Rushden & Diamonds 1 Rochdale 1



Diamonds missed the chance to move out of the bottom two when they conceded yet another last gasp goal against fellow relegation strugglers Rochdale.


Drewe Broughton put Diamonds ahead early in the second half before Chris Dagnall’s sickener 30 seconds from the end of three minutes added time.


Diamonds welcomed back Phil Gulliver and Wayne Hatswell to their central defence. Gulliver returned after recovering from a hamstring injury while Hatswell had completed a two match suspension. Magnus Okuonghae and Rob Gier were the unlucky players and there was more disappointment for the latter as he failed to make the bench. Tyrone Berry was preferred to club captain Dave Savage.


Rochdale were looking to improve a record of just two wins in 20 league games although they earned a good point at Northampton last weekend.


Both teams wore black armbands in rememberance of the Hillsborough disaster which happened 17 years ago this weekend.


Diamonds missed a great opportunity to take an early lead on two minutes. The ball was played out to Tony Stokes on the right and when the cross came in Simeon Jackson lost his marker but missed the target with a free header.


After a shaky first ten minutes, the visitors started to probe from midfield seemingly looking for leading scorer Ricky Lambert at every turn. However the striker was being well marshalled and indeed it was Diamonds who almost created another chance when Jackson turned well in the box but ‘keeper Matt Gilks saw the danger early.  


On 16 minutes Drewe Broughton received what seemed to be a final warning from referee Fletcher for persistent fouling. However, Broughton appeared to have been very hard done by an over fussy official who was starting to spoil an important match. 


Diamonds had a goal correctly ruled out 4 minutes later. Stokes tried his luck from 25 yards and the ball cannoned off the right hand upright into the path of Broughton who was offside when he stooped to head home.


Darren Caskey became the first man into referee Fletcher’s notebook minutes for a clumsy foul while Hatswell marked his return from suspension with a booking moments later.


Diamonds suffered another setback on 25 minutes when captain Gulliver had to leave the field with what looked like a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury. He was replaced by Okuonghae who slotted in alongside Hatswell.


Rochdale had their first attempt on target when Gary Jones fired over before Broughton became the third Diamonds player to see yellow when he was cautioned for persistent fouling.


The game was becoming increasingly scrappy no thanks to some petty refereeing. However, six minutes from the interval Rochdale should have taken the lead. A mistake from Ronnie Bull allowed Lambert to charge down his attempted clearance but with just Scott Tynan to beat, the Rushden ‘keeper pulled off a superb diving save to keep the scores level at half – time.


Half – time                Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 0 Rochdale


If the first – half was lacking in goalmouth action there was no shortage of action in the opening stages of second period. Within two minutes of the restart Chris Dagnall made excellent progress along the byline before setting up Lambert with a simple chance 12 yards out. However, as the striker shaped to shoot home Ashley Nicholls produced a miraculous block while on the floor to save a certain goal.


Back came Diamonds and Jackson ran onto to Broughton’s flick but couldn’t keep his shot down while two minutes later the youngster missed an even better chance when Marcus Kelly combined well with Broughton to give Jackson another gilt edged opportunity which went begging.


However, on 54 minutes Diamonds took the lead. Bull’s free – kick was headed on by Broughton and Gilks could only parry Jackson’s acrobatic shot into the path of Broughton who volleyed home his tenth goal of the season.


Four minutes later, Broughton missed another good chance when he chose to shoot rather than pass to the unmarked Jackson.


Midway through the half, Bull was yellow carded for a foul on Lambert who picked himself up and bent the free – kick round the wall only for Tynan to save at the second attempt. Then at the other end Jackson was put through, this time by substitute John Turner, but again he blazed over.


Hatswell headed over from Caskey’s corner before referee Fletcher waved away loud appeals for a penalty when Dagnall tangled with Bull in the box.


But with 30 seconds remaining of three minutes added time, confusion between Nicholls and Okuonghae let in Dagnall who had all the time and space to coolly beat Tynan and send the away fans wild.


The despair on the Diamonds fans faces was there for all to see but whether the loss of two points would be a factor at the end of the season, we will just have to wait to see!



Rushden & Diamonds: – Scott Tynan, Phil Gulliver (Captain) (Magnus Okuonghae 25), Drewe Broughton (John Turner 61), Darren Caskey, Wayne Hatswell, Ashley Nicholls, Ronnie Bull, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Tony Stokes, Tyrone Berry (Dave Savage 71).


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Lee Tomlin,


Rochdale: – Matt Gilks, Simon Ramsden, Alan Goodall, Gareth Griffiths, Mark Jackson, Chris Dagnall, Gary Jones (Captain), Scott Warner(John Doolan 62), Ernie Cooksey (Lee Cartwright 84)  Ben Kitchen (Lyseden Christie 58), Ricky Lambert


Subs Not Used: John Boardman, Tony Gallimore


Booked:  Darren Caskey 22 (Foul), Wayne Hatswell 24 (Foul), Drewe Broughton 31 (Persistent Fouling), Ronnie Bull 67 (Foul)


Sent off: 


Referee: M Fletcher – very disappointing performance from an experienced official.


Attendance:  3,135 (Away 276)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Ashley Nicholls – one stunning goal saving tackle and a fantastic display at right – back


Report by Chris Barritt 


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