Rushden & Diamonds 1 Burton Albion 2

A spirited second half performance couldn’t save Diamonds from a second successive defeat.

Aaron Webster and Daryl Clare helped Burton into a two goal lead before Marcus Kelly pegged a goal back for Diamonds.   

Diamonds made two changes from the side that lost so disappointingly at Woking last week. Midfielder Andrew Rigby made his league debut. The non – contract player was preferred to Tyrone Berry while Greg Pearson made his seasonal bow coming into the attack in place of Daniel Chillingworth.

Burton Albion also made a couple of changes. Andy Ducros had recovered from injury and he replaced Chris Hare in midfield while Shaun Harrad got the nod over Steve Scoffham in attack.

The heavens opened as the players took to the pitch and Diamonds kicked off towards the Airwair stand.

The home side could not have made a worse start when they conceded a goal in only the second minute. Paul Watson gave away a free – kick on the left hand side of the area and when Ducros floated the ball in Aaaron Webster rose unchallenged to head the ball home.


The visitors won another free – kick three minutes later in a dangerous position twenty yards out. Ducros stepped up to hit the ball through the wall but Nicky Eyre saved comfortably.


It took Diamonds until the thirteenth minute to conjure up their first attack. Dave Savage did well to keep the attack moving before setting up Simeon Jackson down the right. The teenager’s cross found Pearson at the near post but he couldn’t direct his shot on target.


The game started to become more even possession wise but Burton were still looking the more menacing going forward.  When Daryl Clare won the ball 25 yards out he noticed Eyre off his line and tried an audacious chip which went narrowly wide.


Marcus Kelly tried his luck from 30 yards only to see his shot whistle past the right hand upright before the visitors extended their lead on 23 minutes thanks to the predatory instincts of Clare. The much travelled striker burst into the penalty area on the right and, unchallenged, found the left hand side of the net from an acute angle. It was poor defending to say the least!


Memories of Woking came flooding back but Diamonds reduced the arrears six minutes later. Burton failed to clear a long throw from Glenn Wilson allowing Kelly to drill the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.


It was a terrific game to watch with both sides creating chances. Webster had another header ruled out for a foul on Eyre while Lee Fowler saw a long range effort deflect off Wilson for a corner.


Burton were finding it difficult to deal with Diamonds long throws and from another Wilson effort the ball came back to Wayne Hatswell who wasn’t very far away from 35 yards.


The visitors should have extended their lead on 43 minutes. A poor clearance from Chris Hope fell nicely into the path of Harrad but while his first time shot beat Eyre the ball went agonisingly wide of the right hand post.


Diamonds finished the half strongly and almost drew level a minute later from fully 40 yards when Kevin Poole had to stretch to turn Pearson’s opportunist effort onto the bar.


On the stroke of half time Jon Ashton flashed a header wide from Watson’s cross.


Half-time Rushden & Diamonds            1 – 2 Burton Albion


The opening stages of the second half failed to live up to the excitement of the opening 45 minutes as the visitors seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure.


It wasn’t until the 61st minute before either side had a meaningful shot on target. Rigby, Kelly and Savage linked well before substitute Michael Rankine hooked the ball wide from ten yards. That seemed to spur Diamonds forward and they came desperately close to an equaliser five minutes later when Kelly’s thunderous shot from 20 yards rebounded off the right hand upright leaving Jackson an easy chance but the teenager disappointingly could only help the ball into Poole’s arms 


It was all Diamonds now and Watson was only just too high with a rasping drive before Poole dealt well with a Hatswell header following Watson’s free kick.


Eight minutes from time Poole produced a brilliant save to deny the home side when he clawed away Watson’s free-kick after Jackson had been fouled.


That proved to be decisive. A rare attack from Burton saw Darren Stride’s header loop the wrong side of the post but it was the home side who had the last chance when Hatswell headed over from Watson’s corner.


So a disappointing defeat despite a fine second half display and its now on to Morecambe on Tuesday.







Rushden & Diamonds: – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Greg Pearson (Michael Rankine 54), Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Andrew Rigby (Tyrone Berry 75)


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Daniel Chillingworth, Daniel Grainger


Burton Albion:  – Kevin Poole, Gary Rowett, Aaron Webster, Andrew Corbett, Darren Tinson, Ryan Austin, Darren Stride (Capt), Lee Fowler, Daryl Clare (Daniel Holmes 74), Andy Ducros (Chris Hall 80), Shaun Harrad (Steve Scoffham 80)


Subs Not Used: Martin Taylor, John Brayford,


Booked:  Tinson 37 (Dissent)


Sent off:


Referee: Mr  P Gibbs


Attendance: 2,179 (361 Away fans)


Diamonds Man of the Match: Dave Savage


By Chris Barritt 


Woking 3 Rushden and Diamonds 0


Rushden were blown away by a whirlwind Woking performance at a sunny Kingfield. Two early goals effectively ended the game as spectacle as a lacklustre RDFC side were disappointing throughout the side during the first-half, and only managed to salvage a modicum of respect in the second.

Rushden started quite brightly, with three quick attacks looking dangerous with Jackson and Berry’s pace threatening the lanky Woking defenders.

However, it was from the third of these attacks that Woking Captain Neil Smith hooked the ball forward to on-loan striker Jon Nurse, who looked to be outpacing Wayne Hatswell, but an outstretched leg conceded a corner – although the Woking fans thought a penalty should have been awarded, It mattered not though, as from the resultant corner the diminutive Nurse directed a free header to the far post, where Craig McAllister was able to net easily.

