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

Teams:

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

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