by way of chances for either side after that before the half time whistle.

County saw Captain Mike Edwards force the first chance of the second half as his drive went inches wide of Young’s right post in the opening minutes.

Diamonds were forced into making their first change of the afternoon when Neil McCafferty replaced Dave Savage who limped off, after 50 minutes.Three minutes later Tyrone Berry replaced Gordon for County.The numerous changes continued as Hurst was replaced by Tyrone Berry.

Substitute McGoldrick raced through the Diamonds half before unleashing a shot that Young was more than equal to on 63 minutes.Two minutes later Broughton was yellow carded for persistent fouling.

Daniel Grainger was replaced by Greg Pearson on 66 minutes as Diamonds looked to freshen things up, however four minutes later they could have been behind when only a Young block with his foot thwarted a good purge on goal from the lively McGoldrick, with Diamonds defence torn open.

Matthew Gill was lucky not to be booked when he pushed Kelly after a challenge and instead just received a talking to from the referee.Moments after that incident the Diamonds saw Kelly supply Nicholls who blasted towards goal, but without avail in breaking the deadlock.

McGoldrick was able to slice through the challenge of Okuonghae and Gulliver before shooting, but his shot went narrowly wide of Young’s right post, after 75 minutes.

The Magpies made their final change of the afternoon after 79 minutes as Matthew Gill was replaced by Stacy Long.The Diamonds made their final change two minutes later as Broughton came off for Jason Taylor.

As the game began to draw to a close Brian O’Callaghan shot straight at Young from 20 yards for the hosts, and Taylor headed narrowly over the crossbar from a corner, for Diamonds.

With four minutes of added time indicated Diamonds were fortunate not to concede a penalty when the referee adjudged Hawkins not to have handballed a County cross and instead indicated a corner, from which Ullathorne’s ball in caused little danger.

Having just denied Notts a penalty the Diamonds were denied an even clearer one when O’Grady was upended by Ullathorne deep into injury time, for what looked a definite spot kick to everyone but the referee.

In the end the deadlock could not be broken but the Diamonds will be disappointed that they weren’t able to bag all three points late on, however this is a hugely valuable point against opposition that have had a strong start to the season.


Notts County:
Pilkington, Pipe, Edwards, O’Callaghan, Gill (Long 79), Gordon (McGoldrick 53), Hurst (Berry 61), Ullathorne, Wilson, McMahon, Sheridan.Subs not used: Marshall, Martin.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Young, Gulliver, Hawkins, Gier, Savage (McCafferty 50), Broughton (Taylor 81), Nicholls, O’Grady, Okounghae, Grainger (Pearson 66).Subs not used: Woodman, Dempster.

Referee: Mr Carl Boyeson

Booking: Broughton 65 (persistent fouling)

Attendance: 5145 (506 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Phil Gulliver

Match Report by Rich Beeby.

Rushden & Diamonds 3 Stockport 2



A last gasp goal from John Dempster gave Diamonds three priceless points

as they twice came from behind to defeat Stockport at Nene Park.


All three goals came from Marcus Kelly corner’s as Phil Gulliver scored at both ends before Michael Malcolm put Stockport back in front. Chris O’Grady made the score 2 – 2 before Dempster’s dramatic winner


Diamonds boss Barry Hunter made one change from the side that went down at Macclesfield in midweek. Drewe Broughton was promoted from the bench to replace Jason Taylor and Hunter was also able to recall Rob Gier after injury and he took his place amongst the substitutes.


Stockport manager Chris Turner was without leading scorer Jemaine Easter through injury so Tes Bramble came into the attack. Harpal Singh and Ross Greenwood were also recalled to the side.


Diamonds produced the first attack when neat work from O’Grady and Broughton set up Peter Hawkins but he spooned his shot over the bar. Stockport replied with a smart run from Michael Malcolm but Greg Pearson was alert to the danger and cleared with Singh breathing down his neck. 


On 9 minutes, Kelly laid the ball into Pearson’s path but he couldn’t control the shot which failed to trouble Carl Ikeme.