Worse was to come in the ninth minute. The lively Nurse was fouled by Chris Hope, and from the resultant free kick the ball headed towards the front corner of the penalty box, where in an innocuous challenge Chillingworth handled, and although the offence looked to be outside the box, the ref awarded a penalty and a yellow to the newly shorn Chilli. McAllister converted the penalty as RDFC wondered what had hit them.

Diamonds were in disarray, with any possession constantly surrendered via long balls that were going straight through to the goalie unchallenged.

The defence were caught out again in the 20th minute, when Nurse beat the offside trap and was allowed to run through unchallenged, but luckily was forced wide. All the defenders had a hand in giving Woking their third goal on 24 minutes – a poor Hope clearance was picked up by Lambu, who was fouled by Wilson, and from the freekick taken by Bunce a very poor header by Hatswell looped to Watson, whose equally poor header fell to Sole, who hit a great volley from the corner of the box past Eyre.

Finally, with almost half an hour gone, Tyrone Berry started to get in the game, switching to the left to try to find some kind of service, but he failed to test the goalie when teed up by Dave Savage on the corner of the six yard box, and Savage himself had time to spare in the box, after a good cross from Jon Ashton but allowed his shot to be blocked.

Diamonds managed a couple of corners towards the end of the half, and although all corners were being taken by Paul Watson for this game, none of them caused significant worry in the Woking defence.

On 42 minutes Diamonds won a free kick after a foul on Chilli, and Hatswell won his header right in front of goal, but could only get a slight flick and the danger passed.

Half Time: Woking 3 – 0 Rushden and Diamonds FC

As expected, Paul Hart made changes at Half-time, bringing on Leo Fortune-West for Jackson, and Greg Pearson for Chilli. Finally Diamonds long balls started to worry the Woking defence, as LF-W started winning the ball, and Greg Pearson was able to make some decent runs. The change to a 4-4-2 formation also gave Woking a few problems, as did the chance for Tyrone Berry to hug the touchline and get a couple of crossed to LF-W.

Woking still threatened on the break, with Nicky Eyre making one good save from the dangerous Nurse, and Wayne Hatswell being relieved when beaten by Nurse and Ferguson to see McAllister’s attempt on goal well blocked by Hope.

Although the second half performance was much improved, the Woking goalie was still having a very easy afternoon, as a number of shots sailed high and wide. The biggest threat was coming from the Wilson long throws, although Dave Savage was linking up well with the forward line for the first time in the game.

Woking made a series of substitutions without affecting their shape too much, and the match meandered to the inevitable goalless second half. They even had time to take off Nurse to celebrate his last appearance before returning to Stevenage as he left the pitch to cries of "Nursey", but it was the RDFC team performance that brought the most comparison to the BlackAdder character !

Full Time: Woking 3 – 0 Rushden and Diamonds FC

Reporters MoM (joint) – Leo Fortune-West and Greg Pearson – can’t be blamed for the first half debacle, and brought a modicum of respect in the second half.




1 Shwan Jalal
3 Daniel Bunce
4 Neil Smith (Capt)
5 Tom Hutchinson
6 Gary MacDonald
8 Karl Murray
9 Craig McAllister
17 Karim El Salahi
18 Goma Lambu (Ferguson 71)
24 Giuseppe Sole
26 Jon Nurse (Sankoh 89)

Unused Subs Berquez, Oyedele, Howe

Rushden and Diamonds FC


1 Eyre
3 Watson
5 Hope
6 Hatswell
2 Wilson
4 Ashton
11 Kelly
7 Savage
10 Chillingworth (Pearson 45)
12 Jackson (Fortune-West 45)
15 Berry

Unused Subs : Crane, Rigby, Grainger

Attendance 2084 (159 away)

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Gravesend & Northfleet 0

Ten man Diamonds were held to a goalless draw by a very good Gravesend side at Nene Park.

Diamonds had Michael Rankine sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence.

The home side made an enforced change from the side that drew 1 – 1 at Stafford Rangers at the weekend. Tom Shaw failed in his bid to overturn Saturday’s red card and therefore started his three match ban allowing club captain Dave Savage to come into midfield.

Gravesend were hoping to extend their six game unbeaten run and made two changes from the team that came from 2 goals down behind to grab a home point against Exeter. Ex – Diamond Peter Hawkins and Liam Coleman were dropped to the bench with Danny Slatter and captain Paul McCarthy preferred.

There was danger for Diamonds inside the first minute when the visitors won a free – kick just outside the penalty area after Michael Rankine had brought down James Smith but Mark De Bolla’s shot was weak and wide.

Wayne Hatswell had to be alert to head clear a Gravesend attack before the visitors thought they’d gone in front on 6 minutes. A mistake by Glenn Wilson allowed Slatter the chance to cross from the left but Charlie McDonald’s short range effort was ruled out for offside.

The visitors were already looking dangerous as their pacy counter attacks began to trouble the Diamonds defence. Rushden’s midfield were being given no time to settle while referee Beck’s picky nature was spoiling the flow of the game.

Gravesend almost took the lead on 18 minutes. Slatter ran onto Mark De Bolla’s through pass before beating Nick Eyre all ends up but the drive came back off the inside of the bar and bounced away from danger.

Five minutes later Diamonds enjoyed their first shot of the game when Marcus Kelly tried his luck from 20 yards but the result was disappointingly wide.

