York City 2 Rushden & Diamonds 3

Following successive defeats against Ebbsfleet, Torquay and Kidderminster, Diamonds scraped a victory thanks to an 86th minute own goal in front of the Setanta TV cameras. Although York had taken the lead on two occasions, Andy Burgess and Michael Rankine cancelled out goals from Richard Brodie and Martyn Woolford before debutant Darren Kelly put through his own goal to hand the three points to Garry Hill’s men.

Hill had signed French left back Adbou El Kholti earlier in the day and the former Grays and Weymouth defender was named in the starting line up. Curtis Woodhouse returned from his one match suspension for the red card received at Torquay, while Andy Burgess also started in place of Tom Shaw and Simeon Jackson. Michael Rankine was the lone striker, although Jon Challinor was pushed forward to provide support.

York were in a similar position to Diamonds having gained 4 points from their opening 5 games and manager Billy McEwan had made two signings in the 48 hours prior to the match to try to bolster his squad. Former Northern Ireland Under-21 defender Darren Kelly had arrived from Derry City for a five figure transfer fee and started, although former Barnsley midfielder was not named in the sixteen. Daniel Parslow, Ross Greenwood and Onome Sodje were dropped to the bench following Mondays last minute win at Northwich Victoria, while Ben Purkiss Craig Farrell and captain Emmanuel Panther were named in the starting eleven.

Diamonds started the half strongly and looked eager to gain the upper hand early on. Within the first minute, Dean Howell’s cross from the left bounced on the top of the bar. It wasn’t long however before the home side started to create some chances themselves. A free kick ten yards outside the area was fired into the wall and cleared by Michael Rankine, while keeper Paul Bastock had to punch away a dangerous cross from Martyn Woolford. Woolford, Richard Brodie and Paul Brayson were combining well up front for York and Curtis Osano made an excellent clearance as Brodie advanced towards goal. Brodie got the ball in the net on 16 minutes but was ruled offside.

Diamonds tried to counter attack and after a mis-hit shot from Rankine, Burgess’ drive from the right was turned behind by Mark Robinson for a corner. Disaster struck for Diamonds on 20 minutes as York took the lead. Emmanuel Panther split the Diamonds defence with a ball through the centre to Richard Brodie who slipped away from Wayne Hatswell and shot under Bastock and into the net.

Jon Challinor tried to get an immediate reply, heading over unchallenged from a Burgess corner but although Diamonds had been holding their own up until the goal, the defence started to look very frail as the home side started to pass with more confidence. Abdou El Kholti just managed to get a challenge on the unmarked Craig Farrell and Paul Brayson shot just wide. Darren Kelly headed straight at Bastock and it seemed only a matter of time before York added a second, but they were left to rue several missed chances when Diamonds equalised on 38 minutes. As the ball was chipped forward from Woodhouse, Andy Burgess took advantage of some hesitation from Mark Robinson and sneaked in to take the ball away from the York keeper Tom Evans and slot the ball in from a tight angle.

Brodie and Panther both went into the referees note book for fouls on Hatswell and Woodhouse respectively as their frustration started to show. Brayson had the final chance of the half with a turn and shot which went just past the post and seemed to typify the number of wasted efforts on goal.

Half-time: York City 1 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds


The half time break saw the Archbishop of York cut a cake to celebrate 75 years of football at Bootham Crescent after the club had moved from their initial ground at Fulfordgate on 31 August 1932. The Minstermen had been held to a 2-2 draw by Stockport County on that occasion.

Diamonds started quite strongly again although Bastock had to be alert to palm over a Mark Robinson chip. On 51 minutes, Stuart Elliott was dispossessed and Rankine sent a fierce shot towards goal which the keeper was unable to hold and pushed away for a corner. Brodie and Brayson were still causing problems for the Diamonds defence with their quick feet and incisive passing and it wasn’t long before York were in front again. On 54 minutes, Brayson’s quick thinking allowed Martyn Woolford a chance to put York in front again and he made no mistake with a right foot shot past Bastock.

York continued to miss chances to make the game safe. Brayson had the ball in the net again on 65 minutes, but Diamonds were awarded a free kick for a foul by David McGurk on Bastock. Richard Brodie also shot into the side netting, as Diamonds appeared helpless to stem the onslaught. Tom Shaw replaced Martin Foster on 68 minutes as Garry Hill tried to change things around. Shaw in fact had a good chance within a minute of his arrival, but shot wide from a good position, but it was in fact the York substitutions which came to the aid of Diamonds. With Richard Brodie coming off after 72 minutes, Diamonds got a second wind. The striker had caused all sorts of problems and received a standing ovation from the home fans when he was replaced, but Diamonds were level within 4 minutes. Tom Shaw was allowed time to send a long ball to the far side of the area, where Dean Howell nodded the ball down. Michael Rankine pounced and shot under Tom Evans to make the score 2-2.

York seemed to lose their attacking flair although Woolford shot over the bar. Diamonds had the ball in the net again on 79 minutes when Lee Tomlin’s shot was parried by the keeper, and Rankine followed up to put the ball in the net but he was ruled offside.

Paul Brayson was replaced by Onome Sodje on 82 minutes and within 4 minutes again, Diamonds went in front. Simeon Jackson forced a corner on the right, and as Woodhouse sent the ball into the crowded area, Darren Kelly turned the ball past Evans after a deflection from Craig Farrell to give Diamonds the lead.

