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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