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)


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