Craig Farrell had a couple of half chances in the final few minutes – the first striking the woodwork and the second being punched away by Bastock, but Diamonds held out for the remaining minutes to take the three points

Full-time: York City 2 – 3 Rushden & Diamonds


Although Diamonds performance was a lot better then Monday’s home defeat against Kidderminster, the defence still looks to be somewhat shaky, and only poor finishing from York allowed them to snatch the three points. Michael Rankine worked tirelessly up front and deserved the Man of the Match award. Next up is Crawley Town who visit Nene Park on Tuesday evening (4th September) kick-off 7.45pm.


York City – Evans, Robinson, Elliott, McGurk, Panther (Greenwood 53), Brayson (Sodje 82), Farrell, Woolford, Brodie (Beardsley 72), Purkiss, Kelly.

Subs not used: Pentney, Parslow.

Rushden & Diamonds – Bastock, Osano, Hope(c), Hatswell, Challinor (Tomlin 74), Woodhouse, Burgess (Jackson 80), Rankine, Foster (Shaw 68), Howell, El Kholti.

Subs not used: Nicholls, Gulliver.

Goals:              Brodie 20 (1-0); Burgess 38 (1-1);

Woolford 54 (2-1); Rankine 76 (2-2);

Kelly-og 86 (2-3).


Booked:           Brodie 40 (foul); Panther 45 (foul);

Osano 60 (foul).

Referee:           Mr C Pawson (S.Yorks)

Attendance:     2044 (58 away).

Travel Club Man of the Match – Michael Rankine.

By Dave Mason


Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1


Rushden & Diamonds fell to their third straight defeat after being outplayed and outthought by Kidderminster Harriers in an uninspiring game in the Nene Park sunshine.

Manager Garry Hill made one change from the team that started in the defeat at Torquay on Saturday, with the suspended Curtis Woodhouse being replaced by Tom Shaw. There were places on the bench for Andy Burgess on his Nene Park return and Ryan Semple alongside Lee Tomlin and Paul Watson.

Kidderminster manager Mark Yates made one change from the team that lost at home to Stevenage on Friday night, with Brian Smikle dropping to the bench, replaced by Andy Ferrell.

On a warm afternoon Kidderminster kicked off towards the Peter De Banke terrace. An early Diamonds attack saw Tom Shaw fouled near the touchline, and a Dean Howell free kick reaching Michael Rankine, whose header was punched into the air by Scott Bevan, and the ball looped back to the striker, but Bevan was equal to the resultant shot.

With the Diamonds starting more brightly, Simeon Jackson was laid in by Dean Howell, but his shot was comfortably saved by Bevan.

At the other end Kidderminster threatened with long angled balls into the area by their full backs, and as one of these was cleared it was met by Russell Penn but his shot cleared the roof of the stand by some distance.

On 11 minutes Diamonds had their best chance of the half, as Simeon Jackson was fed by Dean Howell, and his run across the front of the area was halted by a foul challenge. Chris Hope’s attempt from the free kick just cleared Bevan’s bar.

Kidderminster then dominated the remaining 30 minutes of the half. Russell Penn had a great chance as a ball flashed across the area, and a similar dangerous looking cross from Michael Blackwood eluded all of the oncoming Harriers forwards. James Constable saw a shot loop off the boot of Chris Hope and over Bastock’s bar.

Diamonds did create one chance in the last 30 minutes of the half, with a great run by Dean Howell and a dangerous cross from the by-line being stepped over by Michael Rankine leaving Simeon Jackson with the goal gaping, but he was only able to sky the ball over the bar when it looked far easier to hit the target.

Jonny Harkness then took centre stage, as he started a move involving Ferrell and Richards, and was then fouled by Martin Foster on the edge of the box. The left back took the resultant free-kick and hit it straight through a poor wall, but Bastock made an excellent save. A minute later Harkness saw a well-hit shot dip just over the bar as the lack of an attacking threat from the Diamonds allowed him to get further forward. The final action of the half saw James Constable make a dangerous break down the left, and Paul Bastock was forced to prevent him getting past by committing a foul outside of the box that saw him pick up a yellow card, and the keeper than saved his side by palming away the Kenna Free kick..

Scott Bevan was called into action on a rare occasion just as the half-time whistle approached when Wayne Hatswell headed on a Tom Shaw corner.

It would thus have been Mark Yates that was more disappointed that his side was not ahead as the sides went in for half-time.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kidderminster Harriers 0

The second half started with a couple of promising Diamonds attacks as Curtis Osano did well to get through the Harriers defence and get in a cross which was cleared for a corner. He then rescued his side at the other end as James Constable broke clear to the left of the penalty box, and Paul Bastock had to resist a challenge for fear of a second yellow card, but Osano was able to clear for a corner.

On 53 minutes Harriers came close to breaking the deadlock as a Harkness free-kick after Chris Hope had fouled Justin Richards on the edge of the box went over the wall and glanced off the bar and over to safety.

Dean Howell then increased concerns about the number of bookings being picked up for dissent as he kicked the ball away after conceding a corner.

Simeon Jackson was looking more of a threat outside of the box, and he set up Tom Shaw for a shot that was well saved down to his left by Scott Bevan.

On the hour mark Kidderminster took a deserved lead, with a break down the left by James Constable and his excellent cross was met by a decisive header by Russell Penn as Dean Howell failed to get in a challenge.

Although Garry Hill then tried a number of substitutions to spark some life into his lethargic side, it was Kidderminster who looked more likely to get a second goal with Constable, Penn and Richards combining well, and each of them guilty of wasting good chances, notably James Constable after receiving the ball in acres of space in the penalty box.

