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.

TEAMS:

Macclesfield:

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.

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