Paul Watson and Eyre then almost contrived to hand Gravesend an opening as they hesitated over a clearance after Watson failed to clear his lines. With Gravesend in the ascendancy referee Beck was not making too many friends amongst the two benches with some of his decisions.

The visitors spurned another excellent opportunity on 29 minutes. De Bolla’s free – kick picked out Ross Smith six yards out but fortunately for Diamonds the left back missed a sitter as he struck the top of the bar from six yards.

Slatter was proving to be a real handful and he hit a long range effort wide before Charlie McDonald beat Eyre to De Bolla’s fine pass but the ball went away for a goal kick.

Gravesend’s leading scorer got free again moments later only to see Eyre produce a wonderful save beat the ball away.

Two minutes from the interval Rankine was rather fortunate to stay on the pitch when use of an elbow earned the striker a yellow card. On the stroke of half – time Kelly’s free – kick found Ashton who flashed a header wide.

So Diamonds went into the interval aomewhat relieved to be on level terms after playing second fiddle to Gravesend’s livewire performance.

Half-time Rushden & Diamonds 0 Gravesend & Northfleet 0

Gravesend started where they left off in the first half and the dangerous Slatter maybe should have done better when well placed early on. On 47 minutes Diamonds were inches away from taking an undeserved lead. Tyrone Berry was starting to make inroads down the right hand side and from one of his crosses he picked out Rankine six yards out. With his back towards goal, the youngster hit the post with a clever flick but couldn’t convert the rebound.

Eight minutes later Lance Cronin produced an excellent block to deny Savage after another Berry cross.

However, Diamonds indifferent night went sour on 64 minutes when Rankine was sent off for a second bookable offence after allegedly tripping John Keeling. Rankine protested his innocence long and hard and it was even more galling to see the Gravesend midfielder making a meal of the challenge only to recover as soon as Rankine had left the field.

Despite down to ten men for the second consecutive game Kelly did very well to beat two defenders before forcing a brilliant save from Cronin. Gravesend then had another effort ruled out for offside while Berry shot powerfully wide after latching onto Glenn Wilson’s cross.

There was very little goalmouth action after that although De Bolla had one drive comfortably held by Eyre while Ashton conjured up a last ditch tackle to deny Keeling seconds from the end.

So a frustrating night for Diamonds but they recovered well in the second half against probably the best team we’ve played this season. Both teams played their part in an entertaining match and at least Diamonds were able to extend their unbeaten run to five games.


Rushden & Diamonds: –  Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson (Leo Fortune – West  72), Tyrone Berry

Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Daniel Chillingworth, Greg Pearson, Andrew Rigby

Gravesend & Northfleet  –  Lance Cronin, James Smith, Paul McCarthy (Capt) (Peter Hawkins 39), Danny Slater, Rob Quinn, Mark De Bola, Charlie McDonald, John Keeling, Mark Ricketts, Luke Moore, Ross Smith (Liam Coleman 57) (Onome Sodje 76)

Subs Not Used: Sam Smott, George Purcell

Booked:  Rob Quinn (Foul on Tyrone Berry 25), Mark De Bolla (Dissent 29), Michale Rankine (Foul 43), Jon Ashton (Foul 57), Liam Coleman (Dissent 72) Wayne Hatswell (Foul 88)

Sent off: Rankine 64 (Second bookable offence)

Referee: Mr S P Beck

Attendance:  1,879 (53Away fans)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Chris Hope

Stafford Rangers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Following two successive three goal wins, Diamonds went into their ninth game of the season full of confidence, but last minute nerves struck again as Chris Hope’s first half goal was cancelled out by an injury time equaliser from Stafford’s Nigerian born substitute Dolapo Olaoye.

Diamonds only previous encounters with Stafford Rangers had been in the Beazer Homes Premier League Championship winning 1995/96 season, and it was with the 4-1 victory at Marston Road in April 96, that promotion to the Conference was confirmed.

Manager Paul Hart named an unchanged starting line up, while Stafford boss Phil Robinson made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Burton Albion on Tuesday night. Craig Lovatt and debutant Sean Robinson replaced Christian Dacres and the injured Nathan Talbott. Ged Murphy remained sidelined due to suspension.

Diamonds started the game strongly but it wasn’t long before the ‘in form’ double hat-trick hero Simeon Jackson was brought down to earth in more ways than one, with a crunching tackle from Robinson after just two minutes. Rushden continued to attack in the opening six minutes with a succession of free kicks after Gibson fouled Michael Rankine and Lovatt brought down Tyrone Berry some ten yards outside the box. Marcus Kelly swung the resultant free kick into the penalty area, and Chris Hope got to the ball first with a glancing header that found the back of the net.

Stafford failed to trouble the Diamonds defence until the 11th minute when Robinson passed the ball to Neil Grayson, but the experienced striker (now 41) was adjudged offside. Rushden were starting to play some nice flowing football, and some good passing between Jackson and Shaw found Berry clear along the right hand side. His cross from the by line was bravely saved by Williams as Michael Rankine tried to slot the ball home. The clash left the Stafford keeper with a large gash to the head, and there was some confusion as to whether he could continue in goal or not. After some four minutes, the decision was made to bring on substitute keeper Danny Alcock for his first appearance for Stafford.

As the half progressed, Diamonds created more chances with some excellent runs by Kelly on the left and Berry on the right, but just failed to find that finishing touch. Berry had a good chance on 24′ after a run from midfield, but his shot went over the bar.  Efforts by Stafford were limited to a weak shot from Lovatt, while a Stafford free kick after Wayne Hatswell fouled Gibson was headed clear by Chris Hope. Quailey also shot wide of the target without causing any real problems for Nicky Eyre in the Rushden goal.

