Rushden & Diamonds 1 Tamworth 1

 

Rushden and Diamonds failed to extend their winning streak at Nene Park following a dour 1-1 draw with Tamworth. Apart from a short spell either side of half-time, Diamonds failed to shine for Graham Westley’s first home game in charge, and a draw was a fair reflection on a game of little quality.

Manager Westley made two changes to the starting line up on Saturday, with Tyrone Berry returning in place of Glenn Wilson, and the injured Chillingworth being replaced by Lee Tomlin.

Tamworth lined up with Matty Williams replacing Taiwo Atieno up front, and Kyle Storer replacing Joe Kendrick in midfield.

A dull afternoon greeted the two teams, but after the conditions on Saturday it was a welcome improvement, with the Nene Park pitch looking in excellent condition.

Tamworth kicked off attacking the De Banke end, and it was quickly clear that Marcus Kelly had reverted to the wide left role, with Curtis Woodhouse playing in the central midfield role.

The first half was a pretty dour affair, with Tamworth starting the more brightly, with a couple of attacks that easily breached the Diamonds defence, one of which resulting in a goal ruled out for offside. Diamonds seemed to resort to a number of long balls to Michael Rankine, whose workrate again impressed, but they resulted in little threat to Viega’s goal.

One of the bright spots was a move involving Tomlin, Rankine, Savage and Berry, with Tomlin narrowly failing to knock home the low Berry cross.

Diamonds’ main threat was the shaky Tamworth defence’s willingness to concede corners on their left, and Marcus Kelly corners threatened to repeat the outcome against Cambridge, with two of them almost curling in. A further one was met by Michael Rankine’s head on the near post, but his powerful header was straight at goalkeeper Viega.

On 41 minutes Diamonds took the lead with a goal that reflected the state of the game. A dangerous Tyrone Berry cross was completely missed by Michael Rankine, but it broke to Paul Watson, but he screwed his shot across the area, but luckily straight to Dave Savage who slotted the ball home.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Tamworth

Diamonds came out for the second half looking more purposeful, with Lee Tomlin forcing his way into the area and setting up Michael Rankine who put the ball over.

At the other end Steve Burton remained a threat, and forced a great save from Tynan after a neat dummy by a team-mate tricked the Diamonds defence.

A good run by Dave Savage from the centre circle was halted with a foul tackle on the edge of the Tamworth "D" but Paul Watson’s dipping free kick was well saved by Viega.

Marcus Kelly had to leave the field on 53 minutes after sustaining a suspected dislocated shoulder in a challenge. Curtis Woodhouse went into the referee’s notebook shortly afterwards for a lunging challenge as he tried to tackle back after losing the ball in midfield.

Another Berry cross threatened a second goal, with a Lee Tomlin header being blocked, and at the other end Jon Ashton made a great block on a shot from Adie Smith.

On 72 minutes, Tamworth made their first substitution, with Taiwo Atieno replacing Matty Williams, and with his first touch as he ran into the area he turned past Chris Hope and slotted the ball into the goal at a narrow angle.

The match then turned even more scrappy, with both sides struggling to find a rhythm, but on 89 minutes Diamonds had a major appeal for a penalty, as a raid into the area resulted in the ball striking a Tamworth defender on the arm – but the referee waved away claims for a penalty.

One more incident might have brought an undeserved deciding goal, as Simeon Jackson broke through clean on goal, but Viega managed to somehow knock the ball away without handling outside of his area.

The final score was a fair one for a game that won’t be remembered very far into 2007 and certainly didn’t help to clear any New Year hangovers.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 1 Tamworth

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Scott Tynan, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope, Wayne Hatswell, Dave Savage, Michael Rankine, Marcus Kelly (Simeon Jackson – 53), Lee Tomlin (Tom Shaw – 70), Tyrone Berry, Curtis Woodhouse.

Subs not used: Martyn Margarson, Glenn Wilson, Ben Sedgemore

Tamworth: Jose Viega, Adie Smith, Kyle Storer, Steve Burton, Matty Williams (Taiwo Atieno 72), Daryl Taylor (Jon Stevenson – 86), Tom Kemp, Simon Weaver, John McGrath, Ryan Laight, Simon Heslop

Subs Not Used: Dale Belford, Graeme Law, Mark Cooper

Goals : Savage (43), Atieno (72)

Booked: Williams (34 – Foul), Woodhouse (61- Foul), Atieno (73 – Ungentlemanly Conduct), Savage (89 – Dissent), Storer (90+2 Foul)

Sent Off:

Referee: Mr C Evans

Attendance: 1872 (Away 145).

Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by Robin Bailey: Michael Rankine

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