The most threatening Diamonds attack saw an Andy Burgess cross finding Simeon Jackson, but Scott Bevan was able to use his height to smother the striker’s attempt. Jackson also missed another great chance on 81 minutes when a Ryan Semple cross from the right found him in plenty of space, but a poor shot was easily dealt with.

The match then went into 4 minutes of added time, but Diamonds could not threaten what would have been an undeserved equaliser.

A disappointing performance from the Diamonds in a dour game thus resulted in the third defeat in a row for the Diamonds. There is now only a short rest for the Rushden players before the televised game at York on Thursday night.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1


Rushden & Diamonds (White) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Phil Gulliver (Andy Burgess 65), Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell (Ryan Semple 74), Martin Foster, Jon Challinor (Lee Tomlin 69), Tom Shaw, Dean Howell, Simeon Jackson, Michael Rankine

Subs not used: Paul Nicholls, Paul Watson

Kidderminster Harriers (Yellow / Blue) : Scott Bevan, Jeff Kenna, Jonny Harkness, Gavin Hurren, Mark Creighton, Stuart Whitehead, James Constable (Paul Bignot 89), Justin Richards (Iyseden Christie 85), Russell Penn, Michael Blackwood, Andy Ferrell

Subs Not Used: Dean Coleman, Brian Smikle, Matt Barnes-Horner

Goal : Penn

Yellow Cards : Bastock, Howell

Referee: R Fletcher

Attendance: 1653 (Away 234).

Man of the Match sponsored by A&J Sectional Buildings : Chris Hope

Torquay United 3 Rushden & Diamonds 2


Rushden & Diamonds fell to their first away defeat of the 2007-08 Blue Square Premier campaign with a controversial 3-2 defeat by Torquay United at Plainmoor.

Manager Garry Hill gave a Diamonds league debut to Martin Foster, and Andy Burgess returned to the squad with a place on the bench after his sabbatical at Oxford. Michael Rankine returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Lee Tomlin. Those changes meant Paul Watson dropped to the bench and Ryan Semple dropped out of the squad as the team started in a 3-5-2 formation.

Torquay United manager Paul Buckle fielded a the side that started the game at Northwich Victoria, with Tim Sills facing the Diamonds after the speculation of a possible move to Nene Park during the summer.

On a hot summer afternoon Torquay kicked off attacking the empty Sparkworld Away Stand – the travelling Diamonds fans had been corralled into a corner of the main stand..

Some initial attacking breaks by Torquay saw Phil Gulliver under some pressure, and in one of these he was hustled off the ball by Tim Sills, with the ball falling to the lively Chris Zebroski whose shot was easily gathered by Paul Bastock.

It was then the Diamonds that dominated the remainder of first quarter with a number of chances. A quick free kick by Jon Challinor found Dean Howell, and his cross was well controlled by Michael Rankine, but his shot on the turn was blocked, coming out of the box to Curtis Woodhouse, whose shot was well over the bar.

On 8 minutes, Simeon Jackson then did very well to chest down a long ball into the path of Michael Rankine, but the striker’s powerful shot was well saved by Simon Rayner down to his right.

A minute later Jacko again fed Rankine, this time with his head, and this time Rankine went on a run, feeding Jon Challinor, but his shot was blocked by a defender.

On 10 minutes Curtis Woodhouse jumped into a tackle with Lee Mansell, and earned the first yellow card of the game, with the ex-Oxford midfielder having to leave the pitch, and he was replaced by Matt Hockley.

The match then evened up, with both sides continuing to find space in midfield, with a powerful Martin Foster shot flying just wide of Rayner’s goal, and at the other end a Gulls freekick was flicked on to the post by Sills.

After a scare in the area when Paul Bastock lost his grip on a cross as he fell backwards, Diamonds had their best chance of the half on 28 minutes. Gulls defender Woods was booked for a challenge on Jackson, and in a rehearsed free kick move, Jon Challinor hit a short ball to Simeon Jackson, who quickly laid it off to Wayne Hatswell on the edge of the six-yard box, but his shot was smothered by Rayner.

On 38 minutes, Michael Rankine made a threatening run towards the box, but the run proved much better than a very wayward shot. Dean Howell continued to threaten down the left, with several dangerous looking crosses from the left.

The final action of the half was at the other end, as an increasingly rare Torquay attack saw a headed attempt from Lee Phillips almost get flicked on by Chris Zebroski, but the Diamonds defence managed to smother.

Half-time: Torquay United 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

After Diamonds had seen the best of the first half, Torquay manager Paul Buckle had clearly fired up his players for the second half, and for the first 15 minutes it was one way traffic on the Diamonds goal.

Firstly, Phil Gulliver was outpaced by Tim Sills but Paul Bastock managed to block the striker’s attempt on goal, but as it looped back down into the area Curtis Osano helped out to get the ball away from an oncoming attacker, and finally the ball was cleared by Martin Foster.

Five minutes in to the half, Tim Sills again threatened on the right, and Wayne Hatswell was forced to concede a corner – the first of the game for Torquay. Kevin Nicholson took a powerful inswinging corner with his left foot, which went over the heads of the Diamonds defence and Tim Sills was able to head home.

Worse was to follow within two minutes, as an innocuous ball into the box took an uneven bounce, and Curtis Osano was too slow to get his arm out of the way. Views will differ whether a penalty should have been awarded, but it was certainly a soft one. Lee Phillips easily despatched the penalty to Bastock’s left.

Chris Zebroski was continuing to give Phil Gulliver plenty of problems, but the defender stuck to his task doggedly. Chris Hargreaves illustrated the extent of the Diamonds’ defence stupor at this stage of the game with a run straight past three of them, but his shot was dragged just wide of goal.