On 29′, Kelly’s run down the left caused some panic in the Stafford defence, but the ball was scrambled clear for a corner. Quickly taken, Kelly got a return pass from Berry and fired a low shot at goal, but the keeper was able to get down and save by the near post,

Stafford’s Craig McAughtrie went into the referee’s notebook on 41′, after bringing down Michael Rankine following a series of fouls. The resultant free kick from Kelly found Hatswell on the far post, but his shot was deflected into the side netting. Diamonds should have gone two up on 45′, when Jackson found himself in space with just the keeper to beat. He unselfishly laid the ball across to Marcus Kelly, but just as he was going to side foot into the net, Sean Robinson made a lunging block to divert the goal bound effort.

After the fourth official indicated 5′ of extra time, Diamonds chances of holding on to their lead took a blow, when Tom Shaw made a rash challenge on Lee Downes. While it appeared to be a genuine attempt to get the ball, the referee decided it was reckless and showed a red card. McAughtrie’s free kick was fired straight at the Rushden keeper who made a comfortable save.

Half-time:  Stafford Rangers 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Despite being reduced to ten men, Diamonds kept their attacking formation at the start of the second half, and were still forcing the pace. Both Kelly and Berry continued to cause pressure down the flanks, with Berry’s deflected shot on 48′ being saved by the keeper. Stafford began to make their numerical advantage show and had more and more possession as the second half progressed, although long range shots from Gibson, Street and Quailey were easily dealt with by Nicky Eyre and the Diamonds defence.

After 55′, the home supporters were given a fright after a rather comical moment when Stafford keeper Danny Alcock misjudged the bounce of a long through ball and had to scamper back to stop the ball from crossing the line. Shortly afterwards, another Marcus Kelly shot went flying high over the bar.

Stafford gained a free kick after Jon Ashton handled the ball a few yards outside the penalty area, but the free kick failed to clear the wall and the danger passed. Ashton was not so lucky on 65′, when he conceded a penalty following some pressure from Grayson and Quailey in the Diamonds goalmouth. Lee Downes ran onto the loose ball, and was upended in the box. Neil Grayson stepped up to take the spot kick having scored the equaliser from the spot on Tuesday night, but Nicky Eyre saved brilliantly, diving to his right and the ball was scrambled to safety. Paul Watson continued to protest to the referee about the penalty after the ball had gone dead, and received a yellow card for his troubles.

With Diamonds clearly lucky not to concede the equaliser, Dave Savage was brought on to replace Marcus Kelly. Stafford increased their attacking options by bringing on Dolapo Olaoye in place of defender Liam Murray. Simeon Jackson and Michael Rankine continue to work hard chasing down the ball every time they could. Craig McAughtrie was very lucky to escape a second yellow card after bringing down Rankine on 73′ deep in the Stafford half. Watson typified Diamonds afternoon by firing the free kick high over the bar.

Assistant manager David Oldfield came on for the final fifteen minutes as Stafford pressed for that equalising goal as Rushden started to tire. Diamonds tried to catch Stafford on the break on 85′, when Jackson picked up the ball in the centre circle and ran towards the Stafford goal, his shot however was saved. Greg Pearson came on three minutes from time to replace Michael Rankine who had run himself into the ground.

With just three minutes of added time to play, Diamonds looked to have secured the three points, but half way into the extra time, a long throw from McAughtrie was headed across the penalty area and found Olaoye with space inside the area. Paul Watson was unable to close him down before he shot a low drive beyond Eyre, to give Stafford a share of the points.

Full-time: Stafford Rangers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Diamonds were left to rue the missed chances in the first half, and probably consider the result as two points lost rather than a point gained. The effort put in by the players cannot be faulted and the team are in a good position to continue their four games unbeaten run this month with another positive result at home to Gravesend next Tuesday.


Stafford Rangers – Dean Williams (Danny Alcock 16), Craig McAughtrie, Wayne Daniel, Craig Lovatt, Lee Downes (David Oldfield 75), Kevin Street, Neil Grayson, Robin Gibson, Brian Quailey, Sean Robinson, Liam Murray (Dolapo Olaoye 69).

Subs not used: Danny Edwards, Christian Dacres.

Rushden & Diamonds – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope, Wayne Hatswell, Michael Rankine (Greg Pearson 87), Marcus Kelly (Dave Savage 67), Simeon Jackson, Tyrone Berry, Tom Shaw.

Subs not used: Danny Crane, Leo Fortune West, Dan Chillingworth.

Goals:  Chris Hope 6 (Rushden)  Dolapo Olaoye 90+2 (Stafford)

Tamworth 1 Rushden & Diamonds 4

Simeon Jackson scored his second hat trick in four days as Rushden beat Tamworth 4-1 at the Lamb on Tuesday night.

On a warm late summer evening Paul Hart made a brave decision to change a winning team by giving a start to Tyrone Berry at Dan Chillingworth’s expense, and his plan worked perfectly as Diamonds romped to their second three goal-winning margin in a row.

Tamworth were unchanged from their victory over Kidderminster at the weekend, playing a 3-5-2 formation with three big defenders at the back.

The Lamb is a fairly typical non-league ground, with a neat stand along one side, and wide terraces on the other three sides. The game was preceded by a well-observed minute silence in memory of Hinckley Player Matt Gadsy, with both sides wearing black armbands.

