Rushden & Diamonds 1 Wycombe Wanderers 3

Diamonds must win their last two games to have any chance of avoiding relegation to the Conference after conceding three second half goals at Nene Park.

Marcus Kelly gave Diamonds a first-half lead before Roger Johnson and a brace from Tommy Mooney saw the visitors home.

Diamonds made two changes from the side that lost so disappointingly on Tuesday

at Shrewsbury. Rob Gier replaced Magnus Okuonghae in central defence while John Turner came in for the injured Dave Savage.

The visitors had lost their last six matches and needed points to maintain their play -off challenge. Steve Brown had taken temporary charge of the side with John Gorman on compassionate leave.

Wycombe made the early showing and both Ronnie Bull and Drewe Broughton had to concede corners before Gier went into referee Boyeson’s book as early as the second minute for scything down Kevin Betsy.

Good work from Darren Caskey gave Broughton the chance to turn and shoot from the edge of the area but Frank Talia saved well diving to his left. The Austra;ian goalkeeper then required treatment from his physio on 6 minutes after going down under a heavy aerial challenge from Wayne Hatswell.

The visitors looked lively and Ian Stonebridge missed a good chance 5 minutes later when he headed over Clint Easton’s cross.

There was already a good tempo to the game with play going end to end. On 15 minutes Diamonds thought that they may have gone in front when Caskey’s free – kick struck the top of the Wycombe wall and Talia saved underneath his own bar.

It was difficult to take your eyes off the game although Diamonds marking was causing concern. Danny Senda had plenty of time to send a wicked curler goalwards only for Scott Tynan to superbly turn the ball away.

Ashley Nicholls then set up Turner in the area but he failed to get enough power on the shot and Talia saved at the second attempt. Tony Stokes tried his luck from 20 yards but Talia did well.

Diamonds fans didn’t have long before celebrating a vital opening goal because on 22 minutes they took the lead. Simeon Jackson made good progress on the right but was stopped by an excellent tackle by Easton. However, the ball came back to Turner and his cross picked out Marcus Kelly who headed home his third goal of the season.

Back came Wycombe and Russell Martin found himself clear on the left. He cleverly tried to chip Tynan but the goalkeeper pulled off a super save bending backwards to tip the ball over the bar.

Stonebridge couldn’t believe his luck five minutes later when he was all alone but Tynan saved comfortably before both Betsy and Matt Bloomfield failed to find the target.

In a way it was a shame that the opening 45 minutes had to end when both teams had played such good football.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Wycombe Wanderers 0

Diamonds had the first chance of the second half when Caskey tried an audacious chip from the edge of the area but the ball went inches over the bar.

Back came the visitors and not for the first time Betsy caused problems when he sent a delightful pass through to Martin but the midfielder struck his shot woefully wide from six yards out.

Diamonds were beginning to find it hard to get going again in the second half as the visitors class began to show and it wasn’t really a surprise when Wycombe scored an equaliser on 61 minutes. The dangerous Betsy got to the byline and then picked out Tommy Mooney who tapped home at the second attempt.

Three minutes later Diamonds relegation woes worsened when Wycombe took the lead. Stonebridge found Roger Johnson on the edge of the area and the Wycombe skipper drilled an accurate shot past Tynan diving to his right.

It could have been 3 -1 moments later but Tynan did well to race out and save at the feet of the advancing Bloomfield. At the other end, a Caskey’s free – kick was superbly tipped over by Talia.

John Turner had to leave the field with a bump on his head so Diamonds introduced Greg Pearson. Lee Tomlin and Tyrone Berry were also sent into the fray but by that time it was too late and it was Wycombe who had the last say on 87 minutes when Gier was adjudged to have brought down Bloomfield in the area. The Diamonds skipper was shown the red card for a second bookable offence and Mooney converted the spot kick.

Diamonds must now win their last two games and hope that  other results go their way. The alternative is for a return to Conference football.

Teams

Rushden & Diamonds: – Scott Tynan, Rob Gier (Captain), Drewe Broughton Darren Caskey, Wayne Hatswell, Ashley Nicholls, Ronnie Bull (Tyrone Berry 77), Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson (Lee Tomlin 77), Tony Stokes, John Turner (Greg Pearson 69)

Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Barry Hunter.

Wycombe Wanderers: – Frank Talia, Danny Senda, Clint Easton (Stefan Oakes 70), Roger Johnson (Captain), Kevin Betsy, Matt Bloomfield, Ian Stonebridge, Russell Martin (Jermaine Easter 88), Will Antwi, Tommy Mooney, Robert Lee (Joe Burnell 78)

Subs Not Used: Steve Williams, Mike Williamson

Booked:  Gier 2 (Foul), Hatswell 36 (Handball), Lee 38 (Foul), Caskey 44 (Foul), Bull 63 (Foul), Stokes 90 (Foul)

Sent off:  Gier 87 (Second bookable)

Referee: C Boyeson.

Attendance:  3,396 (Away 620)

Diamonds Man of the Match – John Turner

Report by Chris Barritt

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