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.

 

 

 

Teams:

 

 

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 

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