Rushden & Diamonds 5 Solihull Moors 0

Rushden & Diamonds clinched their first win at Nene Park since the first home game of the season as they defeated Solihull Moors to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup with a comfortable win. The five goals equalled their tally in the league at Nene Park so far this season, and several further chances were squandered against a tiring Moors team. News that they will host Macclesfield Town in the next round will have reached the dressing room shortly after the game.

Garry Hill was orchestrating from the South Stand, and he made a single change from the team that started in the draw at Exeter last Saturday, with Curtis Osano replacing Wayne Hatswell in defence. Loan signing Craig McAllister continued up front alongside Simeon Jackson.

Solihull Moors manager Bob Faulkner was forced to make further changes to an already injury hit squad, with Dave Morrison sidelined after injury on Tuesday night. He was able to restore Theo Streete to his place in the back line, and also brought in recent signing Andy Ducros. This meant the Moors played a 4-5-1 formation with striker Danny Davidson supported by his midfield.

On a grey autumn afternoon Diamonds kicked off towards the Airwair stand, with the opening exchanges fairly even as Moors harried the Diamonds defence, and their goalkeeper Matt Ghent impressed with some early saves. An early chance fell to Peter Faulds but his shot was waywards.

On 14 minutes Diamonds almost took the lead, as a great tackle by Andy Burgess saw him win the ball and feed to Simeon Jackson on the left hand edge of the area. After the striker managed to get the ball from under his feet he hit a great curling shot that hit the right hand angle of post and bar and flew away from goal.

On 17 minutes Diamonds did take the lead, as good work by Marcus Kelly on the left saw him hit a looping cross which flew over the defence to Andy Burgess on the right, he combined with Curtis Osano to get the ball back over to Marcus Kelly, in space about 15 yards out on the left hand corner of the area. His shot took a significant deflection off Richard Follett, and past Matt Ghent into the net, but Marcus will surely claim the goal.

Dean Howell was looking threatening on the left, getting past his man and to the by-line on more than one occasion, but the two strikers were not able to get on the end of any of a series of dangerous looking crosses. Other attempts on goal were foiled by a combination of good defending, poor finishing and the referee’s whistle, with Phil Gulliver almost adding a second until halted by the that whistle.

Moors were still threatening on occasion, with Peter Faulds missing his second great chance of the afternoon as he got onto the end of a cross from the Darren Middleton.

Diamonds had a claim for a penalty in the 33rd minute when Phil Gulliver was knocked down by Lee Collins.

On 35 minutes Simeon Jackson might have done better when an Andy Burgess ball into the box flicked off Theo Streete, hit Jon Challinor and fell to Jacko, but his shot was easily smothered. He had a better chance on 42 minutes, when a cross-shot from 35 yards by Andy Burgess seemed to take Ghent by surprise, and he could only parry to Jackson, but rather than lift it back over the goalkeeper he went for power, and the shot rebounded off the keeper and back into play.

On the stroke of half-time Diamonds got the two goal cushion they perhaps deserved when Andy Burgess fed Jon Challinor in the right channel, and his cross looked to be heading straight to Jackson for a tap in, before Lee Collins stretched out a foot to knock the ball past his own goalkeeper for an own goal.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Solihull Moors 0

With the second goal seeming to have knocked the stuffing out of the Moors team, the second half was mostly one-way traffic.

Marcus Kelly made a great 45 yard run through the Moors defence, and fed Simeon Jackson, whose cross deflected pass everybody in the area. Curtis Osano started finding more space on the right, and Ghent did well to save a Jon Challinor shot when he was fed by Osano.

On 61 minutes any lingering doubt about the result disappeared as Simeon Jackson turned provider as he crossed from the left to find a stooping Andy Burgess in plenty of space to head the ball home from 6 yards.

Jon Challinor almost made it four a few minutes later as he hit a dipping shot which hit the top of the net, but that only delayed things until the 73 minute when a Marcus Kelly corner on the left was flicked on to an unmarked Phil Gulliver at the far post, who fired home from close range.

It then looked only a matter of time before the Diamonds got their fifth, to equal their tally of goals at Nene Park this season. One of the most glaring misses seen at Nene Park saw Andy Burgess fail to tap in a Michael Rankine cross from the left, and as he buried his head in his shirt to hide his embarrassment the Moors midfielder Lee Ayres was shown a red card, presumably for something he said about the fact that Burgess was not flagged offside.

After a Jon Challinor goal had been ruled out for offside, and Michael Malcolm had wasted a great chance with a wayward shot when Andy Burgess was in the clear,it appeared the fifth goal may not come, but on 85 minutes perhaps the goal of the game came, as Michael Rankine was fed by a great through ball by Jon Challinor in the right hand channel, and he hit a great shot into the left hand corner of the net to bring back memories of his FA Cup exploits last season against Yeovil.

Chances for further goals went begging, but Peter Faulds missed what was possibly an easier chance than Andy Burgess had squandered, as he scooped over from a couple of yards with the goal gaping, Neither the Moors players nor their fans let their heads drop as they saw their FA Cup dreams end for another season.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 5 Solihull Moors 0

Although the attacking performance was the best seen at Nene Park this season, it remains to be seen whether such form can be repeated against Conference opposition, or against League Two Macclesfield in a fortnight, but there can be no complaints as the team advanced into the next round.

With the prospect of a replay in the Midlands now removed, the Diamonds will have an extra couple of days to prepare for the visit of Oxford United on Thursday night in the televised game.



Rushden & Diamonds (White) : Paul Nicholls, Curtis Osano, Dean Howell, Chris Hope (capt), Phil Gulliver, Jon Challinor, Andy Burgess, Martin Foster (Tom Shaw 64), Marcus Kelly, Craig McAllister (Michael Rankine 70), Simeon Jackson (Michael Malcolm 70)

Subs Not Used Paul Bastock, Wayne Hatswell

Solihull Moors (Yellow / Blue): Matthew Ghent, Richard Follett, Peter Faulds, Lee Collins (Capt), Theo Streete (Dale Anderson 70), Tim Gould, Lee Ayres, Darren Middleton, Daniel Davidson, Andy Ducros (Jason Moore 60), Carl Motteram (Phil Midworth)

Subs Not Used : Joszef Jakab, Adam Rachel

Goals : Marcus Kelly, Lee Collins (OG), Andy Burgess, Phil Gulliver, Michael Rankine

Yellow Cards : Lee Collins, Lee Ayres

Red Cards : Lee Ayres

Referee: Mr R P Whitton

Attendance: 1076 (Away 82).

Man of the Match chosen by the Evans Family : Andy Burgess


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