Rushden & Diamonds 0 York City 1

Another costly mistake from ‘keeper Nicky Eyre gift wrapped three points to the visitors at Nene Park.


Diamonds made two changes from the side that beat Southport 2 – 1 on Saturday. Lee Tomlin and Tyrone Berry were preferred to Daniel Chillingworth and Marcus Kelly while youth team defender Ugo Udoji made his first appearance on the bench.


York City had made a fine unbeaten start to the season and they kept the same team that beat Burton Albion on Friday.


The visitors should have taken the lead with their first attack but James Dudgeon miskicked after finding himself in space 18 yards out. At the other end, a great turn from Tomlin gave the youngster time and space but the shot lacked any real pace.


York drove forward again and on six minutes Nathan Peat’s fine cross from the left picked out Dudgeon who glanced a header wide. A minute later Berry produced a brilliant run down the right but Chris Hope’s header failed to trouble the York goal.


It was already end to end stuff and York captain Emmanuel Panther beat two Diamonds defenders before the ball bounced kindly into the path of Clayton Donaldson but the striker’s response was too slow and Eyre saved easily.


Tomlin blazed over before the teenager was rightly yellow carded on 21 minutes for a dangerous looking tackle on Dudgeon. Nathan Peat then saw his long range shot fall nicely to the unmarked Craig Farrell but he shot weakly at the goalkeeper from 12 yards out.


On the half hour, Simeon Jackson got a cross in from the left but Jon Ashton, leaning back, headed wide of the right hand upright. Berry, enjoying his first start of the season, was terrorising Peat down the right. The visiting left back just couldn’t handle the tricky winger who produced another telling cross but Ashton misread the height and Evans saved comfortably.


On the stroke of half-time Berry somehow got past three defenders in one wonderful move and crossed superbly to Jackson but he couldn’t control his shot from close range.


Half-time Rushden & Diamonds    0 – 0 York City


The second half was only three minutes old when disaster struck the Diamonds defence. A long ball appeared to be shepherded back to Eyre by Wayne Hatswell but unfortunately the Diamonds goalkeeper delayed his clearance too long and then could only look in horror as the ball rebounded off Donaldson and meandered into his own net. Clearly the lessons of Crawley had failed to be learnt!


That was only York’s second ‘shot’ on target but it seemed to inspire them. On 56 minutes Mark Convery’s cross caused danger in the home defence but Hatswell cleared under the nose of Farrell while at the other end Glenn Wilson’s long throw was flicked on by Michael Rankine but Tomlin flashed his close range shot over the bar.


On 69 minutes York should have sealed the points when Donaldson got free on the left and picked out the totally unmarked Farrell on the right. However, Farrell made a complete hash of the opportunity and could only walk the ball over the by-line.


Two minutes later Diamonds missed a glorious chance themselves to equalise when Jackson ran clear of the visiting defence but his shot cannoned off Evans’ shoulder and away for a corner.


Referee Ward was finding it hard to keep control of an increasingly feisty game and his failure to deal effectively with an incident between Donaldson and Wilson was to prove a catalyst as the situation escalated.


On the football front Convery struck a free-kick over the wall into the arms of Evans while Neal Bishop’s tame long range shot came to nothing.


Diamonds players were becoming increasingly frustrated with some of referee Ward’s decisions as the game became more and more heated and out of control. Farcical scenes ensued after a free-kick was awarded four minutes from time. A full two minutes was taken up trying to get the wall back into position before Watson drove the ball into the ‘keepers chest. In the middle of all that Steve Bowey was rightly booked for encroachment.


Still Diamonds wouldn’t give up and Jackson missed a sitter after substitute Chillingworth set him up nicely before Dave Savage blazed over after substitute Leo Fortune -West helped a cross on.


In injury time Steve Bowey was sent off for violent conduct following an off the ball incident but Diamonds were more livid because Jackson was clear when the refereee’s whistle blew. It was one of those days!