Diamonds came within inches of taking the lead five minutes later when Chris O’Grady latched onto Broughton’s flick only to see his snapshot canon off the left hand post and then rebound of Greenwood into the grateful arms of Carl Ikeme.


The visitors took a fortunate lead on 19 minutes. Mark Robinson’s clever pass found Singh on the left and when the cross came in, Phil Gulliver diverted the ball past Jamie Young at the near post.


O’Grady went close again two minutes later when he teamed up well with Broughton before unleashing a 20 yard left foot shot which went just wide of the right hand upright. Keith Briggs then saw a long range effort deflected over the bar before the game went into a disappointing lull as neither side took control of midfield.


Passing became ragged as both sides failed to get their passing game going leaving little goalmouth action for the fans to enjoy. Indeed, the next chance didn’t arrive until three minutes before the interval when John Dempster had a goal ruled out following a foul on the ‘keeper.


Half – time    Rushden & Diamonds  0 – 1   Stockport


Early in the second half Ashley Nicholls scuffed a shot wide before Broughton saw a header deflected for a corner.


However, from the resultant corner Diamonds scored a 51st minute equaliser.  Kelly’s flag kick was flicked on by John Dempster and Broughton before Gulliver smacked the ball home from close range for his first ever goal league goal in Diamonds colours.


Five minutes later Diamonds should have gone in front when Broughton rose above Ikeme to meet Kelly’s corner but the striker’s header went over the bar.


At the other end Singh got free but could only find the side netting after losing control. Then Malcolm went clear but Young made a fine block as the striker bore down on goal. From the resultant corner, the same striker shot over when it seemed easier to score.


On 64 minutes Stockport went in front. Hesitation from Dempster let in Singh to the left of the penalty area and he easily picked out Malcolm who tapped in at the far post.


O’Grady saw a shot blocked by Ikeme before the on-loan striker struck a priceless equaliser on 69 minutes. Yet another Kelly corner was headed down by Magnus Okunghae and with his back towards goal O’Grady somehow squeezed the ball home from close range.


What followed was a superb finale with both sides repeatedly going close to a winner. Substitute Daniel Grainger’s bullet almost knocked Ikeme off his feet while Danny Boshell should have done better at the other end.


Gulliver and Dempster both headed over from Kelly corners before Rushden took all three points at the death. Kelly swung in a corner from the left and Dempster chested home much to the delight of the home supporters.


So a much needed win for Rushden who by their own admission didn’t play well but they dug deep to come from behind yet again in thrilling circumstances.




Rushden and Diamonds:

Jamie Young, Phil Gulliver, Peter Hawkins, Dave Savage (Capt), Greg Pearson (Daniel Grainger 57), Drewe Broughton (Jason Taylor 80), John Dempster, Ashley Nicholls, Chris O’Grady, Marcus Kelly, Magnus Okuonghae.  Subs not used: Andy Woodman, Rob Gier, Neil McCafferty,


Stockport County

Carl Ikeme, Rob Clare, Mark Robinson, Matty Hamshaw, Keith Briggs (Capt) (Damien Allen 90), Tes Bramble (Ludovic Dje 78), Harpal Singh (Adam Le Fondre), Ross Greenwood, Danny Boshell, Michael Malcolm, Tony Vaughan. Subs not used: James Spencer, Ashley Williams,


Referee: Mr D Drysdale


Goals: Gulliver (og) 19, Gulliver 51, Malcolm 64, O’Grady 69, Dempster 90


Bookings:  Briggs 42 (Foul), Vaughan 72 (Foul), Broughton 76 (Persisitent Offences), Hawkins 82 (Dissent)


Attendance: 2710 (Away 363)


Diamonds Men of the Match: 

Chris O’Grady – revelled in a non target man role.

Marcus Kelly – just gets better and better and assisted in all three goals.


Report by Chris Barritt.

Macclesfield Town 3 Rushden and Diamonds 1


Rushden went down to a disappointing defeat at Moss Rose.

Martin Bullock opened the scoring for Macclesfield late in the first half before a soft penalty extended the lead on 56 minutes. Substitute Drewe Broughton pulled one back before the impressive Bollock sealed things three minutes from time.