The third goal wasn’t too long coming though, as on 67 minutes Torquay won a corner, this time on the left hand side, so Nicholson hit an outswinger, finding Chris Zebroski in far too much space to hit a shot low to Bastock’s right.

At this point Diamonds finally woke up, and after a false alarm with an offside "goal", Simeon Jackson showed great touch to find Tom Shaw on the edge of the box, and his vision allowed him to find Michael Rankine unmarked inside the box, and he was able to beat Rayner down to his right.

Andy Burgess then made his return to the Diamonds side, as Diamonds reverted to 4-4-2, and for a while the game calmed down, with just a variety of substitutions, but, just before the 90 minute mark was reached, a run by Lee Tomlin saw him fall in the box under a challenge, and a penalty was awarded.

Curtis Woodhouse converted his attempt at the spot-kick easily, but the referee had seen some encroachment in the area and ordered a retake. On his second attempt, Woodhouse pulled up and stepped over the ball, apparently in response to a shout to him to stop. However, referee Phillips saw this as an offence, and one worthy of a Yellow Card – which meant that Woodhouse was shown a red card. Dean Howell then stepped up to convert the spot kick at the third attempt.

As the match moved into injury time, Diamonds had one further meaningful attack, with Tom Shaw finding space in the area, but his shot only found the side netting. Referee Phillips continued to be the centre of attention with further bookings until he blew the final whistle.

So the game ended with a Torquay win, and a lively interchange between players and team officials at the end, with the Torquay fans staying behind to applaud the referee’s performance.

The five goals in the second half certainly livened up the hot afternoon at Plainmoor, but it appeared that Diamonds had decided to have a siesta in the summer sunshine at the start of the second half. Once awoken the battle really started as the Diamonds pulled two goals back and saw Curtis Woodhouse sent off in controversial fashion, then saw Tom Shaw almost snatch an equaliser in a moment that had shades of the game at St Albans last season. Apart from the fifteen minutes at the start of the second half Diamonds were able to match Torquay for most of the game, but it will be a long trip back to Northamptonshire for the 120 or so Diamonds fans, as they contemplate the visit of old rivals Kidderminster on Monday.

Full-time: Torquay United 3 – 2 Rushden & Diamonds


Torquay United (Yellow):

Simon Rayner, Kevin Nicholson, Steve Woods, Chris Robertson, Chris Todd, Lee Mansell (Matt Hockley 14m), Tim Sills (Ishmael Welsh 75m), Lee Phillips, Chris Hargreaves, Danny Stevens, Chris Zebroski (Benyon Elliott 80m)

Subs Not Used: Martin Rice, Danny Wring

Rushden & Diamonds (Red) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Phil Gulliver, Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell (Andy Burgess 71m), Jon Challinor, Curtis Woodhouse, Martin Foster (Tom Shaw 60m), Simeon Jackson (Lee Tomlin 77m), Michael Rankine, Dean Howell.

Subs not used:Paul Nicholls, Paul Watson

Goals : Sills, Phillips (Pen), Zebroski, Rankine, Howell (Pen)

Yellow Cards : Woodhouse, Woods, Howell, Benyon, Hockley, Tomlin

Red Card : Woodhouse

Referee: Mr D Phillips

Attendance: 3017 (Away approx 120)

Diamonds Man of the Match : Dean Howell

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Ebbsfleet United 1


Rushden & Diamonds slipped to their first defeat in the Blue Square Premier with a single goal defeat by to Ebbsfleet United in an uninspiring game in the Nene Park rain.

Manager Garry Hill made one change from the team that overcame Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night, with Simeon Jackson starting at the expense of Michael Rankine in a 4-4-2 line-up..

Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish was only forced to make one change to the team that lost at Salisbury, despite earlier speculation about wholesale changes – the ex-Diamond Michael Bostwick replaced the injured Neil Barrett – and Daish also preferred George Purcell to Phil Starkey.

On a cold, dull and ultimately wet afternoon, Diamonds kicked off towards the empty Airwair stand. The first fifteen minutes were very uneventful, with both sets of fans finding little to cheer about, as neither side seemed able to create any openings, with the only serious attempt on goal being a long shot from Sacha Opinel which easily cleared the bar.

On 16 minutes Diamonds had their first serious chance, following good work from Curtis Woodhouse in the centre of the field, making space to hit a ball down the left channel towards Simeon Jackson, but the strikers shot was high and wide to the left of the goal.

Ebbsfleet then managed to create the first real goal threat of the game on 25 minutes, as a poor defensive header from Chris Hope dropped straight to Luke Moore, who hit a powerful shot that was well caught by Bastock,

After half an hour of very poor entertainment, Ebbsfleet gave their travelling fans something to cheer as Stacy Long set up Mark De Bolla on the right hand side of the box, and although the midfielder’s shot was poor, it went across goal to the unmarked George Purcell who slotted easily past Bastock.

Diamonds had one more threatening attack before the end of the half with a Chris Hope header from a Hatswell free kick finding Lee Tomlin just outside the six yard box, but an alert defence smothered the strikers shot.

The half ended without Scott Tynan having had a save to make, and left the Diamonds fans wondering what changes might be made to liven things up.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United

The second half started in a much more lively fashion, with good work from Jon Challinor finding Simeon Jackson in space on the right hand edge of the area, but his cross to Lee Tomlin reached the striker at the same time as a defender’s challenge.

