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.

 

Teams

 

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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