Rushden & Diamonds 1 Torquay United 0



Drewe Broughton’s first half header gave Diamonds a crucial victory against fellow strugglers Torquay United.


In a game that Diamonds simply could not lose, Barry Hunter made two changes from the side that lost 3 – 1 at Cheltenham Town last weekend. Wayne Hatswell was serving the first of a two game ban so Rob Gier switched from right back to partner Magnus Okuonghae. Ashley Nicholls reverted from midfield to take Gier’s place while Dan Crane was preferred to Scott Tynan in goal. Tony Stokes came in to midfield to partner Darren Caskey.


Torquay had won their previous two games including a surprise away win at high flying Wycombe so not surprisingly, they named an unchanged team.


The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges although Steve Woods produced an excellent clearance to deny Simeon Jackson after a good flick on by Drewe Broughton.


The game started at a frantic pace although there was no real pattern to the play. On 17 minutes, confusion between Okuonghae and Crane almost let in Tony Bedeau but the Diamonds ‘keeper saved after some ball juggling.


There was a worry for Diamonds on 25 minutes when Nicholls went down clutching his head after a challenge from Kevin Hill but the defender resumed after treatment. However, five minutes later Diamonds did have to make a change when Crane had to leave the field with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Tynan.


In a rare attacking moment, Broughton turned well before forcing Andy Marriott into a diving save. A few minutes later Broughton tried his luck again from 30 yards and the ball dipped just over the bar.


There really wasn’t anything to choose between the two sides but two minutes from the interval Diamonds broke the deadlock when they scored a crucial opening goal with a well worked set piece. Darren Caskey took the corner on the right and Broughton stooped to head in a fine goal from 12 yards. 


Half – time Rushden & Diamonds     1 – 0    Torquay United


Diamonds enjoyed the first chance of the second period when Jackson picked up a pass and ran at the Torquay defence but his shot ended up in the crowd. Then Broughton was fouled 25 yards out but Caskey couldn’t keep his shot down.


Jackson’s fine dribble along the byline almost proved dividends while moments later, the same player did well to make space for himself but his shot went wide.


Despite the wind being against them, Diamonds were looking more like their old attacking force. Stokes won a free-kick 20 yards out but after waiting for an age while Diamonds inserted a three man wall in front of Andy Marriott, Caskey’s effort came to nothing.


On 56 minutes, Torquay missed a glorious opportunity to get back on level terms when Bedeau beat Gier for pace but with just Tynan to beat his attempted lob was too weak.


The introduction of substitute Jo Kuffour instilled some urgency into the visitors defence and he fired over after a fine jinxy run. However, on 71 minutes, Torquay came very close to getting an equaliser as the wind started playing havoc with the game. Steven Reed’s free-kick was headed back across goal by James Sharp but the wind dragged the ball onto the crossbar with Tynan beaten.


Eight minutes later, Stokes’ intelligent ball found Jackson in space but the youngster failed to find the target while Broughton could have made the game safe seconds later but he blazed over when in the clear.


Barry Hunter entered the fray on 82 minutes and he took his place in a revised back five with Berry and Jackson playing up front. The Diamonds manager led by example and won some crucial headers as the visitors threw the kitchen sink at Rushden in the closing stages.


Substitute Craig Taylor came closest to securing an equalizer with his first touch when he was inches away from hitting the target following Martin Phillips’ corner but Diamonds held out for a vital victory.


Special mention should go to referee Howard Webb who showed how a match should be refereed!



Rushden & Diamonds: – Dan Crane (Scott Tynan 30), Rob Gier (Captain), Drewe Broughton (Barry Hunter 82), Darren Caskey ,Ashley Nicholls, Ronnie Bull, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Magnus Okuonghae, Tony Stokes, John Turner (Tyrone Berry 70)


Subs Not Used: Dave Savage, Lee Tomlin,


Torquay United: – Andy Marriott, Lee Andrews, Steven Reed, James Sharp (Captain), (Craig taylorSteve Woods, Darren Garner (Matthew Hewlett 75), Danny Hollands, Martin Phillips, Tony Bedeau, Paul Robinson (Jo Kuffour 57), Kevin Hill


Subs Not Used: Craig Taylor, Matthew Hockley, Matthew Villis


Booked:  Simeon Jackson (Not retreating ten yards) 90


Sent off: 


Referee: H Webb


Attendance:  3,795 (Away 582)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Ronnie Bull


Report by Chris Barritt 


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