Rushden & Diamonds: -  Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c) Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine (Leo Fortune – West 67), Simeon Jackson, Lee Tomlin (Daniel Chillingworth 68), Tyrone Berry


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Ugo  Udoji.


York City – Tom Evans, Darren Craddock, Nathan Peat, Neal Bishop, David McGurk, James Dudgeon, Mark Convery, Emmanuel Panther (c), Clayton Donaldson, Craig Farrell (Ross Greenwood 75), Steve Bowey.


Subs Not Used: Arran Reid, Anthony Lloyd, Danny Parslow, Lewis McMahon


Booked: Tomlin 12 (Foul), Nathan Peat 65 (Persistent Fouling), David McGurk 83 (Dissent), Steve Bowey 85 (Encroachment),


Sent off:  Steve Bowey 90 (Violent Conduct)


Referee: Mr G Ward


Attendance: 2,416 (416 Away fans)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Tyrone Berry – An all action performance on his first start of the season.



By Chris Barritt 


Southport 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Diamonds got the Bank Holiday weekend off to a flying start with a deserved 2-1 win at a windy Haig Avenue this afternoon. Luckily for the away supporters in the uncovered terrace, the rain which had fallen during the morning stayed away.


Southport had gone full-time during the summer months and new manager Paul Cook brought in several new signings although with only one goal and two points from three games so far this season, the team had yet to make an impact. Centre half Paul Martin was missing from the side which lost to Stafford Rangers last weekend (serving a one match suspension) while on-loan keeper Ryan Robinson was recalled by Morecambe leaving Paul Harrison to keep his place in goal. Stephen Rowlands had recovered from injury and was named amongst the substitutes.


Diamonds boss Paul Hart kept the same side which beat Forest Green Rovers last Saturday with striker Simeon Jackson being preferred to Leo Fortune West again.


Diamonds kicked off towards the John Carr Stand and controlled much of the early play with some neat passing and possession though they failed to trouble the Southport defence until the 8th minute when Ashton and Chillingworth combined to allow Dave Savage to shoot from the edge of the area – his shot going straight at the Southport keeper.


A couple of minutes later, Michael Rankine also had a chance for an early lead, but this time headed wide. Southport then had a chance against the run of play on 13 minutes, with Mark Boyd hitting a fierce 20yard drive against the outside of the post, with Nicky Eyre beaten.  Moments later, Liam Blakeman also fired a long range shot wide of the post, while on 18 minutes a Mark Boyd 25 yard free kick went whistling over the bar.


Rushden were passing well, but just seemed to fail on the final ball and were not helped by the strong headwind. After 24 minutes, Michael Rankine sent a long ball from the left to Simeon Jackson, who had a great chance to score. The keeper stood up well, and managed to force the ball behind for a corner. A succession of corners followed and at the third attempt, Kelly’s shot from a short corner was tipped just over the bar.


The Diamonds were threatening more and more approaching the half hour mark, with a Rankine shot being saved, with Jackson just failing to follow up the loose ball. The goal finally came on 29 minutes however after Jackson passed the ball inside to Chillingworth. His deflected shot found the back of the net with the keeper wrong footed.


It wasn’t long before a second was added. Following a clash between Chillingworth and Lee, the referee awarded a free kick. After their keeper had been distracted by the retreating Rushden forwards, Paul Watson  fired the free kick into the top left hand corner of the net.


The half ended with some more long range shots from Southport, although Simeon Jackson’s run into the box in injury time nearly added a third.


Half-time: Southport 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2


Paul Hart made one change at half-time, with Tom Shaw replacing Paul Watson. This resulted in some shuffling of positions, with Wayne Hatswell taking the right back position, and Dave Savage dropping back to the centre half role with Chris Hope. The change seemed to disrupt the flow of play and Southport looked to have more urgency in their play during the opening fifteen minutes of the second half.


Although Southport were coming into the game more and more, the Diamonds were happy just to soak up the pressure. The only danger seemed to be from the increasing number of free kicks conceded although the defence were coping adequately, with Diamonds making the occasional break. Marcus Kelly was yellow carded on 74 minutes for kicking the ball away after Southport were awarded a throw in.