At the other end Michael Bostwick was getting further forwards for Ebbsfleet, and had two dangerous looking shots in quick succession. The Kent side were looking dangerous on the break, and good combination between Luke Moore and Chukki Eribenne saw the latter break free down the right, and it was only a great tackle by Curtis Osano that prevented Moore converting the return cross.

Curtis Osano was also starting to get forwards more, and one great run infield saw him burst towards the box and find Lee Tomlin, but not for the first time of the afternoon the striker’s shot was well over the bar.

Jon Challinor also started linking up better with the strikers, and one good move saw Lee Tomlin get a shot on target, but Tynan gathered comfortably. As the attacking got more anxious the number of offside decisions start to increase.

On 61 minutes came the change the Diamonds fans had been looking for, with a switch to a 3-5-2 formation with Michael Rankine playing up front with Jackson.

Initially this brought a number of half-chances, most of which resulted in Tomlin shots over the bar, but Simeon Jackson forced a corner with a good run into the box, and although the corner was cleared, Dean Howell found Phil Gulliver in space, but his header was well saved by Tynan.

There was still a threat from Ebbsfleet on the break, with Purcell, Moore and Long combining to force a good stop from Bastock, and a few minutes later a Moore and Long interchange forced another good save.

At the other end the Diamonds threatened as substitute Shaw livened up the attacking options, and Curtis Osano started getting past his man. On one of these runs Osano hit a powerful shot that Tynan did well to save, and others saw dangerous crosses being blocked, or moves breaking down due to Diamonds players straying offside.

Ebbsfleet had been taking opportunities to waste time during the half, and, as well as booking two players, referee Yeo added on 5 minutes of additional time. In this period Diamonds had two great chances to snatch an equaliser – the first was a result of a great cross from the left from Tom Shaw, finding Simeon Jackson in the most space he had found all afternoon in the box, but his header was high and wide. Finally a Chris Hope header found Curtis Osano just outside the box but his powerful shot just missed the top corner.

A disappointing game thus ended in the first defeat of the season, and manager Hill will be considering the fact that the only saves that his ex-Goalkeeper Tynan had to make were from two of his defenders, as his strikeforce is still to get on the scoresheet this season.

The Bank Holiday Saturday game at high flying Torquay is next up, quickly followed by old rivals Kidderminster at Nene Park on the Monday.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Ebbsfleet United 1


Rushden & Diamonds (White) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell, Paul Watson (Phil Gulliver 61), Ryan Semple (Michael Rankine 61), Jon Challinor, Curtis Woodhouse, Dean Howell, Lee Tomlin (Tom Shaw 76), Simeon Jackson

Subs not used:Paul Nicholls, Lawrence Lambley

Ebbsfleet United (Yellow / Black) : Scott Tynan, Peter Hawkins, Michael Bostwick (Phil Starkey 84), Paul McCarthy, George Purcell, Sacha Opinel, Stacy Long, Mark De Bolla (Liam Coleman 72), Chris McPhee, Luke Moore, Chukki Eribenne (Raphael Nade 65).

Subs Not Used:Sam Mott, Dan Stubbs

Goals : Purcell

Yellow Cards : Bostwick, Woodhouse, Moore, Purcell

Referee: Keith Yeo (Essex)

Attendance: 1456 (Away 71).

Reporters Man of the Match : Curtis Osano

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Farsley Celtic 0


Rushden & Diamonds earned their first win of their Blue Square Premier campaign with a 1-0 win over Farsley Celtic in an entertaining game at Nene Park.

Manager Garry Hill gave home league debuts to three of his summer signings, with Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano and Jon Challinor all pulling on the Diamonds shirt for the first time at Nene Park in a league game, with loanee Ryan Semple also starting in a 4-4-2 line-up. Paul Watson returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Phil Gulliver. Lee Tomlin partnered Michael Rankine up front, with Dean Howell playing wide left.

Farsley Celtic manager Lee Sinnott was forced into several changes from the team that beat Stafford Rangers on Saturday, with James Knowles suspended, and goalkeeper Paul Cuss unavailable, plus various injuries. This was the Yorkshire team’s first away game at this level, and they brought a small but vocal following.

On a breezy evening Diamonds kicked off towards the De Banke end, but it was Farsley who took the early initiative with a series of four corners, the first three of which, taken by Farsley’s main playmaker Simeon Bambrook, presented the Diamonds defence with some serious concerns.

On 6 minutes Semple and Osano combined on the right flank to put in a cross which resulted in a Dean Howell header which was forced out for the Diamonds first corner, and it was Howell again who had an attempt on goal after Chris Hope headed on the corner kick.

Lee Tomlin was relishing the opportunity to run at the Celtic defence, and his powerful shot was deflected narrowly wide for a corner. Howell and Watson were combining well down the left, as the 4-4-2 formation began to settle, and it was from a Howell cross that a Chris Hope header went narrowly over.

On 12 minutes Dean Howell went into the book after he failed to control a loose ball, and his attempt to retrieve it meant he was marginally late in his tackle on Graham Law.

Goalmouth action continued, with further corners for both sides, although there were few occasions when either goalkeeper was called upon to make a save. Lee Tomlin continued to make inroads into the Farsley defence, with Paul Watson spotting his run, and the striker was able to beat his marker, and hit a powerful shot against the post. The ball broke to Jon Challinor, whose shot was blocked, and then to Dean Howell, before Tomlin had a second attempt, with this one went wide as the Farsley goal was under siege.

Tomlin saw his claim for a penalty denied as he fell under a challenge in the area shortly afterwards after receiving the ball from a Wayne Hatswell free kick.

