Rushden & Diamonds 1 Boston United 0



A dramatic late winner from Phil Gulliver gave Diamonds three vital points at Nene Park.


Gulliver sent the home fans wild when he stole in just seconds from the end to head home David Bell’s cross. It was just reward for the big central defender who’d gone close on more than one occasion.


Diamonds manager Barry Hunter made 2 changes from the side that earned a replay at Conference side Halifax last weekend. New loan signing John Ruddy replaced Jamie Young in goal while there was a recall for Chris O’Grady in attack. He replaced Greg Pearson.


Boston were looking to extend an unbeaten run of 12 games going back to their defeat against Northampton Town at the end of August. They made just one change from the side that also earned a cup replay last week at Swindon Town. On-loan midfielder Ian Ross came back into midfield in place of Chris Holland.


After a well observed period of silence for Remembrance Day, Boston kicked off towards the Peter De Banke Terrace on a cold but still night.


The first chance of the evening came on 5 minutes when Bell hit a beauty from 30 yards out but although Nathan Abbey saw it late, he did well to turn the ball round the post. From the resultant corner, Gulliver rose well but couldn’t keep his header down.


A minute later Julian Joachim found Brad Maylett on the right but he took his time to get the ball on his favoured right foot and Ruddy made a comfortable save.


There was very little goalmouth action during the next 15 minutes although Andy Burgess’ long ball almost set up O’Grady but, unfortunately, he couldn’t control the pass.


On 27 minutes, a great turn and run by Lawrie Dudfield ended with a cross to the far post where Dave Savage had to be alert to clear the danger. Ian Ross then saw a long-range shot go over the bar, A clever pass from Joachim found Dudfield on the right but having skipped round Gulliver he wasted the opportunity by shooting into the side netting.


Just after the half-hour O’Grady turned a defender and drilled a shot straight at Abbey while five minutes later Bell cut in from the right before unleashing a left foot shot which stung Abbey’s hands.


Rob Gier was cautioned for bringing down Dudfield three minutes from the interval but the free-kick on the edge of the area came to nothing.


Half – Time     Rushden & Diamonds    0 – 0 Boston United


Neil McCafferty wasted a good opportunity to test Abbey six minutes into the second half but he screwed his shot wide then Savage was inches away from getting on the end of a Marcus Kelly flick as the Diamonds skipper ghosted into the attack.


After good work from Bell, Gulliver saw a weak header comfortably saved by Abbey while O’Grady saw a header go wide following Burgess’ chipped cross.


Both sides were playing neat football without that vital cutting edge and decent approach work often came to nothing. There was little goalmouth action for the three thousand or so fans to get too excited about.


Simon Rusk enjoyed a rare shot at goal on 76 minutes which was deflected away for a corner which resulted in Gier somehow blocking Jason Lee’s downward header on the line. At the other end Gulliver stayed up in attack following a corner but couldn’t control a header from Armstrong’s cross.


The visitors almost snatched the points a minute from time when Ruddy needed two attempts to deny Joachim’s pile – driver while there were loud appeals at the other end when Burgess’ shot appeared to strike the hand of Ben Futcher but referee Messias waived play on much to the disgust of the Diamonds players.


However that didn’t seem to matter when, with three minutes added time nearing its end, Diamonds won a corner on the left and when Bell’s flag kick was headed back to him, he superbly picked out the unmarked Gulliver who headed powerfully home from close range.


It was a crucial goal and three vital points for the home side as they prepare for the forthcoming FA Cup Replay against Halifax on Tuesday night.




Rushden & Diamonds: – John Ruddy, Phil Gulliver, Rob Gier, Dave Savage (c), David Bell, Andy Burgess, John Dempster, Neil McCafferty, Chris O’Grady, Alun Armstrong, Marcus Kelly.


Subs: Jamie Young, Peter Hawkins, Gary Mills, Greg Pearson, Lee Tomlin


Boston United: Nathan Abbey, Lee Canoville, Ben Futcher, Alan White, Brad Maylett (Danny Thomas 84), Simon Rusk, Mark Greaves, Stewart Talbot, Julian Joachim, Ian Ross, Lawrie Dudfield (Jason Lee 67).


Subs Not Used: Austin McCann, Paul Ellender, Chris Holland


Booked: Gier 42 (Foul), Burgess 71 (Foul), Maylett 72 (foul), Greaves 83 (Foul), Gulliver 90 (over celebrating)


Referee: Mr M Messias


Attendance: 3,205 (Away 712)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Phil Gulliver


By Chris Barritt 


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