Just after half an hour of the second half, Jackson had a great chance to increase the lead when he broke away from the into the Southport penalty area, but was challenged just before he could get his shot away.


With five minutes remaining, the referee awarded Southport a rather soft penalty. Carl Baker tried to force his way through Wayne Hatswell who was adjudged to have brought him down. Baker took the penalty himself sending Eyre the wrong way.


With only a few minutes remaining, the 100 or so away supporters had visions of last season flashing through their minds, but this time, the Diamonds held on for a deserved victory. 


Full-time: Southport 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2


So Diamonds finally got a win playing in the blue away strip – at the thirteenth attempt – and the win moves them up to the top half of the Conference table.




Southport – Paul Harrison, Chris Lane, Michael Powell, Lee Hoolickin (Sean Clancy 88), Kevin Lee, Robbie Booth, Liam Blakeman (David Owens 70), Mark Boyd (c), James Olsen, Carl Baker, Mark Jackson (Francis Barry 55).

Subs not used: John Bagnall, Stephen Rowlands.


Rushden & Diamonds – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson (Tom Shaw HT), Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Simeon Jackson, Dan Chillingworth, Marcus Kelly.

Subs not used: Danny Crane, Leo Fortune West, Lee Tomlin, Tyrone Berry.


Goals:             Dan Chillingworth 29, Paul Watson 35 (Rushden)

                        Carl Baker 85(pen) (Southport)


Booked:        Marcus Kelly (74 – time-wasting). Simeon Jackson (90 Unsportsman                like behaviour)

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Forest Green Rovers 0

A goal in each half gave Diamonds a much needed first win of the season at Nene Park.


Daniel Chillingworth scored his first ever competitive goal and Simeon Jackson’s deflected effort put the game beyond their opponents who remain point less.


Manager Paul Hart made one change from the side that lost to Grays in midweek with Jackson replacing Leo Fortune-West in attack.


Forest Green made two changes to their starting line-up. Mark Beesley came in for Les Afful while Charlie Griffin replaced Allan Russell. Former England wicketkeeper Jack Russell was on the pitch before the game in his capacity as Rovers goalkeeping coach.


Diamonds enjoyed plenty of early possession. On 5 minutes, Dave Savage fed Chillingworth 25-yards out but his fine drive deflected off the back of Michael Rankine and went away for a goal-kick.


A minute later, Savage delivered a fine cross from the left that caused chaos in the Forest Green defence but neither Jackson nor Rankine could capitalize. A Paul Watson free-kick was comfortably dealt with by Steve Williams before Glenn Wilson got round Kevin Nicholson after receiving Wayne Hatswell’s raking pass but the chance came to nothing.


Diamonds took the lead on 20 minutes. Watson had all the time in the world on the left to chip in an inviting cross and Chillingworth powered a header past Williams. That was just what the doctor ordered, an early goal to settle the nerves.


The goal illuminated an otherwise diluted first half which was lacking in real goalmouth action. However, on 34 minutes, a great ball in from Chillingworth gave Jackson a chance but his shot was blocked and cleared. Four minutes later Jon Ashton tried his luck from distance but failed to hit the target.


Half – time Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Forest Green Rovers


The visitors came out for the second half with real purpose and it wasn’t long before they produced their first real chance of the game. Griffin ran onto Alex Meechan’s pass down the line, cut in before drilling a fine shot inches past Nicky Eyre’s far post.


At the other end, good interplay between GlennWilson and Savage allowed the club captain room and space to fire but his shot lacked power and was easily dealt with by Williams. Jackson then had a shot comfortably dealt with before Chillingworth almost got on the score sheet again.


Savage found space on the right and picked out Chillingworth on the edge of the penalty area. Th goalscorer produced a superb scissorkick which was gratefully collected by Williams.


