Morecambe 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

After conceding early goals against Woking and Burton Albion, Diamonds safely negotiating the first 45 minutes on level terms, but a 53rd minute header by Danny Carlton led to their third successive defeat and saw them slip down to the bottom half of the Conference table.

Paul Hart named one change to the Saturday’s starting line up, with Michael Rankine replacing Greg Pearson up front. Tom Shaw was on the bench after serving his three match suspension, while Lee Tomlin was also named as substitute after impressive displays for the youth team, in preference to Daniel Chillingworth.Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy kept the same side which had an impressive victory over title contenders Grays Athletic at the weekend. Both Wayne Curtis and Jim Bentley remained sidelined with injuries.

Morecambe kicked off towards the Umbro Stand and made a confident start passing the ball around, although without much impact. Shots from Danny Carlton and Michael Twiss in the first ten minutes were high and wide and caused Nicky Eyre no problems in the Diamond goal. Their first real chance came on 11 minutes when a mistake by Paul Watson gave the ball to David McNiven but his pass to Carlton was fired wide of the post.

Rushden appeared to be very conscious of not making any mistakes at the back, and seemed to be containing any pressure put on by the Morecambe strike force. It was some 19 minutes before a half chance fell to Simeon Jackson on the left side of the area, but his attempt was blocked by a Morecambe defender. Probably the best chance of the half fell to Marcus Kelly some two minutes later when Jon Ashton made a surge forward. His pass to Michael Rankine on the right flank was turned back to Kelly, who fired in a shot which the Morecambe keeper just got a hand to at the base of the far post, and gathered the ball in.

There were little other chances in the first half hour and on 32 minutes, Dave Savage shot well over the bar after Chris Hope’s forward pass was deflected off a defender. Rushden had some good fortune on 35 minutes when a powerful header by Morecambe’s Adam Yates was deflected by Jon Ashton on to the crossbar, but Ashton followed up by clearing the ball away from danger. Three minutes later, it was Morecambe who were fortunate to survive after Andrew Rigby put in a perfect cross for Simeon Jackson at the far post. Jackson would normally have put the chance away, but completely mis-headed the ball and it went out for a goal kick.

The final chance of the half fell to Morecambe just before the interval when there seemed to be little danger. Wayne Hatswell went to clear the ball up field, but his clearance struck Adam Yates and the ball rebounded just wide of the Rushden post.

Half-time: Morecambe 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

As the second half started, so did the rain. Morecambe continued to put pressure on Diamonds with better passing and control in midfield. Perkins put in a good cross on 52 minutes forcing Nicky Eyre to race out of his goal and made a good block from Howard. A minute later however, Morecambe took the lead when the ball was crossed from the left and found McNiven and Carlton unmarked in the box. Carlton’s downward header looped high into the air above Nicky Eyre and just under the bar. Appeals for offside were turned down by the officials.

Diamonds had the chance to equalise two minutes after the restart, but Rankine’s neat turn and shot was safely gathered by Morecambe keeper, Steven Drench. The impressive David Perkins was booked shortly afterwards for a foul on Marcus Kelly, while on 58 minutes, Chris Hope found his way into the referee’s book for a similar foul on Carlton.

Rushden began to come forward more with a Dave Savage shot being deflected for a corner, and Jon Ashton heading the corner just wide. Tyrone Berry was brought on to replace Andrew Rigby on 61 minutes and immediately injected some pace and urgency with a couple of runs at the Morecambe defence.

During the final 15 minutes, Rushden pressed further forward. A Kelly free kick found Berry on the right, but he was brought down on the edge of the area. The resultant free kick was wasted however. Pearson replaced Jackson with 10 minutes to go and was immediately fouled just outside the area. Watson’s free-kick found Berry just beyond the far post and his overhead kick caused panic in the goalmouth, but Ashton was just unable to turn the ball in. Despite more pressure, the Morecambe defence stood their ground to claim the three points.

A draw would probably have been a fair result for the 40 or so visiting supporters who had made the long trek up the M6. Paul Hart will look for a more positive result on Friday night against Stevenage Borough.

Full-time: Morecambe 1 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

 

Teams:

 

Morecambe – Steven Drench, Adam Yates, David Perkins, Michael Howard, Craig Stanley, Michael Twiss, Ged Brannan, Danny Carlton (Matthew Shaw 75), David McNiven (Gary Hunter 85), Chris Blackburn (c), Fraser McLachlan.

Subs not used: Garry Thompson, Danny Meadowcroft, Scott Davies(GK).

Rushden & Diamonds – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson (Greg Pearson 80), Andrew Rigby (Tyrone Berry 61).

Subs not used: Danny Crane(GK), Lee Tomlin, Tom Shaw.

Booked: Perkins 56′ (foul on Kelly), Hope 57′ (foul on Carlton).

Sent off:-

Referee:R.Fletcher (Derbyshire)

Attendance:1,252

Reporters Man of the Match: Dave Savage

 

By Dave Mason

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