Rushden and Diamonds Manger Barry Hunter made one change from the team that produced a brilliant come-back at Oxford on Saturday to gain a 2 – 2 draw. Peter Hawkins returned from a one match suspension to start at left back while Ashley Nicholls moved into central midfield to replace the injured Neil McCafferty.

Veteran Dave Savage was making his 400th competitive appearance.

Macclesfield manager Brian Horton also made one change from the side that lost 2 – 0 at Carlisle at the weekend. Tony Barras replaced Kevin Townson in a 4 – 5 -1 formation.

Rushden kicked off on a cool Cheshire evening and it was the home side that produced the first shot of the evening when Martin Bullock tried his luck from 25 yards but failed to trouble Jamie Young.

Bullock again caused problems three minutes later as he danced into the penalty area but his shot was blocked by Phil Gulliver. At the other end, Alan Fettis flapped at a fine cross from Chris O’Grady but Greg Pearson handled as he shaped to make room for a shot.

On 10 minutes, John Dempster produced a superb 50 yards cross field pass which picked out O’Grady on the left and the on-loan striker won a corner as Diamonds started to dominate proceedings.

Macclesfield suffered a setback four minutes later when Alan Russell had to leave the field with a leg injury. He was replaced by John Miles.

Miles was soon in action when he beat the Diamonds offside trap but the opportunity was wasted when he failed to test Young from 20 yards. Seconds later, Jason Taylor turned superbly at the other end but Fettis got down smartly to save.

Diamonds then created another good chance from the left hand side. The ever willing Marcus Kelly got to the byline and found Fettis again flapping at the cross but the ball fell unkindly for Nicholls who scuffed his shot in front of goal.

The game started to settle down with both midfields trying to wrestle the initiative. Skipper Savage was becoming more and more influential as the opening period wore on.

Kevin Sandwith’s 29th minute cross found Michael Briscoe in space but Young comfortably dealt with the header. A minute later Danny Whittaker tried his luck from all of 35 yards but again Young was well positioned to deal with the effort.

Five minutes from the interval, The Silkmen took the lead. Miles chested down Fettis’s long ball and then found Bullock just outside the penalty area. The tricky midfielder sidestepped one challenge before finding the left hand corner of the net with Young static and possibly unsighted.

Half-timeMacclesfield 1 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Diamonds came out for the second half some five minutes before the home side and it was they almost got back on level terms on 48 minutes thanks to a wonderful turn and snapshot from Pearson which hit the top of the crossbar.

On 54 minutes Gulliver rose well to head Kelly’s corner but his effort was turned away for a corner.

Seconds later only Miles will know how he failed to extend the home sides lead. Macclesfield made a quick break through Bullock who found Miles all alone in the penalty area but the substitute somehow blasted over from 10 yards.

However, Miles all but atoned for that miss when he controversially won a penalty on 56 minutes. Referee Pike adjudged that Magnus Okuonghae pushed Miles as he ran into the penalty leaving Paul Harsley to drill home the penalty.

Three minutes later, confusion in the Diamonds defence almost let in Whittaker but his shot was cleared. There were further appeals for a penalty when Briscoe claimed that he was baulked at the far post but the referee was not interested.

Rushden threw on Drewe Broughton and Daniel Chillingworth in a double change on 63 minutes.

On 66 minutes, Diamonds came close to getting a goal back when Nicholls linked up with Broughton on the left, Nicholls cross reached Pearson on the opposite side of the area but the midfielder’s response fizzed across the face of the goal.

Six minutes later there were more loud appeals for a penalty when Savage appeared to manhandle Bullock but much to the diminutive midfielder’s annoyance, referee Pike waived the appeals away.

As Diamonds tried to get back into the game John Dempster was not far away with a long range shotwhile Chillingworth was well wide with an 80th minute strike.

With time running out, Drewe Broughton threw Diamonds a lifeline when he scored five minutes from time. Substitute Daniel Grainger chased down a lost cause on the right and after dispossessing Danny Swailes on the byline, the teenager found Broughton at the far post who simply couldn’t miss.

As Diamonds pushed Okuonghae forward in search of an equaliser, Macclesfield again hit Rushden on the break after 87 minutes. Whittaker spotted Bullock free on the left and he ran on into the penalty area before drawing Young and coolly slotting home.