The visitors won a free-kick just outside the Diamonds box but Nicholson wasted the opportunity by driving high over the bar.


On 64 minutes Forest Green missed a glorious chance to get back into the game and only Mark Beesley will know how he failed to score. The striker did well to get round Wilson but with just Eyre to beat 8 yards out, Beesley shot straight at Eyre and the ball ballooned over the bar.


Seven minutes later Rankine struck the crossbar after more good work from Savage who was having another excellent game in the Diamonds midfield.


However, on 75 minutes the home side sealed their first victory of the season with a somewhat fortunate goal from Jackson. Rankine found Kelly on the left and when the midfielder slipped a pass inside to Jackson the youngster’s shot deflected off a defender and looped over Williams into the net.


Diamonds didn’t rest on their laurels and continued to push forward. Chillingworth was off target with a shot before the introduction of Lee Tomlin brought with it another guilt edged chance for the 17 year old. Unfortunately, having done all the hard work Tomlin shot straight at Williams when clean through. Surely it won’t be too long before his first goal arrives.


So an important first win for Diamonds who deservedly took the points. Hopefully, onwards and upwards for a team that is hopefully not too far away from one that will be challenging at the top end.




Rushden & Diamonds: Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope, Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Daniel Chillingworth, Marcus Kelly, Simeon jackson (Lee Tomlin 88)


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Leo Fortune-West, Tyrone Berry, Andrew Rigby


Forest Green Rovers: Steve Williams, Alex Lawless, Kevin Nicholson, Tony Butler, Jamie Pitman, Simon Clist (Les Afful 61), Michael Brough, Mark Preece, Charlie Griffin (Allan Russell 77), Alex Meechan, Mark Beesley (Arek Zarczynski 77)


Subs Not Used: Matthew McEntegert, Ryan Harrison


Booked: Brough 62 (Foul)


Referee: Mr S Tomlinson


Attendance: 1,693 (Away 72)


Diamonds MOM: Dave Savage. Revitalised and a threat all game long!


Report by Chris Barritt            

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Grays Athletic 3

Diamonds suffered a second consecutive Conference defeat when they were clinically beaten by Grays Athletic at Nene Park


Glenn Poole opened the scoring before Michael Rankine equalised. Aaron Mclean regained the lead for the visitors before Michael Kightly’s late stunner wrapped up the points.


After defeat in their first game back in the Conference, Diamonds boss Paul Hart named an unchanged team from that which lost disappointingly at Crawley Town. Goalkeeper Nicky Eyre was facing the team that he left just three weeks ago.


Grays Athletic enjoyed a superb debut season in the Conference losing to Halifax Town in the play-offs but retaining the F A Trophy in the process. Manager Frank Gray named the same team that drew 1-1 against newcomers Stafford Rangers at the weekend. Although John Turner failed to make the squad through injury, former Diamonds Ashley Nicholls and Andy Sambrook were both named in the Grays starting line-up.


Diamonds had a great chance to take an early lead after just 90 seconds when Leo Fortune-West flicked on Eyre’s long clearance to Michael Rankine but Ashley Bayes got down well to produce a fine one handed save.


Moments later Dave Savage saw his shot blocked after the ball ran free via Marcus Kelly.


Diamonds had started well and were knocking the ball around with confidence. Not surprisingly, both teams were committed to the cause and Daniel Chillingworth received a long lecture from referee Fletcher for a very late tackle on Adam Green.


Chillingworth responded with a fine long range shot which was superbly turned away by Bayes diving to his right while on 8 minutes Rushden had the ball in the net but Rankine’s close range shot was ruled out for offside.


The visitor’s first real attack came a minute later but ex- Diamond Nicholls saw his close range effort blocked by the home defence. Grays were getting more into the game and Glenn Poole’s 25-yard shot was comfortably tipped over the bar by Eyre before the same player blazed over from a similar distance on 15 minutes.


Grays were looking the more likely to score at this stage and 11 minutes later captain Jamie Stuart was guilty of a bad miss when he shot over after the ball rebounded kindly off Michael Kightly’s back.