Farsley were still able to threaten on the break, with Damian Reeves surviving a shout for hand ball in the centre circle as he broke forward and hit a defence splitting pass to Gareth Grant, but his hesitation allowed Paul Bastock to block his attempt on goal.

Ryan Semple was also linking well with Curtis Osano, as Diamonds continued to threaten down the flanks, and his cross was well cut out by a defender just before Michael Rankine pounced.

After 27 minutes Diamonds took a deserved lead. Curtis Woodhouse and Dean Howell combined well in the left corner, and forced a corner kick. Ryan Semple took the corner, which was flicked on to Wayne Hatswell, who had shaken off his marker and had a free header past keeper Kyle Sutcliffe.

Shortly afterwards Ryan Semple conceded a disputed free kick, but after questioning the ref he ran towards the ball to block the free kick and was duly booked.

Lee Tomlin had further efforts on goal, without really troubling Sutcliffe, but the nearest Diamonds came to a second was a powerful shot from just outside the right edge of the six yard box by Michael Rankine which was unlucky to hit a defender on the line.

The final action of the half saw Farsley once again on the attack with two further corners, the second of which resulted in a header from Mark Jackson from a Scott McNiven cross which was just over the bar.

An entertaining half finished with the Diamonds in a narrow lead.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Farsley Celtic

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Farsley forcing an early corner. Simeon Bambrook continued to stand out for Farsley, and it was his shot after Graeme Law and Damian Reeves combined which was deflected away for a further corner.

Watson and Howell continued to provide a significant threat down the Diamonds left, with Howell getting in a number of decent crosses, as well as taking part in a move to feed Lee Tomlin whose curling shot could only be palmed away by Sutcliffe, but his defence came to his aid.

A Farsley free kick after ~Michael Rankine had pushed over Amjad Iqbal saw Simeon Bambrook hit a shot that easily passed the poor Diamonds wall, but Paul Bastock made one of several good saves for the evening.

On 55 minutes a threatening move down the left saw Jon Challinor appear to be felled as he pushed the ball towards the penalty area, but the referee ruled out any foul. Challinor quickly went on another run, to feed Lee Tomlin in the box, and the striker showed great composure to take the ball further on into the area, but then hit a poor shot wide of the goal.

Tom Shaw joined the action, and was immediately involved, but again the end product failed to trouble Sutcliffe. A Jon Challinor shot from 25 yards did force a save, and Lee Tomlin was wide with the follow-up.

On 68 minutes Michael Rankine held off his marker as the ball looped towards him in the wind, and hit an overhead kick which narrowly missed the angle of post and bar.

On 69 minutes there was a bizarre sequence with the linesman on the North Stand side flagging for offside which went unseen by the referee, and then as the ball broke towards the Farsley goal his opposite number also flagged for a Diamonds player being offside at the other end. Before the referee could take action on either signal he pulled up with a leg injury, and had to be replaced, taking over fourth official duties, with the original incident being spotted, and play correctly restarted by his replacement.

Farsley still threatened to snatch a point, as Chris Hope deflected over a goal bound shot, and Bastock got down well to block a point blank attempt on his post following another dangerous corner which eluded the Diamonds defence.

The final action, fittingly, was a powerful shot from 25 yards from Simeon Bambrook, low to Bastock’s right, which the keeper got down to well to prevent a late equaliser.

After an entertaining game the Diamonds will be happy with the three points, with many promising signs that there will be many entertaining matches at Nene Park this season, hopefully starting with the visit of Ebbsfleet on Saturday.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 0 Farsley Celtic


Rushden & Diamonds (White) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell, Paul Watson, Ryan Semple (Tom Shaw 59), Jon Challinor, Curtis Woodhouse, Dean Howell,. Lee Tomlin (Lawrence Lambley 88), Michael Rankine (Simeon Jackson 71)

Subs not used: Paul Nicholls, Phil Gulliver,

Farsley Celtic (Blue) : Kyle Sutcliffe; Anthony Lloyd (Tristram Whitman 65), Amjad Iqbal, Ryan Crossley, Mark Jackson, Simeon Bambrook, Damian Reeves, Gareth Grant (Roy Starmer 73), Scott McNiven, Damien Dunne(Ashley Allanson 61), Graeme Law

Subs Not Used: Ryan Sugden, Lee Tuck

Goals : Hatswell

Yellow Cards : Howell, Semple

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

Attendance: 1502 (Away 20).

Diamonds Man of the Match nominated Mr Robinson and Mr Turner : Lee Tomlin

Woking 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1


Rushden & Diamonds earned their first point of the 2007-08 Blue Square Premier campaign with a well fought 1-1 draw with Woking at Kingfield.

Manager Garry Hill gave their Diamonds debut to three of his summer signings, with Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano and Jon Challinor all pulling on the Diamonds shirt for the first time in a league game, and Phil Gulliver returning after a year away. New loan signing Ryan Semple started on the bench, along with Simeon Jackson and Alex Bolt. The team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with strikers Tomlin and Rankine playing in front of a midfield of Woodhouse, Challinor and Shaw with Howell and Osano as wing backs and Gulliver, Hope and Hatswell lining up in front of goalkeeper Bastock.

Woking manager Frank Gray fielded a youthful side, giving debuts to six of his summer signings, including defenders Paul Lorraine (AFC Wimbledon) and Jay Gasson (Farnborough Town), midfielders Matt Gray (Sutton United), Matt Pattison (Farnborough) and Bradley Quamina (Yeading), plus striker Marvin Morgan (Yeading), with Michael Charles on the bench.

