Rushden & Diamonds 0 Carlisle United 4



Diamonds will wonder how they managed to lose a game so heavily after dominating for long periods.


However, mistakes cost Diamonds dear as John Ruddy gifted Derek Holmes an 18th minute opener while Karl Hawley scored his 15th goal of the season twelve minutes later thanks to a deflection.  Indecision allowed Chris Lumsdon a third on 64 minutes before Michael Bridges wrapped things up in the dying seconds.


Diamonds were looking to put behind them the disappointment of Saturday’s F A Cup defeat against Leyton Orient. John Ruddy was recalled in goal in place of Jamie Young while Chris O’Grady resumed in attack at the expense of Drewe Broughton. Marcus Kelly was ruled out with a foot injury so Gary Mills came into midfield.


Carlisle made three changes from the side that lost at home against Wycombe 10 days ago with Brendan McGill, Paul Arnison and Bridges were all recalled to the side


On a cold night, Diamonds first attack came on 7 minutes when Andy Burgess found O’Grady in space on the left and the striker easily beat Arnison but his cross was cleared away for a corner. From the resultant flag kick David Bell picked out Phil Gulliver at the far post but the header lacked power and went for a goal kick.


Neil McCafferty tried his luck from 30 yards but Kieren Westwood got down well before Bell almost found a way through with a 15th minute curler following a switch to the left flank. Moments later Burgess found Bell in space in the box but the midfielder blazed over the bar.


Completely against the run of play, Carlisle took the lead on 18 minutes. Arnison’s cross from the right looked to be covered by Ruddy but the on-loan goalkeeper inexplicably dropped the ball and Holmes tapped the ball into the empty net.


Straight from the kick-off Diamonds almost equalised. Bell’s superb shot from distance was heading for the top left hand corner until Westwood somehow read the flight and produced a fantastic save to turn the ball round the post.


Nine minutes later Bell’s corner found its way to Alun Armstrong at the far post but his well directed header was cleared off the line by Arnison.


Diamonds went further behind on the half hour and again the goal came out of the blue. Carlisle were down to ten men with Peter Murphy off the pitch receiving treatment. Karl Hawley mishit Chris Lumsdon’s free kick from the left and the ball deflected off John Dempster before looping over Ruddy and into the net.


It could have been even worse four minutes later when Bridges and Holmes combined to set up birthday boy Hawley but his clever flick went narrowly wide.


Half – Time Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 2 Carlisle United


The start of the second half produced little in the way of goalmouth action although the home side continued to play some good football. Danny Livesey made an important tackle to deny the on rushing Armstrong on 55 minutes while seven minutes later O’Grady hit another long range effort narrowly wide.


The visitors put the game beyond doubt on 64 minutes with a strange goal. Hawley challenged Ruddy for a long clearance and when the ball bounced away Rushden’s defence stood still allowing Lumsdon to move in and head the ball into a gaping net.


On 70 minutes Diamonds had penalty appeals waived away after Phil Gulliver headed Bell’s corner into the torso of Chris Billy.


Substitute Broughton was wide with a right foot shot while O’Grady failed to trouble the ‘keeper with a rising drive. Lee Tomlin almost found a way through late on but his left foot drive was turned away for a corner.


But in the dying moments Carlisle scored a fourth goal when Hawley held the ball up well on the edge of the area and laid a pass to Bridges who marked his first start for the visitors by coolly slipping the ball past Ruddy.


So a scoreline that most Diamonds will find hard to swallow and one that leaves manager Barry Hunter will plenty to think about before the visit of Mansfield on Saturday.





Rushden & Diamonds: – John Ruddy, Phil Gulliver, Peter Hawkins Gary Mills, Dave Savage (c), David Bell, Andy Burgess, John Dempster, Neil McCafferty (Drewe Broughton 62), Chris O’Grady, Alun Armstrong (Lee Tomlin 73)


Subs Not Used: Jamie Young, Greg Pearson, Magnus Okuonghae,


Carlisle United: – Kieren Westwood, Peter Murphy, Chris Billy, Danny Livesey, Kevin Gray (c), Brendan McGill, Chris Lumsdon (Adam Murray 73), Derek Holmes (Zigor Aranalde 73), Karl Hawley, Paul Arnison, Michael Bridges.


Subs Not Used:  Anthony Williams, Simon Hackney, Raphael Nade


Booked: Livesey 59 (Foul), Tomlin 90 (Foul)


Sent off:


Referee: Mr M Russell


Attendance: 2,216 (Away 329)


Diamonds Man of the Match:  Gary Mills


By Chris Barritt 


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