Peterborough United 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Diamonds lost for the fifth time in a row but showed some real determination on the way at London Road.

Dean Holden headed The Posh in front while James Quinn converted a penalty.

After an eventful week at Nene Park, Diamonds were looking to halt a run of four consecutive defeats. Barry Hunter made five changes from the team that went down 3 – 2 at home against Bristol Rovers on Monday.

The manager’s cause wasn’t helped by the news that Andy Burgess had inexplicably refused to take his place in the Diamonds line-up.

Gary Mills was out with a tweaked knee while Alun Armstrong and Drewe Broughton were both suspended. Four players made their full debuts. Goalkeeper Danny Crane, signed from Burton Albion, was preferred to Jamie Young while highly rated midfielder Tony Stokes joined on loan from West Ham United. Lee Tomlin and Ricardo Joseph made their full league debuts.while there was a welcome return for central defender Graham Allen following his achilles tendon injury. John Turner, signed on-loan from Cambridge United, was amongst the substitutes.

Diamonds kicked off using a 3 – 5 – 2 formation on a pitch that had cut up badly in the warm up.

The visitors had a chance to take an early lead but Stokes’ wayward snapshot was ruled offside. Chris Plummer headed over following a free-kick before Peterborough missed a glorious opportunity on six minutes.

Peter Gain’s clever pass put Calum Willock clear and while Crane saved the first shot, the ball rebounded to the Posh striker who then mishit his follow up wide of an empty net.

However, the home side took a 17th minute lead. Jamie Day skipped round Stokes on the left before picking out Dean Holden at the far post and his header gave Crane no chance.

Stokes, celebrating his 19th birthday, made good ground in the 19th minute before forcing Mark Tyler into a diving save.

Three minutes later Holden tried his luck from 20 yards and Phil Gulliver had to hack the ball away from danger after Crane could only parry the ball away.

There was little goalmouth action to mention in the remaining minutes of the half apart from a 38th minute chance which fell to diamonds. Stokes fed Tomlin just outside the area and when the nippy striker was dispossessed the ball ran to Stokes who was foiled by Tyler’s legs.

Half – Time   Peterborough United       1 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Two minutes after the interval Jamie Day shot narrowly wide following a coirner while moments later Holden hit the top of the crossbar with a wicked shot from 25 yards.

On 56 minutes, Diamonds sent on new signing Turner in place of Greg Pearson  while 8 minutes later the visitors reverted to 4 – 4 – 2 when Daniel Grainger replaced Neil Mccafferty.

Nine minutes later Crane had to be alert to catch James Quinn’s curler from 20 yards

James Quin flashed a header wide after good work from Willock and Adam Newton but the Northern Ireland international did get on the score sheet on 75 minutes. Willock broke clear of the Diamonds defence and when he went down from the merest of touches from Crane referee Hegley awarded the penalty. Quinn stepped up and while Crane guessed the right way, the ball squeezed under Crane’s body and crawled over the line.

On 77 minutes Diamonds should have been awarded a penalty when Sean St Leger appeared to bring down Tomlin but despite furious protests from the Diamonds players referee Hegley only awarded a corner.

From the resultant corner Allen was bundled over in the area but again the referee didn’t see anything amiss.

Four minutes from time Turner appeared to be barged over following a corner and rather worryingly he lay prone for a time before he was stretchered off the field. In injury time, Stokes tried his luck with a long range free-kick but Tyler got down superbly and gathered the shot.

So another disappointing result for Diamonds but they showed real spirit and

Hopefully it won’t be too long before they climb the table.

Teams:

Peterborough United – Mark Tyler, Dean Holden (Capt), Paul Carden, Mark Arber, Peter Gain, Calum Willock, Sean St. Ledger (Sagi Burton 82), Chris Plummer, James Quinn, Ryan Semple (Adam Newton 36), Jamie Day (David Farrell 51)

Subs Not Used – Trevor Benjamin, Shane Huke

Rushden & Diamonds: – Danny Crane, Phil Gulliver, Graham Allen, Rob Gier, Dave Savage (Captain), Greg Pearson (John Turner 56), Ashley Nicholls, Neil McCafferty (Daniel Grainger 640 Ricardo Joseph, Lee Tomlin (Magnus Okuonghae 84), Tony Stokes

Subs Not Used: Ashlee Jones, John Dempster

Booked:

Sent off:

Referee:  Mr G Hegley

Attendance: 4,613 (Away 662)

Diamonds Men of the Match: Tony Stokes

By Chris Barritt

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