On a warm and sunny summer afternoon Woking kicked off attacking the Bellway Stand End.

The first five minutes of the game were very uninspiring, as neither side managed to string together a sequence of passes, and a series of long balls overshot their targets.

After 8 minutes Diamonds won a free kick on the left just inside the Woking half, and although the initial kick fell straight to Giuseppe Sole he dwelled on the ball, and Curtis Woodhouse took advantage to feed Tom Shaw, but his shot resulted in an easy catch for Gindre. His throw out saw a dangerous Woking break, with the ball falling to Marvin Morgan, but his powerful shot only found the side netting.

The match then returned to its sleepy state until the 18th minute when Curtis Osano went on a raid down the left, combining with Tom Shaw to hit a cross which found John Challinor, and his looping header looked to be heading towards the net until Nick Gindre pulled out an excellent fingertip save.

Woking’s threat was now mostly on the break, with a long ball bouncing over Chris Hope’s head to Marvin Morgan, but although the striker’s flick looped over Bastock it went too far sideways and the defence was able to recover.

In a similar move a poor Gulliver header looked to have given Morgan sight of goal, but a despairing Wayne Hatswell tackle saved the day, albeit at the expense of a Yellow Card.

Lee Tomlin was starting to come more into the game, giving defender Lorraine a few problems, as well as making a couple of flicks that found their way past his marker. Michael Rankine too was showing some good touches, and he was involved with a move on 32 minutes when he linked with Curtis Woodhouse, and he found Tom Shaw who hit a dangerous looking lob, but once again Gindre was able to stretch and tip the ball over.

The first half ended as it began, with little goalmouth action, and although Diamonds had seen the best of the chances a goalless scoreline at half-time did reflect the quality of the football on show.

Half-time: Woking 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Woking started the second half rather more brightly, with Giuseppe Sole looking especially lively, although his runs were thwarted by a combination of the Diamonds offside trap and some desperate covering tackles. Marvin Morgan was starting to look more dangerous as he had shaken off the attention of Wayne Hatswell, and had one great chance to feed an unmarked Sole but didn’t spot the pass.

On 49 minutes Marvin Morgan picked up the ball inside his own half, and after shrugging off a Curtis Woodhouse challenge he realised that Sole was in an offside position so continued his run, beating Woodhouse a second time, and breaking into the area. Chris Hope looked to get in a challenge but appeared to fear giving away a penalty, allowing the striker to get in a shot that beat Bastock for a great individual goal.

However, Woking manager Frank Gray will not be happy that his side switched off after the goal, allowing the Diamonds to break forward in numbers on the 50th minute. Curtis Osano got in a ball across from the right which eluded three attackers and their markers, but it was worked back from the left to Curtis Woodhouse, whose initial attempt was blocked, but it fell back to him and he finished well with a shot to Gindre’s right.

Curtis Osano then started to raid inside, and had a couple of mazy runs through the centre of the Woking defence, resulting in attempts for Tomlin and Challinor, but both attempts were blocked.

Curtis Woodhouse then took a knock in front of the Diamonds fans, and although he soldiered on for a few minutes, he had to be replaced by Simeon Jackson, with Lee Tomlin moving back into midfield.

Lee Tomlin was the second Diamonds player to be booked for a challenge in the centre of the field, and he was followed by Woking’s Bradley Quamina for a tackle on the Diamonds striker.

Woking were looking much more of an attacking threat in the second half, with Phil Gulliver making one great tackle to stop a great moving involving Pattison, but it was a Diamonds attack that perhaps presented the best chance for a winner, with Howell and Shaw combining on the left to put in a great cross which looked to present Michael Rankine with a free header. The Striker failed to get any power, but the ball looped to Simeon Jackson, who looked in an even better position, but he too failed to get the power needed and the chance was wasted.

Dean Howell also had a great chance after a long throw from Osano caused panic in the Woking defence, but at the other end a great chance fell to Matt Gray after his free kick was fed back to him by Matt Pattison and he hit a thunderbolt shot which was only narrowly wide of the right hand post. The last real threat of the game from the diamonds came from Simeon Jackson, with a run and shot similar to his effort at Dagenham last season, but with the final effort going wide, then a great run into the area on the left which resulted in a desperate block for a corner.

Frank Gray took off the speedy Sole towards the end, and his replacement Michael Charles had a great chance in injury time to snatch a win, but his shot from the edge of the area was blazed over.

The final whistle signalled celebrations from the 209 travelling fans showing they were happy with the point on a pleasant afternoon in Surrey.

After the game Frank Gray reported he was pleased with his young team.

Garry Hill praised the performance of Nick Gindre, and was pleased with an away point in the first game of the season, saying he would have taken a point if offered at 3pm, and felt it was a fair result. He confirmed that Curtis Woodhouse should be OK for Tuesday.

Full-time: Woking 1 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds


Woking (Red / White):

Nick Gindre; Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson; Matt Gray, Bradley Quamina, Matt Ruby, Danny Bunce, Matt Pattison, Marvin Morgan, Giuseppe Sole (Michael Charles 76)

Subs Not Used: Adam Green, David Shin, Ross Warner (GK), Goma Lambu

Rushden & Diamonds (Yellow) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Phil Gulliver, Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell (Paul Watson 79), Jon Challinor, Curtis Woodhouse (Simeon Jackson 54), Lee Tomlin (Ryan Semple 79) Tom Shaw, Michael Rankine, Dean Howell.

