Rushden & Diamonds 3 Altrincham 0

Diamonds kept the same team that earned a very good point at Weymouth last weekend while Altrincham retained the side that finished the 2 – 1 home victory against Southport.

Diamonds enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges with Marcus Kelly’s ricochet falling just wide.

Joe O’Neill saw a header held by Nicky Eyre on 3 minutes before good play from Lee Tomlin down the right caused Karl Munroe to almost put through his own net with Simeon Jackson lurking behind.

There were loud appeals for a penalty on 17 minutes. Great skill from Tomlin saw him beat two players before he teed up a shot from the edge of the penalty area which Munroe seemed to handle but referee Hopkins saw nothing wrong.

Moments later good work from Jackson set up Tomlin but the youngster blazed over a great chance from 12 yards.

Three minutes later Altrincham came mightily close to taking the lead. Warren Payton won the ball out on the right and when the cross came in Munroe’s header looked to be heading for the bottom left hand corner before Eyre produced a fantastic one handed save to keep Diamonds level.

Jackson fired a 25yards effort go just wide of the left hand post before Tomlin suffered the same fate after latching onto Jackson’s fine pass.

The two Rushden strikers were linking up well and causing real problems to the Alti defence with their pace and guile. However, Diamonds suffered a setback on 29 minutes when Jon Ashton was stretchered off with a leg injury following a tackle which left three players injured. Tom Shaw was the replacement.

Five minutes from the interval Diamonds took a deserved lead when Jackson headed on a long through ball to Tomlin who ran on and scored superbly from a difficult angle.

Half-time Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Altrincham

Diamonds started the second half as they finished the first and it was no real surprise when they extended their lead on 48 minutes. Tyrone Berry latched onto Wayne Hatswell’s head back before racing into the penalty area. The tricky winger picked out Shaw 18 yards out and the substitute struck the ball first time past Richard Acton.

Two minutes later there was a rare opportunity for the visitors when Warren Peyton shot through a crowded defence but Eyre’s positioning was immaculate again and he did well to get down and save.

Hatswell’s then underhit a pass which almost put Eyre in trouble but the Diamonds ‘keeper was able to slice the ball away from danger.

A great turn from Tomlin gave the youngster time to shoot but his shot went inches wide of the left hand upright.

The visitors started to lose their composure and received 5 bookings in 18 minutes.

However, Diamonds made the game safe 14 minutes from time with a well worked goal. A superb 1 – 2 between Kelly and Tomlin allowed Kelly to pick out Jackson 6 yards out and he made no mistake for his 9th goal of the season.

It was all Diamonds now and they could have scored more but the visitors, to their credit, never gave up although they always second best against.

League One side Yeovil will be the first round opponents in November.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 3 – 0 Altrincham

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: –  Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton (Tom Shaw 32) Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson (Michael Rankine 83), Lee Tomlin (Daniel Chillingworth 90), Tyrone Berry

Subs Not Used: Scott Tynan, Andrew Rigby

Altrincham – Richard Acton, Stephen Aspinall, Gary Scott (Colin Potts 51), Robbie Lawton (Capt), Val Owen, Rod Thornley (Colin Little 62), Warren Peyton, Joe O’Neill, Lewis Chalmers, Karl Munroe, Stephen Rose (Edward Hussin 62)

Subs Not Used: Stuart Coburn, Gary Talbot.

Booked:  Owen 56, Lawton 68, Aspinall 70, Munroe 71, Jackson 72, Chalmers 74, Tomlin 90

Sent off:

Referee: Mr J Hopkins

Attendance:  1,509(168 Away fans)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Lee Tomlin

By Chris Barritt

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