Following a break from Aaron McLean, the visitors took a 29th minute lead. The nippy winger reached the edge of the area before being denied by a superb double block from Glenn Wilson and Wayne Hatswell but the ball ran into the path of Poole on the left and he drilled the ball into the far corner of the net. 


Diamonds were guilty of a glaring miss two minutes later. Great interplay between Kelly and Paul Watson allowed the Diamonds left back to pick out the unmarked Rankine but the striker failed to find the target with a free header.


However, the former Alfreton striker made amends three minutes from the interval. Referee Fletcher played a good advantage after Kelly had been flattened by Sambrook but the ball ran onto Chillingworth who then found Wilson on the right. The defender produced an excellent cross which Rankine gleefully headed past the despairing Bayes.



Half-time Rushden & Diamonds            1 – 1 Grays Athletic


It was a scrappy opening to the second period but Savage, having one of his best games in a Rushden shirt, forced a fine diving save from Bayes who did well to palm the ball away for a corner.


On 56 minutes, Rushden’s club captain almost got on the scoresheet after Chris Hope’s free kick rebounded from the visitor’s wall. Savage took the chance to turn well but his shot was saved comfortably by the well placed Bayes.


The Essex side regained the lead on 59 minutes with a well worked set piece. Kightly’s left wing corner was headed back across goal by Jamie Stuart and Eyre was given absolutely no chance when he was beaten by a bullet header from Mclean.


Diamonds were finding it hard to break through Grays defence although Kelly

saw a shot blocked midway through the second half. On 70 minutes, Savage burst into the area and received a fine lay off from Chillingworth but the midfielder was denied again by a brilliant save from Bayes who somehow turned the ball over the bar.


At the other end, Poole broke dangerously on the left only to find the side netting but that didn’t matter seven minutes from time when the visitors sealed the points with a goal out of nothing. Kightly collected the ball 25-yards out before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Eyre and into the top left hand corner.


Diamonds tried to get back into the game but despite the best efforts of substitute Simeon Jackson they had to accept their second consecutive defeat at the hands of a side that will be surely challenging for honours come the season end.





Rushden & Diamonds: -  Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c) Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Leo Fortune-West (Simeon Jackson 80), Daniel Chillingworth (Tyrone Berry 73), Marcus Kelly


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Lee Tomlin, Andrew Rigby.


Grays Athletic – Ashley Bayes, Andy Sambrook, Adam Green, Jamie Stuart (c), Lee Boylan (Dennis Oli 77), John Martin, Aaron McLean, Michael Kightly, Jay Smith, Ashley Nicholls, Glenn Poole.


Subs Not Used: Danny Knowles, Tom Williamson, Nathan Moulds, Jamie Slabber.


Booked: Hatswell 16 (Foul), Sambrook 42 (Foul), Boylan 72 (Foul)


Sent off:


Referee: Mr R Fletcher


Attendance: 2,015 (Away fans 93)


Diamonds Men of the Match: Dave Savage



By Chris Barritt 

Crawley Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The disappointing results of last year’s campaign continued into the new season at Broadfield Stadium. Despite playing some good football at times, a single goal against the run of play left the Diamonds with no points to show for their efforts.


Crawley Town had already been docked 10 points after going into administration in June this year with debts of around £1.1million, and the uncertainty on their future over the past few months has still not yet been resolved. With the club on the verge of going out of business, the Conference board only gave permission for the game to be played some 48hours prior to kick-off, although a final decision whether they play beyond next Saturday will depend on a creditors meeting within the next two weeks. It remains to be seen if Crawley will be able to complete their season in the Conference.


The uncertainty did nothing to help either manager, with Devils manager John Hollins particularly hit by the embargo on signing new players, which was only lifted on Thursday. The side looked quite strong however with former Manchester City players Scott Hiley and Tony Scully plus former Barnet striker Ben Strevens in the starting line-up. Former Rushden favourite Gary Mills was also on the teamsheet.


