Rushden & Diamonds 3 Yeovil Town 1

Diamonds produced a major shock after a magnificent display knocked Yeovil out of the F A Cup at Nene Park.

The home side opened the scoring through captain Chris Hope before Michae Rankine doubled the lead early in the second half. Chris Cohen pulled one back for the visitors before Rankine sent the Diamonds fans wild with a clynical strike.

Caretaker manager Tony Godden made three changes to the side that narrowly lost at home to Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend. Scott Tynan was preferred to Nicky Eyre in goal; Michael Rankine replaced Simeon Jackson in attack while Tom Shaw got the nod over Ben Sedgemore.

Yeovil were without four of their regular players including both central defenders – Terry Skiverton was injured while Scott Guyett was suspended – while both loanees Marcus Stewart and Martin Britton were unavailable.

Yeovil started like a train forcing early corners but it was Diamonds who created the first shot on goal after three minutes when Steve Mildenhall produced a wonderful save to deny Paul Watson’s fine volley. From the resultant corner Lee Tomlin just couldn’t direct his short range effort past the Yeovil ‘keeper after receiving Shaw’s overhead kick.

On 9 minutes there were loud appeals for a penalty after Rankine went sprawling in the area but referee Mr Singh rightly had none of it.

After a period of Diamonds dominance, the visitors came back into the game a little more with two efforts from Lee Morris comfortably dealt with by Tynan although the recalled ‘keeper did have his hands stung in the 17th minute following a rasping shot from Wayne Gray.

But it was Diamonds who looked the better side and they certainly weren’t daunted by their League One opponents. Yeovil’s patched up defence looked somewhat disorganised and moments later Mildenhall flapped at Watson’s corner before Shaw wasn’t too far away with a long range effort that went narrowly wide.

The breakthrough came after 28 minutes. Glenn Wilson’s throw-in picked out Dave Savage and the club captain’s first time cross allowed Hope to rise majestically above the Yeovil defence and glance the ball home.

It was no more than Diamonds deserved but could they continue their dominance? They certainly didn’t rest on their laurels and Tomlin – with his back towards goal – was unlucky when his flick went over the bar. Rankine’s header was too high before Shaw saw an attempted curler miss the target.

The home side went into the interval to a standing ovation and rightly so!

Half – time Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Yeovil Town

Diamonds opened the second period with an excellent run from Tomlin down the right as he continued to tease his opponents at will. Mildenhall played it safe shortly after by tipping a cross over the bar as Diamonds forced three corners in as many minutes.

The home side’s domination produced a second goal on 54 minutes thanks to a fine piece of opportunism from Rankine. Marcus Kelly headed on a long kick up field and Rankine hit a first time shot past Mildenhall from 25 yards. The celebrations said it all. Diamonds had one foot in the second round.

The visitors, who had been disappointing throughout – not surprisingly started to create one or two chances but it was Diamonds who came back looking for more. Another great run from Tomlin down the right came to nothing but on 56 minutes Nathan Jones had to clear Wayne Hatswell’s header off the line following Kelly’s corner.

Tynan did well to hold Mark Lynch’s shot before The Glovers threw themselves a lifeline on 61 minutes. Anthony  Barry threaded a pass through to Cohen on the right and the midfielder’s superb left foot curler gave Tynan no chance as it hit the roof of the net.

Now how would Diamonds react? They almost found themselves back on level terms within seconds of Yeovil’s goal when Morris’ 20 yard shot whistled inches past Tynan’s right hand post. Diamonds fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Yeovil were enjoying their best spell of the game but the Diamonds faithful needn’t have worried. On 75 minutes Kelly’s corner on the right beat everyone apart from the alert Rankine and the youngster superbly flung out a left boot to volley past the surprised Mildenhall.

The celebrations started again and while Cohen hit the post shortly after it was really game, set and match to the Conference side who made their opponents look second best. 63 places separated these old rivals but today you wouldn’t have known it! Diamonds go through to the second round and how they deserved their moment of glory!

Teams:

Diamonds: Scott Tynan, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Chris Hope (Capt), Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine (Daniel Chillingworth 86), Marcus Kelly, Lee Tomlin (Simeon Jackson 82), Tyrone Berry, Tom Shaw (Ben Sedgemore 90)

Suns not used: Nicky Eyre, Daniel Grainger

Yeovil Town: Steve Mildenhall (Capt), Anthony Tonkin (Bradley Thomas 56), Nathan Jones, Terrell Forbes, Anthony Barry, Arron Davies, Wayne Gray (Daniel Webb 85), Chris Cohen, Mark Lynch, Lee Morris (Ishmael Welsh 77)

Referee: Mr J Singh

Booked: Shaw

Attendance: 2,530 (Away 599)

Diamonds MOM: Who else but the entire team -  but special mention to Tony Godden for getting his tactics spot on !

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