Diamonds started very brightly, and as early as the second minute had a great chance as a Jackson run down the left fed Michael Rankine who got in a good shot, well saved. Diamonds proceeded to dominate the first twenty minutes, with two early corners following good work between Berry and Wilson on the right, although, as at Kidderminster, the end product from these corners was rather disappointing – although the second one, taken by Berry involved a complex move that bamboozled the Tamworth defence.

Tyrone Berry was putting in one of his best performances, having been given a rare start, and the Tamworth defence were struggling to cope with the three strong running forwards, backed up by Kelly and Shaw in central midfield, with Ashton just in front of the back four to start many of the moves.

The Berry / Wilson partnership combined on 13 minutes, as Tyrone swept the ball wide for Glenn to knock the ball across to Simeon Jackson, who showed the sort of composure we saw on Saturday to knock the ball wide of the goalkeeper and open the scoring.

Tamworth finally came alive on 20 minutes, with Gavin McAllum their greatest threat down the left, with their first shot coming from Graham Deakin but without troubling Nicky Eyre.

A moment of light relief came when the ball was knocked out of play and ended up in the Ladies Toilet, with the neighbouring steward deciding to summon the nearest lady to retrieve the ball on his behalf.

The referee, Mr Langford was controlling the game well, choosing to lecture players where other referees might have brandished yellow cards, but he might have taken some form of action when he allowed a two footed lunge by a Tamworth defender that Tyrone Berry had to hurdle to avoid potential serious injury.

On 26 minutes Diamonds had their first scare of the game when Nicky Eyre tried to field the ball over the top of a crowd of players at a set piece, and could only palm the ball away, resulting in a scramble that was finally cleared to the relief of the 200 or so Diamonds fans behind that goal.

Tamworth continued to create chances as half-time neared, with Atieno and Storer having decent chances that were wasted.

The first booking of the game came on 37 minutes, with Graham Deakin shown yellow for a foul on Paul Watson, but the home crowd were none-too-impressed when Paul was let off with a talking-too when he committed a lesser foul a minute or two later.

The second real scare of the half for Diamonds came just on half-time when a looping ball into the box looked to be dropping between Eyre and Hope, and Chris took no chances by trying the lash the ball away, but only succeeded in mishitting the clearance over his own bar.

After two minutes of injury time were played after a short stoppage just before the break, Diamonds went in with a deserved 1-0 lead, although with Tamworth finishing the half stronger there was a worry that the early pressure might have led to a second goal.

Half-Time : Tamworth 0 – 1 Diamonds

The second half started as brightly as the first, with Michael Rankine in particular being involved in three separate incisive runs, again combining well with Tyrone Berry and Simeon Jackson. However, just as the RDFC fans were thinking a second goal was needed out of this pressure, Tamworth scored an equalizer out of nothing. A Bradley Thomas through ball looked fairly routine for the defence, but Atieno won the header to feed Williams who lost his marker and fired past Eyre.

Diamonds heads didn’t drop though, and they quickly upped the pace, with Rankine again feeding Berry with a great shooting chance after winning a header against the big defenders, and then feeding Jacko for a chance on the left. Michael himself had a great chance right in front of goal, although looking rather offside he steered his header wide – but this was definitely an evening where his contributions to attacking play were telling.

Thirteen minutes into the half Tyrone Berry made another great run down the right, and fired in a powerful "cross" that may well have been curling into the goal, or to Jacko to tap home, but defender Adie Smith made a fantastic goal-line clearance from under his own bar.

The first substitution of the night saw Dave Bampton replace Graham Deakin on 59 minutes. Shortly afterwards a great run down the left by Jackson almost found Marcus Kelly in acres of space, but the pass was well intercepted, then down the other end Tamworth won a rare cornet during this phase of the game on 63 minutes. However, Tamworth committed more men forward for this corner than their earlier ones, and the ball broke to Marcus Kelly, who quickly swept the ball forwards, then laid a great ball to Jacko who beat one defender comprehensively and shot across the goalie to make it 2-1 to Rushden.

Tamworth made their second substitution on 65 minutes with Steve Burton replacing Kyle Storer as the Diamonds fans had changed from a chorus of "Blue Army" to "Where were you when Jackson scored".

Tamworth were starting to get a bit ragged, and a bad foul on Kelly by Adie Smith resulted in a deserved yellow card. Diamonds failed to make the most of their dead ball opportunities, with Tom Shaw spoiling the one chance he was given by some distance – only Paul Watson emerges with much credit in that area.

On 70 minutes we even began to see showboating from Simeon, but he was able to back this up with a third goal as he cut in from the left, again left a Tamworth defender in his wake, and struck the ball wide of the goalie for a memorable hat-trick – the Diamonds fans will need to debate whether his second of third goal was the more memorable.

Jacko wasn’t finished though, as the Tamworth defence seemed to despair about how to control him, and a free kick found him free in acres of space in the penalty area, but his shot was over the bar on a rare occasion he failed to hit the target.

On 75 minutes Marcus Kelly, who was having a much more influential second half, made a run down the left to link with Watson and Jackson, and burst into the area, and as he reached the by-line he was hauled down by Adie Smith – perhaps Smith was a shade unlucky as he did appear to get the ball out for a corner – the debate was whether he played the man first.

Despite calls by the Diamonds fans for Jacko to take the penalty, good discipline prevailed, and Jon Ashton hit a great penalty high into the top corner of the net to the keeper’s left – making the score 4-1, and helping to repay those fans who had watch two of more years of poor away performances with the best away result since Mansfield 2002.

