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


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