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.

 

Teams:

 

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            

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