At this point the Diamonds took their proverbial foot off the gas, and the last 10 minutes or so were rather different, with several decent chances falling to Tamworth for a consolation, including a great goal-line clearance by Wilson, as well as another great run by Jacko which might have resulted in his fourth – or a goal for Tyrone Berry, which would have been well deserved on the night.

Jon Ashton went down in a tackle on 87 minutes, just before being substituted – he was one of many players who had had their best game for the club this evening.

So, a great evening, with much to praise, with both the team and the management being faultless – the only disappointment of the night was that we didn’t get to see the exotically named Ms Sasa Ihringova appearing as assistant referee.

At the final whistle the entire team and staff saluted the travelling fans, although Simeon seemed very reluctant to take his place in the limelight, or even to grab the matchball.

Full-Time : Tamworth 1 – 4 Diamonds

Not all away games will be as good as this – but there is hope that such performances will start to generate more interest in the club – and more people will come along to Nene Park to see the player who has score two consecutive hat tricks. Let’s hope for a similar performance as we make a repeat journey to the North Midlands at the Weekend.

Reporter’s Man of the Match – Simeon Jackson – who else!?!

Reporter’s Special Mention – Michael Rankine – surely his best game for the Diamonds, with many intelligent runs, and an excellent understanding with Jackson and Berry.


Rushden & Diamonds

Ashton (Sub Savage 88)



Smith (Kendrick 77)
Storer (Burton 66)
Deakin (Bampton 60)

Attendance: 1105 (Approx 250 away fans)

Rushden & Diamonds 3 Altrincham 0

A super hat trick from Simeon Jackson inspired Diamonds to a comfortable victory at Nene Park.

Jackson capped a superb performance with his first ever senior treble and in truth the home side could have run up a cricket score if several clear cut chances had been converted.

Diamonds kept the same team that earned a good point at Kidderminster last Friday while the visitors – who only arrived at Nene Park at 2.30pm due to heavy traffic – make two changes from the side that were hammered 5 – 0 by Dagenham & Redbridge on Sunday. 

Diamonds were on the attack from the very first minute and goalkeeper Stuart Coburn sliced a clearance into touch after Michael Rankine chased down a back pass.

Diamonds were applying the early pressure and a fine run from Marcus Kelly left Gary Scott in his wake but the cross came to nothing.

On 9 minutes Diamonds should have been on the score sheet. Simeon Jackson’s fine pass allowed Paul Watson the chance to cross from the left but Michael Rankine’s header lacked power and fell the wrong side of the post.

Moments later the visitors had penalty appeals turned down after Wayne Hatswell tackled Lewis Chalmers in the area but it looked as though the Diamonds central defender had got his timing absolutely right.

On 18 minutes the visitors enjoyed their first attempt on goal when Warren Peyton bent his free-kick round the Diamonds wall but the ball went wide of the post.


Altrincham put together a fine move six minutes later when Joe O’Neill and Lewis Chalmers set up Colin Little on the left but from a narrow angle the visiting striker lost control and got crowded out.


Jackson couldn’t finish off a fine mazy run which took him past two defenders before Jon Ashton struck a long range effort over the bar on the half hour.


However, Diamonds took the lead on 33 minutes when Jackson ran onto Michael Rankine’s defence splitting pass, coolly drew Stuart Coburn and slotted home from 12 yards. A confident finish.


Jackson’s second goal two minutes later was even better. The Canadian Under – 20 international received the ball from Daniel Chillingworth 25 yards out – there appeared no danger – but Jackson turned and simply stroked the ball past Coburn and into the left hand side of the net for a wonderful strike.


Two minutes from the interval, Rushden lost the services of defensive midfielder Jon Ashton who was replaced by club captain Dave Savage.


Half-time Rushden & Diamonds            2 – 0 Altrincham


Within a minute of the restart Diamonds should have made the game safe.

A mistake in the Altrincham defence allowed Kelly the chance to slip the ball through to Rankine and while the striker found space after skipping round a defender, he could only balloon the ball over the bar.


The visitors were trying to make more of a fist of it but chances were few and far between. Six minutes later Joe O’Neill went wide with a 25 – yard shot.


Back came Diamonds and Jackson drilled a dnagerous looking cross from the right but nobody could get on the end of it. Little saw a deflected shot go away for a corner in what was to prove Altrincham’s last real pot at goal.


Diamonds were now in the ascendency. On 66 minutes, Ramkine was wide with a free header from Tom Shaw’s free-kick while the same player missed an even simpler chance four minutes later when he almost capitalised on indecison in the Alti defence but took too long to thread the ball into the empty net.


Jackson was everywhere and another great run ended with a cross that was just too high for Rankine lurking in the six-yard box.


The visitors day went from bad to worse on 75 minutes when Val Owen kicked out at Paul Watson after being tackled by the Diamonds defender and referee Serginson had no hesitation in showing the red card.


The earlier introduction of Tyrone Berry had freshened things up with a bit of pace and the youngster turned in an impressive cameo performance. On 78 minutes he dragged

the ball wide after gaining a clear sight of goal while five minutes later his fine strike whistled over the bar.


Moments later Berry’s cross picked out Marcus Kelly 18 yards out and Coburn produced a great one handed save to turn the ball over the bar.



Berry’s contribution deserved some reward and it was no real surprise when, from another fine cross, Jackson completed a wonderful hat trick by turning the ball home from close range.


