Rushden & Diamonds 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 3

Diamonds put up a spirited fight against high fliers Dagenham but succumbed to a first half injury time goal at Nene Park.

Despite reports to the contrary, Diamonds caretaker boss Tony Godden was able to name striker Lee Tomlin in his starting line-up while new signing Ben Sedgemore came straight into the side to replace injured midfielder Jon Ashton. Tom Shaw and Daniel Grainger passed late fitness tests to take their place on the bench.

Dagenham made one change from the side that lost at home to Oxford United in the FA Cup. Sam Sloma came into midfield in place of the injured Jake Leberl.

Diamonds made the perfect start when they took the lead in the very first minute. Glenn Wilson’s long throw was only half cleared by David Rainford and Marcus Kelly’s deflected header found the left hand corner of the net with the help of Tony Roberts despairing hand.

The visitor’s response was swift and decisive. Craig Mackail – Smith raced onto Sam Saunders flick and although Nicky Eyre superbly saved the first shot, Mackail – Smith was on hand to hit the ball home.

Five minutes later and Dagenham were in front. This time it was Mackail – Smith the provider and leading scorer Paul Benson beautifully skipped round Wayne Hatswell before sliding the ball past Eyre.

The game settled after that but Dagenham always looked the more likely to add to their lead while Diamonds were restricted to a weak Lee Tomlin effort and a speculative shot from Dave Savage

But six minutes from the interval Rushden scored an equaliser. Tyrone Berry’s cross from the right was adjudged to have been handled by Benson in the area, referee Horwood had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and defender Paul Watson stepped up to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

In the dying seconds of the half Dagenham regained their lead when Diamonds failed to clear a Sam Sloma corner from the right and Mackail – Smith stole in to head the loose ball home.

Half-time Rushden & Diamonds  2 – 3 Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham almost extended their lead within a minute of the restart when Glen Southam skipped past Wilson but Eyre made a fine diving save to turn the ball round the post.

Hatswell tried his luck from 30 yards but his free – kick was woeful before a mistake from Kelly almost let in Benson but despite drawing Eyre he could only find the side netting.

On 52 minutes a fine run from Tyrone Berry allowed Simeon Jackson a chance from 12 yards but Roberts produced a wonderful one handed save to deny the Canadian U 20 international.

Tomlin then saw his shot tipped over the bar by the impressive Roberts before Jackson saw another effort deflected over the bar.

Benson continued to look dangerous going forward for the visitors and he sent a rising drive just over the bar before Dagenham came close to making the game safe on 74 minutes. Sloma whipped a free – kick in from the right and Mackail – Smith rose to head the ball goalwards only to see Eyre pull off a fantastic save to divert the ball over the bar.

Never say die Diamonds kept on plugging away and eleven minutes from time Tomlin put Jackson through but the youngster failed to find the target. The same combination was responsible again in the dying seconds but Jackson disappointingly didn’t trouble Roberts from 8 yards.

So another disappointing result but Diamonds can take a great deal of credit from the way they matched their opponents and the only real difference between the sides was the calibre of the finishing.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: – Nicky Eyre, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Chris Hope (c), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Lee Tomlin (Daniel Chillingworth 84), Tyrone Berry, Ben Sedgemore (Tom Shaw 80)

Subs Not Used: Scott Tynan, Leo Fortune – West, Daniel Grainger

Dagenham & Redbridge –  Tony Roberts, Sam Sloma, Shane Beckett, Sam Saunders (Cliff Akurang 87), Glen Southam, Craig Mackail -Smith, David Rainford, Scott Griffiths, Paul Benson, Anwar Uddin (Capt), Danny Foster

Subs Not Used: David Hogan, Tim Cole, Bai Mas Lettjallow, Paul Bruce

Booked:  Sedgemoor 27 (Foul), Kelly 58 (Foul), Southam 74 (Foul)

Sent off:

Referee: Mr Graham Horwood

Attendance: 2,039 (Away 241)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Dave Savage

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