Wrexham 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Two opportunist goals from debutant Matt Derbyshire gave play – off hopefuls Wrexham a relatively comfortable victory over Diamonds at a rain swept Racecourse Ground.

The on – loan striker from Blackburn Rovers struck in the 22nd and 35th minutes to leave Rushden bottom of the league once again as other results failed to go their way.

Manager Barry Hunter retained the same sixteen that carved out a vital home victory against Notts County at the weekend while Wrexham, fresh from their victory over Wycombe ten days earlier, included two teenagers up front.

Before the game started, a minutes silence was held in memory of former player Stuart Mason.

The home side created the first chance of the game when defender Dennis Lawrence headed wide from Matt Crowell’s free – kick before Drewe Broughton, who was already making his presence known, caused confusion in the peanlty area after he’d won a corner.

Derbyshire was looking extremely lively but he was wide of the mark following good approach play from Crowell. However, on 15 minutes, Diamonds missed a fine opportunity to take the lead. Petr Mikolanda latched onto Tony Stokes defence splitting pass but with just the ‘keeper to beat, the Czech striker lacked conviction with his shot and failed to trouble Mike Ingham.

Three minutes later, Derbyshire got free at the other end but from a narrower angle on the right he forced Tynan to make his only real save of the night. The Blackburn loanee was seemingly in the thick of everything and after Andy Holt had headed Danny Williams free – kick back across goal, Derbyshire got a header in which Tynan dealt with comfortably.

The visitors were not afraid to get at the Red Dragons and Marcus Kelly’s quick break on 21 minutes allowed Berry the chance to shoot. Ingham could only parry the shot but Stokes follow – up was deflected away.

Moments later there were loud appeals for a penalty when Danny Williams appeared to handle the ball but referee Mason was unmoved.

That decision proved costly as the home side took the lead a minute later. Crowell’s free – kick was flicked on by Dennis Lawrence leaving the unmarked Derbyshire to squeeze the ball past Tynan.

Worse was to follow on 35 minutes. Lawrence was allowed to flick on a throw – in on the right and when Derbyshire skipped past Bull’s lunge he then  produced a superb finish by firing past Tynan and into the top left hand corner of the net.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Diamonds but they never gave up. Drewe Broughton’s 20 yard shot lacked power with Berry unmarked to his right while Derbyshire went in search of his hattrick but couldn’t keep his header down following another Crowell set piece.

Half – time      Wrexham 2 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Diamonds threw on Lee Tomlin at the start of the second half and he was promptly book for petulance with 30 seconds of taking the field. The visitors were enjoying much more of the possession now but they failed to create any clear cut chances although Tomlin did see two headers drift wide.

Hunter made another tactical change sending on Dave Savage for Stokes on 54 minutes.

Darren Caskey was coming more into his own as the playmaker and from one of his passes, Broughton set up Berry who looked like he was brought down by Danny Williams. Referee Mason said no again although there were only limited appeals from the Diamonds players.

On 66 minutes, Rob Gier’s cross was headed goalward by Broughton but Ingham did well to save at the foot of the post while four minutes later makeshift striker Phil Gulliver’s header lacked pace as Diamonds started to up the tempo.

For all their possession and territorial advantage, the visitors just could not create that one opportunity that might open the game up for them. a goalmouth scramble in the 72nd minute summed their night up when both Tomlin and Savage produced miskicks in front of goal and failed to make the target.

Broughton saw a bullet header from Caskey’s corner  go inches over the bar as Diamonds played the last 15 minutes with three men at the back leaving Gulliver to lead a three prong attack. Rushden’s last chance four minutes from time saw Gulliver volley high over the bar as the rain continued to come down.

This is the kind of performance that must totally frustrate Barry Hunter. Guilty of two defensive lapses, Diamonds then compound basic errors by failing to turn second half territorial advantage to their favour. Broughton was again a real handful up front but he failed to find any spark from either Mikolanda or Tomlin. With results not going their way, it is now vital that Diamonds pick up something from their long trip to Carlisle on Saturday.

Teams

Wrexham: – Mike Ingham, Jim Whitley, Dennis Lawrence, Andy Holt, Danny Williams, Matt Derbyshire, Matt Crowell (Levi Machin 89), Mark Jones, Shaun Pejic, Simon Spender, Sam Williams.

Subs Not Used: Michael Jones, Marc Williams, Matty Done, Mike Williams

Diamons: Scott Tynan, Phil Gulliver, Rob Gier, Drewe Broughton, Petr Mikolanda (Lee Tomlin 46), Darren Caskey, Wayne Hatswell, Ronnie Bull, Marcus Kelly, Tony Stokes (Dave Savage 54), Tyrone Berry

Subs Not Used: Gary Mills, Ashley Nicholls, Danny Crane

Bookings: Bull 39 (Foul), Tomlin 46 (Unsporting Behaviour), Gulliver 84 (Foul)

Attendance: 3,195 (95 Away)

Referee: Mr L Mason

Diamonds MOM: Drewe Broughton – another old fashioned striker performance

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