There was just time for Watson to skim the crossbar with a rising drive before the referee blew the final whistle to end a good day at the office for Paul Hart’s men.





Rushden & Diamonds: -  Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton (Dave Savage 43), Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Michael Rankine (Leo Fortune – West 79), Daniel Chillingworth (Tyrone Berry 71), Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Tom Shaw


Subs Not Used: Danny Crane, Greg Pearson.


Altrincham – Stuart Coburn, Gary Scott (Steve Aspinall 67), Gary Talbot, Steve Bushell (Capt) (Lee Hendley 29), Robbie Lawton, Val Owen, Colin Little, Warren Peyton, Joe O’Neill (Rod Thornley 76), Lewis Chalmers, Karl Munroe. .


Subs Not Used: Stephen Rose, Kieran Lugsden


Booked:  Talbot (Unsporting Behaviour 66), Kelly (Unsporting Behaviour 83)


Sent off: Val Owen (Violent Conduct 75)


Referee: Mr Chris Serginson

Attendance:  1,680 (93 Away fans)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Simeon Jackson – who else!

Full time Rushden & Diamonds 3 – 0 Altrincham


And a first career hattrick from teenager Simeon Jackson gave Diamonds a deserved victory despite being a little below par. In truth Rushden should have converted several good second half chances as well.


The teenager opened the scoring on 33 minutes when Jackson ran onto Michael Rankine’s defence splitting pass, coolly drew Stuart Coburn and slotted home from 12 yards.


Jackson’s second goal two minutes later was even better. The Canadian Under 20 international received the ball from Daniel Chillingworth 25 yards out – there appeared no danger – but Jackson turned and simply stroked the ball past Coburn and into the left hand side of the net.


The visitors huffed and puffed and weren’t helped by the sending off of Val Owen for violent conduct on 75 minutes. Colin Little’s miss from a narrow angle was their only real chance.


The introduction of substitute Tyrone  Berry galvanised Diamonds late on and it was his cross 2 minutes form the end that allowed Jackson to turn in at the far post for a memorable hattrick

Kidderminster Harriers 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Diamonds secured an important away point at Aggborough.

Paul Hart sprang another surprise with the Diamonds team selection with Dave Savage being relegated to the bench with the return of Marcus Kelly. Tyrone Berry also made way for Daniel Chillingworth’s return.

Diamonds took the field for the warm up in their blue strip – no longer seen as jinxed after the win at Southport last weekend.


The Aggborough pitch was in superb condition so there was every opportunity to play a passing game, with the initial question being the formation the Diamonds would use.

Harriers fielded new signing – striker Iyseden Christie, ex Mansfield and on loan from Rochdale, who had been seen on trial at Rushden several seasons ago. He was the lone striker in Kiddy’s starting 4-5-1 formation.


Diamonds fans had plenty of room occupying the width of the terrace behind the goal, plus a bank of seats a third the length of the ground.



Diamonds kicked off, attacking the home end with Chillingworth starting well forward in a 4-3-3 formation. An initial Diamonds break inspired by the recalled striker resulted in a good tackle stopping Simeon Jackson. Pressure from Christie at the other end saw Nicky Eyre make a solid clearance into touch. A clumsy sandwich between Jon Ashton and Shaw on Christie saw a free kick in a dangerous position with Harkness hitting a shot just wide. A further Kiddy chance fell to Smikle on the edge of the area but he hit his shot well over.


Good play from Jackson won Rushden their first corner but a "planned move" failed to result in a threat on goal.


A free-kick from well out by Paul Watson resulted in a second corner on the right, taken by Kelly. This was far more dangerous and was headed over for a corner on the left. Chillingworth took this, and the flick on was headed off the line for a third corner in succession, but this one, from Kelly, was claimed by the goalie.


Another good run by Kelly on 13 minutes resulted in Diamonds 5th corner, and again the short corner move didn’t reach the danger area. A long throw from Wilson was then easily claimed by Bevan in the Kiddy goal.


Diamonds were having much the better of the game at this point, with a great Hatswell through-ball claimed by Jackson, but he had been flagged narrowly offside.


Kiddy won their first corner on 18 minutes, although it looked a clear goal-kick, and was quickly followed by a second, both taken by Sedgemore, but again a short-corner move resulted in no danger.


Hatswell was continuing to be involved in much of the play but a great ball through by Hope was wasted by Chillingworth – not much was being threaded though midfield at this point. Chillingworth was dropping back to make a midfield diamond much of the time.


On 24 minutes Kiddy made a rare break down the right, which resulted in a shot from the edge of the area, well caught by Eyre.


Tom Shaw then conceded a corner, closing down the dangerous Christie, and Mark Creighton should have made more of a free header, as should Chillingworth at the other end a minute later.


Another decent long ball from Hope saw Chillingworth win another corner on 28 minutes, but this again was straight at Bevan.


On 29 minutes a Kiddy break saw Eyre leap and palm the ball outside his area, and then rush outside it to try to retrieve it – with an outrageous dive over his leg by Christie resulting in a deserved booking for the Kiddy striker.


A great Jackson turn and dribble then resulted in a great change, but he tried to walk it into the net, and Bevan cleared up.


A further corner to Diamonds on 31 minutes resulted in the Kelly to Bevan sequence yet again while a Blackwood shot from the edge of the area was easily fielded by Eyre on 34 minutes as the Diamonds remained on top.