New Diamonds boss Paul Hart brought in eight new signings over the summer, and all except Andrew Rigby were named in the starting eleven.


The game started with Rushden playing towards the 200 or so supporters who had made the journey south. The first chance fell after 4 minutes when Dan Chillingworth tried to put Dave Savage through, but his pass was intercepted and the danger cleared. Crawley quickly responded and could have taken the lead two minutes later when some neat play between Edwards and then Strevens saw his cross headed against the top of the crossbar by Tony Scully. The game was fairly even during the first fifteen minutes with long range shots from Savage and Scully easily saved by the respective keepers.


Michael Rankine headed just over the bar after a cross from Marcus Kelly on 14 minutes while a through ball 5 minutes later saw Rankine ruled offside with just the keeper to beat. Glenn Wilson was looking increasingly dangerous with forward runs along the right wing while Paul Watson was also making the occasional run along the left. Several chances fell midway through the half with a Chillingworth shot blocked and the resulting corner being headed over by Chris Hope.


As the rain began to fall a Crawley break found Strevens with a chance to score but his shot was deflected past the post for a corner. Two corners for Rushden on the half hour mark saw several good chances missed. A cross from Watson after a short corner from Kelly was tipped over the bar, while Chillingworth had a good run into the box, but the ball bobbled around in the area with nobody able to get a final touch.


Crawley were also having chances and Scully took a quick free kick on 33 minutes but the defence were alert to the danger. Just before half time, Fortune West headed wide after another cross from Wilson but probably the best chance fell to Crawley on the stroke of the interval when Edwards broke clear of the Rushden defence. Nicky Eyre stood firm and delayed his opponent just long enough for the defenders to recover.


Half-time: Crawley 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0


No changes were made at half-time and within 15 seconds of the restart Savage shot straight at the keeper after a cross from Kelly. Rankine was starting to cause the defenders problems and was fouled several times. Wayne Hatswell stepped up to take one of the free kicks on 51 minutes but was just off target. Another free kick saw Kelly cross to Hatswell on the far post but his header was wide of the post. There was some danger from a Crawley corner seven minutes later but Savage was on hand to block the goal bound shot while a minute later, Chillingworth had a shot from the edge of the area but fired over the bar.


Against the run of play, Crawley took the lead on 62 minutes and ‘keeper Eyre must take some responsibility after poor distribution to Hatswell. With Strevens bearing down on him, he returned to ball for Eyre to clear upfield but Strevens continued his run and the keepers kick bounced off the ex-Barnet players leg and into the net. Rushden continued to press for an equaliser but the pressure was dealt with quite easily by the Crawley defence who looked to be comfortably in control.


A break on 78 minutes saw Blackburn take a long shot at goal but Rushden continued to press and Jackson headed a cross straight into the keepers arms with 10 minutes to go. Crawley received three yellow cards in the final five minutes, and conceded several free kicks but Diamonds had just one final chance in the dying seconds when a Watson shot looked to be goal bound but the Crawley defence stood firm and scrambled the ball away.


A disappointing start to the season.


Full-time: Crawley 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0




Crawley Town – Ben Hamer, Ben Judge, Danny Brown (c), Scott Hiley, Dave Woozley, Gary Mills (Patrick Sappleton 90), Michael Bostwick, Lee Blackburn, Jake Edwards, Ben Strevens (Scott Rendell 84), Tony Scully.

Subs not used: Jack McLeod, Jamie Lovegrove, Rob Tolfrey.


Rushden & Diamonds – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage (Lee Tomlin 86), Michael Rankine, Leo Fortune-West (Tyrone Berry 76), Dan Chillingworth (Simeon Jackson 76), Marcus Kelly.

Subs not used: Danny Crane, Tom Shaw.


Goals: Ben Strevens 62.


Booked: Danny Brown (85 foul), Ben Hamer (90 timewasting), Michael Bostwick (90 foul).


Sent off:


Attendance: 1088


Referee: G.Horwood

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