Stockport County 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2

A last gasp equalizer from substitute Liam Dickinson deprived Diamonds of three vital points that they so richly deserved.

After a goalless first half, new signing Adam Griffin gave The Hatters the lead before Phil Gulliver headed Diamonds back on level terms. Substitute Simeon Jackson headed Rushden in front before Dickinson struck four minutes into injury time.

Diamonds were looking to stop a run of six consecutive defeats and they handed Wayne Hatswell his debut in central defence following his midweek transfer from Kidderminster Harriers. The other new signing Scott Tynan was on the bench while Marcus Kelly was recalled on the left side of midfield and Rob Gier resumed at right back after serving a one match suspension.

Bottom placed Stockport were unchanged and they were looking for their first home win since October when they beat Northampton 4 – 2.

Lee Tomlin had the first real chance of the game when he almost capitalized on Ashley Williams mistake but Michael Raynes got in an excellent block

Hatswell denied Matt Hamshaw’s drive before Gier cleared Raynes header off the line as the home side took the game to their opponents. Danny Boshell saw a volley go off target before the home side came closest to taking the lead. Harpal Singh’s corner was met by Williams but Ronnie Bull was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

Dan Crane produced a fine stop to deny Boshell’s curling free-kick while at the other end James Spencer pulled off a super save to thwart Drewe Broughton’s shot. Williams then had to clear off the line from Kelly before Jermaine Easter raced clear of the Diamonds defence before blazing over.

Half-time: Stockport County 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The visitors made a double substitution at the interval with new signing Griffin and Tes Bramble replacing the ineffective Singh and Boshell. Manager Jim Gannon’s gamble paid immediate dividends when they took the lead on 47 minutes as Griffin rose well to nod home Mark Robinson’s accurate left wing cross.

But the lead lasted barely two minutes. County failed to clear a corner and after a scramble in the penalty area Gulliver glanced home a header at the far post for the equalizer.

Tomlin almost put Diamonds in front when Spencer conjured up a splendid save but Diamonds did go in front on 68 minutes and it is a goal that teenager Jackson will remember for a very long time. Just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute for Tomlin, Jackson scored his first ever senior goal when he found himself in the right place to stoop and head home Broughton’s excellent cross.

Kelly and Hatswell both had shots cleared off the line as Diamonds went in search of a killer third goal while Griffin missed a golden chance for the home side when he fired over the bar.

With time running out, Diamonds fans couldn’t believe it when the fourth official indicated a minimum of five minutes added time and with just seconds remaining, Dickinson found the bottom corner of the net with a deflected shot from the edge of the area to snatch an undeserved point.

This was an encouraging performance from Diamonds and one that should bode well for the future, however, the burning question that Diamonds fans need answering is where did the five minutes added time come from?


Stockport County: Spencer, Clare, Raynes, A Williams, Robinson, Briggs (Dickinson 75), Allen, Boshell (Bramble 46), Singh (Griffin 46), Hamshaw, Easter

Subs Not Used: Howarth, Wolski

Rushden & Diamonds: Dan Crane, Phil Gulliver, Rob Gier, Dave Savage, Drewe Broughton, Wayne Hatswell, Ronnie Bull, Marcus Kelly, Lee Tomlin (Simeon Jackson 61), Tony Stokes (Gary Mills 65), Tyrone Berry

Subs Not Used: Scott Tynan, Greg Pearson, Peter Castle

Booked: Boshell 34 (Unsporting Behaviour), Stokes 50 (Dissent), Tomlin 52 (Unsporting Behaviour), Berry 81 (Unsporting Behaviour)

Referee: Mr J Robinson

Attendance: 4,574

Diamonds MOM: Wayne Hatswell – impressive no nonsense debut.


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