A poor piece of defending by Harkness resulted in the ball breaking to Rankine, but again he tried to be too elaborate and Bevan fielded. Although Rushden were playing a lot of long balls, many were into space, and on 38 minutes a foul on Chillingworth resulted in a free-kick 40 yards out, which Kelly threaded through the defence for Watson to run on to – and he only narrowly failed to reach it.


A brave challenge by Tom Shaw to win a great header was unfairly punished by the referee. Sedgemore’s pace was looking to be Kiddy’s greatest threat as we reached the 40 minute mark. Penn tried another shot from long range which didn’t trouble Eyre.


Another great run by Jackson after a mistake by Kenna resulted in a corner taken by Chillingworth, and this time Bevan needed two attempts to claim it.


Only 1 minute of injury time was played – and that looked generous. A good turn and shot by Rankine in this period was narrowly high and wide.


Half-Time: Kiddy 0 RDFC 0


The second half started in the same way as the first with a great run by Jackson resulting in a deflected shot being easily claimed by Bevan.


A decent looking shot from 30 yards from Jon Ashton on 46 minutes was easily saved by Bevan.


On 47 minutes Kiddy won a soft free-kick from an innocuous looking Kelly challenge, which deflected off the wall for a corner, cleared by Chillingworth. Shortly after a Kiddy free kick was allowed to run right through the area, and was only narrowly cleared by a defence close to panic for the first time this evening.


On 52 minutes a high challenge by Ashton earned a warning from the ref, and the free kick gave a great chance to Smikle, who somehow screwed the ball backwards and a subsequent corner was also dangerous as Penn blazed over. A decent diving header by Blackwood on 54 mins also looked dangerous as Kiddy were finally starting to look threatening.


On 58 minutes we had the first substitution as Kiddy brought on Luke Reynolds for Jamie McClen.


A great trap by Rankine, layoff to Jackson saw a stinging shot well saved by Bevan, for a corner – and Kelly continued to perfect his inswinging corner to the goalie routine.


Kiddy won a corner at the other end, and Sedgemore did far better, with Ashton forced to head over for a further corner, and their short move was also more dangerous with Hatswell clearing well.


The corner count was now into double figures for Diamonds, with Kiddy not far behind, but the number of real chances was still fairly low.


The Diamonds fans were then chanting for Tyrone Berry at this point – 65 minutes -, but Kiddy again were looking more dangerous as Reynolds narrowly missed connecting with a header in a great position.


A Shaw challenge on the edge of the box gave Kiddy their most dangerous position for a free kick of the night on 68 minutes, but Harkness hit it at the wall. Woan and Bowyer were starting to get agitated as the linesman awarded Kiddy a free kick that looked like it could have gone the other way.


On 69 minutes Jackson again looked threatening in the area, but again just took slightly too long and allowed a challenge to come in.


On 70 mins Hatswell was forced to take no chances with a long ball to concede another corner, and again the decent delivery resulted in a header on goal from Creighton as Kiddy continued to have slightly the better in the second half.


The match was starting to stagnate – but there was still no sign of any change for the Diamonds. On 77 minutes the best chance of the night so far fell to Reynolds as Watson missed his challenge and left him clean through, but Eyre was quick to close him down and clear the danger.


On 80 minutes, just after wasting a dangerous free kick opportunity Kiddy made their second substitution with Dean Sturridge replacing Iyseden Christie, who earnt a warm round of applause from the home fans.


This inspired Rushden to take off Tom Shaw and bring on Greg Pearson – perhaps a sign they were happy with a draw. Greg’s first contribution was a good layoff to Rankine, who struck his shot well, but it was straight at the goalie.


A great run down the line by Rankine on 84 saw him hit a stinging shot just over. Dave Savage then replaced Chillingworth on 84 minutes – clearly confirmation of intent.


Five minutes from time, Pearson set off on a decent run but could only beat one of the two men he took on.


Finally on 87 minutes Tyrone Berry was readied, but another Jackson shot was high and wide whilst he was waiting. On 88 minutes he replaced Jackson – a clear contender for Man of the Match, with the performance that just needed to be rounded off with a goal.


A clear handball by Whitehead was missed by the ref in his first mistake of the game, after a great Savage run and cross.


The 3 minutes of injury time passed without further incident, although a Kiddy corner had to be well cleared by Pearson, and although honours were probably even over the 90 minutes, in a game that lacked quality, especially with respect to dead ball opportunities, it will be the turned down penalty claim that will be remembered most from this game.


Full Time : Kidderminster Harriers 0 – 0  Rushden & Diamonds


Reporters MoM – Wayne Hatswell – a tower of strength against his old club.




Kidderminster Harriers


1 Scott Bevan

2 Jeff Kenna

3 Jonny Harkness

5 Mark Creighton

6 Stuart Whitehead (Cpt)

7 Jake Sedgemore

10 Jamie McClen (Luke Reynolds 58)

16 Russell Penn

18 Brian Smikle

22 Iyseden Christie (Dean Sturridge 81)


Unused Subs: Hurren, Taylor, Russell


Rushden and Diamonds


1 Nicky Eyre

3 Paul Watson

5 Chris Hope

6 Wayne Hatswell

2 Glenn Wilson

4 Jon Ashton

18 Tom Shaw (Greg Pearson 81)

11 Marcus Kelly

10 Daniel Chillingworth (Dave Savage 85)

12 Simeon Jackson (Tyrone Berry 89)

8 Michael Rankine


Unused Subs: Crane, Fortune-West,


Match Referee was Mo Matadar from Lancashire.


Attendance 1,850 – with 213 away fans.

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