Subs not used: Paul Nicholls (GK), Alex Bolt

Goals : Morgan, Woodhouse

Yellow Cards : Hatswell, Tomlin, Quamina

Referee: M Bull

Attendance: 1576 (Away 208).

Reporter’s Man of the Match : Curtis Osano

Travel Club Man of the Match : Tom Shaw

Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 3 Northampton Town

Saturday 4th August 2007 at Nene Park

(NFA Maunsell Cup Final)

Diamonds finished off their pre-season schedule with the chance to gain some silverware, but the honours went to neighbours Northampton Town as they showed their superiority to lift the NFA Maunsell Cup. First half goals from Brett Johnson and Ian Henderson gave the Cobblers the half time lead, while Colin Larkin added a third to seal the 3-0 win.

Garry Hill named the side likely to start next week’s Blue Square Premier campaign with Rankine and Jackson leading the attack. New signing Andy Burgess was still recovering from injury and was unavailable. Chelmsford City keeper Paul Nicholls was on trial and was named on the bench.

Northampton manager Stuart Gray named midweek loan signing Daniel Jones from Wolves in the starting line-up, while captain Chris Doig had recovered from injury to start. Summer signings Ian Henderson (Norwich), Colin Larkin (Chesterfield) and Danny Jackman (Gillingham) also started. Danish striker Paul Hubertz was signed earlier in the week having been released by Millwall and was named on the bench together with Brett Johnson, still trying to get some match fitness.

Diamonds started the game promisingly with Woodhouse testing the keeper in the opening moments, but as the game progressed, it was Northampton who began to take charge. Colin Larkin headed over from a Daniel Jones cross, while after ten minutes, Larkin provided a cross for Andy Kirk to slot the ball into the net. Luckily for Diamonds, the linesman flagged was raised for offside and the goal was disallowed. Within a minute, Larkin crossed again for Kirk in an almost identical move, this time forcing a one-handed save from the Diamonds keeper.

Diamonds chances were few and far between. Rankine fired over before Challinor broke free down the right, but he was unable to pick out a Diamonds player in the centre. Town took the lead on 22 minutes when a cross from Daniel Jones was only half cleared by Wayne Hatswell. The ball fell to Bradley Johnson whose fierce 25yard volley left Bastock rooted to the spot.

Johnson tried another volley moments after the restart, but the Diamonds keeper was alert this time. Diamonds had to be careful when attacking as the Cobblers broke quickly from defence. Henderson went close, before putting Town 2-0 up after 38 minutes. A mix up between the keeper and Hatswell allowed Ian Henderson to turn and shoot from ten yards.

Curtis Woodhouse came tried to get Diamonds back in the game with a fierce free kick, but keeper Mark Bunn saved well and smothered the ball before the midfielder could get another chance. Martin Foster had to go off just before the break after an earlier clash with Daniel Jones, with Tom Shaw taking his place.

HT: Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 2 Northampton Town


Northampton started the second half strongly, with a Jason Crowe shot being tipped past the post by Bastock. Larkin also had a couple of chances. Dean Howell sent in a good cross for Diamonds, which was forced out for a corner, Rankine’s header being saved by Bunn. Diamonds best chance came after 54 minutes after Jackson was fouled on the edge of the area. Chris Hope fired a free kick which Bunn touched onto the bar and despite a goalmouth scramble, Diamonds were unable to force the ball over the line. Almost immediately, Town broke away and Paul Hubertz low cross evaded everyone except Colin Larkin waiting at the far post to shoot past Bastock to make the score-line 0-3.

With Northampton’s three goal cushion, Diamonds were unable to find a way back. Hubertz should have scored on the hour after being set up by Bradley Johnson, but shot over the bar. Diamonds brought on Paul Watson and Lawrence Lambley for Wayne Hatswell and Dean Howell on 64 minutes, but their introduction had little impact. Simeon Jackson was fouled on the edge of the area again a few minutes later, Chris Hope firing his shot straight at the keeper.

As the game entered the final fifteen minutes, Tom Shaw shot wide, but Town had little difficulty dealing with Diamonds attack. Phil Gulliver was stretchered off three minutes from time after a collision in the Cobblers area as Diamonds tried to get on the score-sheet.

FT: Rushden & Diamonds 0 – 3 Northampton Town


So Diamonds failed to regain the Maunsell Cup they last won in January 2006. With Andy Burgess not expected to be fit for another three weeks, Garry Hill has a further two injury concerns. Martin Foster went to hospital for an x-ray on a leg injury, although thankfully, there are no broken bones. Phil Gulliver suffered from concussion but should be fit for the trip to Woking next Saturday. After a relatively successful pre-season, it was perhaps a good thing that some of the defensive frailties became evident in today’s match giving him seven days to solve the some of the problems.


Rushden & Diamonds – Bastock, Osano, Gulliver, Hope(c), Hatswell (Watson 64), Challinor, Woodhouse, Jackson, Foster (Shaw 44), Rankine, Howell (Lambley 64).

Subs not used: Tomlin, Nicholls.

Northampton Town – Bunn, Crowe, Jackman, Bradley Johnson, Hughes, Doig (c) (Dolman 75), Henderson (Hubertz HT), Kirk, Larkin, Gilligan, Jones (Brett Johnson 56).

Subs not used: Dunn, Burnell.

Goals:              Brett Johnson 22 (0-1)

Ian Henderson 38 (0-2)

Colin Larkin 56 (0-3)

Booked:            -.

Sent off:            -.

Referee:            Mr Richard Beeby (Northants)

Attendance:      1669 (570 away).

By Dave Mason

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