There was still time for the visitors to try and salvage something from the game and in the dying seconds Gulliver’s firm header from Grainger’s free kick was superbly tipped over the bar by Fettis.

So a disappointing result for Diamonds who now take on Stockport at Nene Park on Saturday.



AlanFettis, Kevin Sandwith, Dave Morley (Capt), Danny Swailes, Martin Bullock, Paul Harsley, Danny Whittaker, Kevin McIntyre, Tony Barras, Michael Briscoe, Alan Russell ( John Miles 14) Subs not used: David Beresford, Kevin Townson, Andrew Smart, Tim Deasy

Rushden and Diamonds:

Jamie Young, Phil Gulliver, Peter Hawkins, Dave Savage (Capt), Greg Pearson (Daniel Grainger 73), John Dempster, Ashley Nicholls, Chris O’Grady (Daniel Chillingworth 63), Jason Taylor (Drewe Broughton 63), Marcus Kelly, Magnus Okuonghae.Subs not used: Andy Woodman, Scott Wark,

Referee: Mr Pike

Goals: Bullock 40, Harsley (pen) 56, Broughton 85, Bullock 87

Bookings: Taylor 29 (Foul), McIntyre 50 (Foul)

Attendance: 2874

Diamonds Man of the Match: Phil Gulliver

Report by Chris Barritt.

Oxford United 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2


Rushden and Diamonds earned a precious point at the Kassam Stadium as they overturned a two goal half-time deficit against a side managed by former boss Brian Talbot.

Eric Sabin and Leo Roget had blasted United ahead but a fine second half showing proved Diamonds won’t be an easy ride for any team this season when Jason Taylor and Daniel Grainger drew Diamonds level.

Rushden and Diamonds Manger Barry Hunter was forced to make one change to his line-up from the side who were defeated against Peterborough United as Peter Hawkins sat out through suspension and Dave Savage returned from injury to face his former club.Diamonds fielded Ashley Nicholls at left-back and John Dempster continued at right-back.On the bench Ricardo Joseph continued the presence of youth whilst Daniel Chillingworth continued his return from injury.

Former Diamonds boss Brian Talbot included Billy Turley, Stuart Gray and Leo Roget in his side, whilst another former Diamonds player – Barry Quinn, was suspended.Oxford also featured former Northampton Town players Chris Hargreaves and recent signing Eric Sabin in their line-up, whilst another was on the bench in the form of Chris Willmott.

Diamonds started well and Pearson glanced a header wide of Turley’s left-hand post inside the opening minutes before Chris O’Grady beat off Turley after the latter had made a hashed clearance, only to shoot weakly straight at him.

Leo Roget had to receive lengthy treatment for Oxford to halt the Diamonds impressive opening and when play resumed a passage of even play yielded little by way of chances on goal for either side.

Diamonds began to get on top of the game and almost stamped their authority on it when Neil McCafferty played in Marcus Kelly down the left who fired a cross into the box where Pearson just failed to connect, with the Oxford defence carved open, on 10 minutes.

Magnus Okuonghae received a yellow card for a sloppy challenge on Sabin as he tried to break free, however Leo Roget could only head wide from the resultant free-kick from Chris Hackett.

Despite Diamonds having the better of the chances Oxford stole a lead, courtesy of a former Diamond and Cobbler.Gray was able to break free down the left and fired strongly at Jamie Young, who could only parry his effort with Sabin quick to fire home the rebound, after 17 minutes.

After the goal Jude Stirling forced Young into a brilliant save over the bar after 22 minutes from distance to force a corner, from which Oxford went further ahead.Hackett took the right-wing corner and launched it towards the far post where Leo Roget powered home with a header.

Diamonds injury woes then continued as McCafferty had to go off injured to be replaced by Daniel Grainger, after 24 minutes.

Diamonds struggled to respond from the setbacks and could only muster a weak Pearson effort from 15 yards when Savage set him up, on 35 minutes before half time.

