Rushden & Diamonds 3 Macclesfield Town 1

Diamonds progressed to the next round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win against League Two opposition Macclesfield Town. Two goals from Simeon Jackson either side of a Jon Challinor header gave Diamonds a comfortable lead within the hour. Martin Gritton scored a consolation goal for the visitors 14 minutes from time. 


Garry Hill named an unchanged side to the team which beat Oxford United nine days ago. Although midfielder Curtis Woodhouse is close to recovery from a knee injury sustained last month, he was not named in the sixteen man squad as the substitutes also remained unchanged.


Macclesfield Town manager Ian Brightwell had been busy over the past 48 hours signing Phil Doughty on loan from Blackpool and Sean Hessey on a two month loan deal from Chester City. Both players had reportedly been given permission to play, although Doughty was not named in the squad, while Hessey was on the bench. In fact, he made only one forced change from the team which played Brentford on Tuesday night, with defender Carl Regan replacing Richard Edghill who suffered broken ribs in the Silkmen’s 1-0 win. James McNulty had passed a late fitness test after a sprained ankle, while Francis Green (calf) and Jamie Tolley (wrist) had also recovered to be named on the bench. Andrew Teague remained sidelined with a broken leg.


Diamonds kicked-off towards the De Banke Terrace in confident mood as both teams tried to find an early opening and it was the home side that got off to the perfect start. After just 6 minutes, Andy Burgess sent a great ball out to Craig McAllister on the right as he ran towards the by-line. His cross found Simeon Jackson in the centre to fire into the roof of the net leaving Macclesfield keeper Tommy Lee helpless.


The visitors tried to respond with Levi Reid shooting over the bar, but Diamonds were passing with confidence and appeared to have a lot more possession. Another long ball forward from Martin Foster found McAllister free again with the visitors looking frail, but this time, the cross just eluded Jackson.


Macclesfield did have a good opportunity after Phil Gulliver misjudged a cross from Carl Regan, but Martin Gritton’s hurried shot went wide of the goal. As Diamonds continued to press forward, Marcus Kelly went wide with a free-kick, while a deft chip from Dean Howell found Jackson just offside. McAllister was also just unable to get on the end of a Jackson cross.


After 25 minutes, Jackson tried a fierce shot from a tight angle from 15 yards, but the keeper did well to save at the near post. Chances continued to fall to Diamonds as the Silkmen’s defence came under increasing pressure. Kelly, Foster, Challinor and Burgess were dominating the midfield and Kelly went close a couple of time from free-kicks. Macclesfield continued to struggle although they had a couple of chances on 41 minutes when Luke Dimech’s header, was saved by Paul Nicholls and Dimech shot over the top.


As the game entered the second minute of added time, Marcus Kelly and Dean Howell combined well, with Howell’s cross being put out by Maltese International Luke Dimech. The visitors seemed to go to sleep as Kelly played the ball short to Andy Burgess on the edge of the area. Burgess had time to cross onto the head of Jon Challinor, who made no mistake from 5 yards.


HT: Rushden & Diamonds 2 – 0 Macclesfield Town


The Macclesfield players were out early for the second half, with Simon Wiles (on loan from Blackpool) and Jamie Tolley replacing Levi Reid and Terry Dunfield in midfield. The change failed to have much effect however as Diamonds continued to have the upper hand. Wiles did look lively however and put in a dangerous cross early on in the second half that was deflected away by Howell.


Diamonds made the game safe on 58 minutes after some good forward play down the right with Curtis Osano supporting Jackson. After Macclesfield had won back the ball, Burgess was quick to close down Adam Murray, and regain possession on the edge of the area. His short pass found Simeon Jackson, whose quick shot was drilled past Tommy Lee from just inside the area before the keeper could react.


Macclesfield brought on their final substitution on 64 minutes when striker Francis Green replaced Danny Thomas. They were being restricted to efforts from outside the area, and shots from Adam Murray and Green failed to pose a threat to Paul Nicholls. Diamonds meanwhile were looking to emulate their previous two games where they had scored five goals. Jackson came close to his hat-trick on 65 minutes when his shot struck the outside of the post after a good ball from Osano.


The visitors continued to shoot from distance, Green, Evans and Tolley all going wide, but they finally made an impact on 76 minutes when Simon Wiles’ cross left Nicholls out of position, with Martin Gritton heading home at the far post. It gave some hope to Macclesfield and Nicholls had to come out quickly to smother a through ball as Gritton raced forward again. They had another good chance on 84 minutes when Green shot wide after Adam Murray’s ball over the defence.


Despite Macclesfield’s late pressure, the danger quickly faded as time ran out. Diamonds made a couple of late substitutions to run down time, Michael Rankine replacing McAllister and Michael Malcolm replacing Jackson. In injury time, Burgess tried an audacious lob with the keeper off his goal line, while Rankine’s 30 yard powerful drive whistled just past the post.   


FT: Rushden & Diamonds 3 – 1 Macclesfield Town


So Diamonds deservedly progress through into the 2nd Round – the draw being taking place Sunday afternoon. Manager Garry Hill commented on the confidence gained from the two 5-0 wins, and apart from a brief spell when the Silkmen got a goal back, they looked in little danger. Craig McAllister and Simeon Jackson looked a formidable pair up front, and it is unfortunate that McAllister returns to Grays on Monday after being recalled from his loan period. Jackson has now scored seven goals in the last five games. Diamonds next game will be on Tuesday evening (13 November), when they take on Cogenhoe United in the Northants Hillier Senior Cup (Nene Park 7:45pm kick-off) for a semi-final place against Northampton Spencer. Next League action is at top of the table Aldershot Town on Saturday.



Rushden & Diamonds – Nicholls, Osano, Gulliver, Hope(c), Challinor, McAllister (Rankine 87), Jackson (Malcolm 90+), Burgess, Foster, Kelly, Howell.

Subs not used: Bastock, Hatswell, Shaw.


Macclesfield Town – Lee, Regan, Dimech, Gritton, Thomas (Green 64), L.Reid (Wiles HT), McIntrye (c), Murray, McNulty, Dunfield (Tolley HT), Evans.

Subs not used: Brain, Hessey.


Goals: Jackson 6 (1-0), Challinor 45+ (2-0), Jackson 58 (3-0), Gritton 76 (3-1).


Booked: Nil.


Referee: Mr J.Linington (Isle of Wight)


Attendance: 1759 (175 away).


Premier Bathrooms & Kitchens Man of the Match:

Simeon Jackson.



By Dave Mason


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