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


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