Grainger received a word in the ear from the referee after his challenge left Lee Mansell in need of treatment to add to the first half stoppages.Moments after the delay Gray fed Stirling who beat off Dempster before unleashing a shot at an angle from the left, which went narrowly wide, after 40 minutes.

Diamonds faced a mountainous task going into the second half to overcome the deficit but started reasonably whenNicholls poked a shot from just inside the box a couple of yards wide of Turley’s right post.

Hackett stole past the Diamonds defence down the right before shooting at Young on 51 minutes for Oxford, however two minutes later the Diamonds were closing the deficit.

Marcus Kelly fired a free-kick from the right, 30 yards from goal, which Taylor latched onto at the far post to strike past Turley who didn’t even move off his spot.Just a minute later Nicholls received a yellow card for a foul.

Oxford A 2006 GraingerDiamonds were buoyed by the goal and five minutes later did what seemed the impossible as they drew level, courtesy of a fine strike.John Dempster threw the ball in from the Diamond’s right flank into the centre where Grainger fired a superb volley into the top corner from 25 yards, sending the Diamonds fans into raptures.

Brian Talbot brought off Jude Stirling for Lee Bradbury in response to the goal, on 59 minutes.

Diamonds were well on top and Kelly was unlucky not to earn Diamonds a penalty when he appeared to be fouled in the box on 67 minutes, but he still went on to shoot but the effort was blocked.

Andy Campbell came off for Craig Davies on 70 minutes as Oxford made a second change whilst seven minutes later Taylor was replaced by Chillingworth for Diamonds.A third booking was earned when John Dempster received a booking after he left a foot trailing to upend Craig Davies on 82 minutes.

Diamonds looked in little danger of conceding a third and even pushed for the three points but a Pearson blasted well over the bar from a 30 yard free-kick on 85 minutes, and a Chillingworth strike into the hands of Turley, was the closest they came.

Diamonds will be more than happy with the point -always valuable on the road – and especially pleasing following consecutive League Two defeats, even more so against a team managed by former boss Brian Talbot.

Diamonds now travel to the Moss Rose to face Macclesfield on Tuesday night.


Oxford United:

Turley, Mansell, Robinson, Ashton, Hackett, Hargreaves, Gray, Stirling (Bradbury 59), Sabin, Roget, Campbell (Davies 70).Subs not used: Tardiff, Basham, Willmott.

Rushden and Diamonds:

Young, Gulliver, Pearson, Savage, Dempster, Nicholls, McCafferty (Grainger 24), O’Grady, Taylor (Chillingworth 77), Kelly, Okuonghae.Subs not used: Woodman, Wark, Joseph.

Referee: Mr Mathieson

Goals: Sabin 17, Roget 22, Taylor 53, Grainger 58

Bookings: Okuonghae 12 (foul), Nicholls 54 (foul), Dempster 82 (foul)

Attendance: 4189 (455 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Marcus Kelly

Report by Rich Beeby.

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Peterborough United 2


Rushden and Diamonds slumped to a second consecutive League Two defeat as Peterborough bagged the derby day honours at Nene Park, in a game where the hosts finished with just nine men on the field.

Diamonds were well in control for much of the first half but shot themselves in the foot when both Peter Hawkins and Drewe Broughton received their marching orders after the break, making their task impossible after falling further behind.

Diamonds were without Rob Gier, Daniel Chillingworth, Graham Allen, David Bell and Dave Savage as the mini injury crisis continued, however they were bolstered by the return of Drewe Broughton on the bench.Greg Pearson continued in a right midfield position whilst Ashley Nicholls moved into the centre due to Bell’s absence, his void at right-back was filled by John Dempster.

Peterborough were forced to make two changes to the side that drew 1v1 against Stockport in the previous game.David Farrell missed out with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Dean Holden whilst striker James Quinn was on international duty allowing for Trevor Benjamin to start against one of his old clubs.

Diamonds made a bright start to the game and a neat move saw Neil McCafferty find Pearson who headed on for Chris O’Grady to find Jason Taylor who shot weakly straight at keeper Mark Tyler with the goal at his mercy, on 3 minutes.O’Grady then blasted over the bar from a Marcus Kelly free-kick.

