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.


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