Diamonds continued to look dangerous and Mark Arber’s back-header was capitalised on by Taylor only for his header to stray narrowly wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.

Kelly blasted narrowly wide after good work from O’Grady on 19 minutes, however a minute later Diamonds fell behind, all be it against the run of play.Paul Carden crossed from the right into a frantic Diamonds defence and Arber was able to head it on to Richard Logan who crashed home from six yards.

After the goal the game became scrappy, however Diamonds still had the better openings.O’Grady headed over the bar at the far post from Kelly’s right wing, left-footed corner on 37 minutes before Peter Hawkins made his way into the referee’s notebook along with Sagi Burton on 39 minutes.

In injury time both sides had opportunities to bag a goal, the Diamonds seeing Dempster launch a long free-kick into the box which Tyler had to punch away whilst Young had to be alert to get a hand to Carden’s shot after Benjamin had broke off for the Posh.

Diamonds made a change at the start of the second half as Drewe Broughton replaced Taylor.

Diamonds started brightly again and saw a good run by Kelly end in him squaring the ball across to McCafferty who shot wide of the keeper’s left post, on 49 minutes.A minute later Kelly was yellow carded for a foul.

Young had to save quickly to avoid the incoming danger of Benjamin and Adam Newton when Logan crossed from the left, on 52 minutes.

Drewe Broughton was booked for a foul on Carden on 53 minutes, and Okuonghae joined him in the book two minutes later after halting the run of Benjamin.

The flurry of bookings continued, and Diamonds were soon reduced to ten men as Hawkins rash challenge on Newton earned him a second booking and his marching orders, on 58 minutes.Diamonds boss Barry Hunter was then banished to the stands by the referee.

Against ten men Peterborough began to get on top for the first time in the game and could have doubled their lead when Newton outstripped Okuonghae for pace before squaring the ball across the box from the right, however Benjamin failed to connect as the ball strayed wide, with Young stranded, after 64 minutes.

Diamonds tried to respond and Nicholls struck just over the bar from 30 yards on 70 minutes before Daniel Grainger replaced Pearson and Burton, already on a final warning from the referee, was replaced by Chris Plummer for the Posh.

McCafferty wasted a free-kick from 10 yards outside the box and to the left, as he blasted straight at the keeper, on 73 minutes and four minutes later Diamonds task became almost impossible.

Peter Gain, a summer signing from Lincoln, was set away by Logan down the right wing where he found acres of space before tucking home at an angle at Young’s near post, to double the visitors lead.Gain was then booked for his celebration.

Kennedy saw his shot smartly saved by Young on 81 minutes before Diamonds were reduced to nine men when substitute Broughton fouled Arber and received a second yellow card, after 82 minutes.

With the game coming to a close Ryan Semple replaced Logan and Danny Crow came on for Newton as Posh made their final changes, after 86 minutes.

Late on Diamonds saw Gulliver head into the hands of the keeper from a Kelly corner, however Diamonds could do little to brighten a miserable second half.

The defeat will have disappointed boss Barry Hunter, however the two red cards and plethora of bookings will cause greater concern as suspensions threaten to add to the selection problems for his injury plagued side.Furthermore the loss of the two most experience heads in the squad will also be a disappointment as Diamonds prepare for their next test, away at Brian Talbot’s Oxford United.



Rushden and Diamonds:

Young, Gulliver, Hawkins, Pearson (Grainger 71) Dempster, Nicholls, McCafferty, O’Grady, Taylor (Broughton 46) Kelly, Okuonghae.Subs not used: Woodman, Wark, Tomlin.

Peterborough United:

Tyler, Holden, Kennedy, Carden, Burton (Plummer 71), Arber, Gain, Benjamin, Newton (Crow 86), Ledger, Logan (Semple 86).Subs not used: Harrison, Day.

Referee: Mr A Hall

Goals: Logan 20, Gain 77

Bookings: Hawkins 39, Burton 39 (dissent), Kelly 50 (foul), Broughton 53 (foul), Okuonghae 55, Gain 77.

Sending off: Hawkins (second bookable offence) 58, Broughton (second bookable offence) 82

Attendance: 4403 (1609 away)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Ashley Nicholls.

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