Rushden & Diamonds 0 Salisbury City 0

 

Rushden & Diamonds recent shortage of goals at Nene Park continued as they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Salisbury City.

Diamonds’ Manager Garry Hill made one change to the eleven that started on New Years’ Day at Stevenage, with the departed Craig McAllister replaced by Michael Rankine. Salisbury manager Nick Holmes stuck with the team that won 3-0 at Weymouth on New Years Day.

As a low winter sun set over Nene Park to end a sunny winter afternoon the Whites (wearing Royal Blue) kicked off towards the Peter De Banke terrace, but it was the Diamonds who had the early pressure with the first five minutes being spent on the edge of the Whites penalty area. Andy Burgess was playing in a roving role in midfield, with him and Lee Tomlin also offering the threat down the right.

An early corner saw Hatswell and Gulliver finding space in the area, but they appeared to get in each other’s way and the header was over the bar. In the sixth minute it was Burgess who beat two men running into the box on the right, but his shot was well saved.

It was Burgess again on 14 minutes as he linked up well with Lee Tomlin on the right touchline, and from their interchange a dangerous Burgess cross was headed out for a corner.

A minute later came one of Diamonds best chances of the game, as a Howell throw was poorly defended by Robinson, and crossed back into the area where Rankine and his marker both appeared to miss their header, but as the ball dropped the striker was the first to react and clip in a low shot which was unlucky to hit the heel of Aaron Cook and flick away to safety.

Rankine and Tomlin were starting to combine well when Tomlin came in from his wider role, and from one of these Tomlin showed great two footed control and hit a shot from 25 yards that was just wide.

Dean Howell was getting forward well, and from his cross Andy Burgess headed just over on 25 minutes.

The main drama of the game came on 27 minutes, with a rare Salisbury attack seeing a cross from the left from Andy Sandell run across the area, and as Wayne Hatswell went to clear he was tackled rather late by Ian Herring, who had been spoken to by referee Sutton only minutes earlier. Herring was shown what looked rather a harsh red card.

Howell was then in action in defence clearing a threat from Matt Tubbs as he raced on to a Sandell cross, and then worked well with Marcus Kelly to get in a low cross than went behind Rankine and his marker, but was met by Andy Burgess who saw another of his attempts blocked.

Salisbury did have an improved attacking threat after they had reorganised their 10 men, with Michael Fowler shooting wide as half-time approached.

So the half ended goalless, with Diamonds having nothing to show for their greater possession and territorial advantage, with Ryan Clarke only really called to make one good save from Burgess, but his handling was also top class.

Half time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Salisbury City 0

One change was made at half-time – with referee Sutton changing to a green shirt to avoid the clash with the Salisbury Royal Blue.

The half continued in a similar vein to the first, with plenty of Diamonds possession in midfield, and reasonable progression into the area, but their attempts on goal were either wayward or blocked by good defending.

One of the best chances of the half came early on, when a dangerous run by Lee Tomlin saw his flick punched out to Andy Burgess, with his shot being blocked, falling to Wayne Hatswell, whose shot was also blocked, and Curtis Woodhouse had the final attempt, and as for most of the afternoon his shot was wayward.

On 56 minutes, Salisbury had a great chance, when a Sandell corner appeared to be controlled by his arm by Marvin Brown, but the referee allowed him to play on and hit a shot that was blocked on the line by Curtis Woodhouse.

Woodhouse, Howell and Kelly combined well on the left after the ball was switch across field by Lee Tomlin, but the final shot by Kelly hit Tomlin and went away for a goal kick.

A similar move involving Howell and Burgess saw a wayward shot from Burgess, and again the Diamonds could not turn their half-chances into a final threat on goal.

On 63 minutes, Marcus Kelly was replaced by Simeon Jackson who was given a great reception on his 100th appearance for the club. He quickly started harrying the City defence, linking up with Andy Burgess down the left channel only to see his shot saved by Ryan Clarke, who was being called into action more in this half.

On 65 minutes, excellent work by Michael Rankine on the right saw him get to the by-line and chip the ball across the goal for Clarke to palm out to Andy Burgess who quickly moved the ball to Curtis Woodhouse, and his shot hit the arm of defender Cook, but referee Sutton judged the contact accidental.

Lee Tomlin was now playing wide left, and much of Diamonds threat was coming down this side as he linked with Howell and Burgess. It was the Burgess / Tomlin combination that looked to helped break the deadlock on 75 minutes as they combined to allow Tomlin to hit a low cross, which Michael Rankine bundled home, but the striker was adjudged offside.

After a sequence of play that saw a number of wayward attempts by Woodhouse, Jackson, Tomlin and Burgess, Salisbury started to present an attacking threat as the game moved into the final 10 minutes, and had a couple of chances to snatch an unlikely late goal and the three points, but good vision from Howell to run across and clear the threat, as well as firm defending from Hatswell and Gulliver kept them at bay.

The final action saw Simeon Jackson presented with a great chance by a Michael Rankine flick on down the right channel, but his shot was wide of the right post (although Clarke may have got a touch), and then, in the final action, a Jackson shot from the edge of the area was destined to go wide left, but it took a flick off Jon Challinor, but this was not enough to divert it on target.

The game ended in perhaps a fitting goalless draw. Although the Diamonds had seen plenty of possession, the attacking threat in the box was not enough to break down 10-man Salisbury City. They now switch to FA Trophy action next Saturday with the visit of Exeter City.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Salisbury City 0

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds (White):

Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Dean Howell, Wayne Hatswell, Phil Gulliver, Lee Hales, Andy Burgess, Curtis Woodhouse (Jon Challinor 83), Marcus Kelly (Simeon Jackson 63), Lee Tomlin, Michael Rankine

Subs Not Used: Chris Hope, Tom Shaw, Lawrence Lambley

Salisbury City (Royal Blue) :Ryan Clarke, Jonathan Bass, Matthew Robinson, Aaron Cook (capt), Wayne Turk, Scott Bartlett, Matt Tubbs (Liam Feeney 72), Marvin Brown (Robbie Matthews 58), Darrell Clarke (Michael Fowler 34), Ian Herring (S/O 27), Andy Sandell

Subs Not Used: James Bittner, Oliver Barnes

Goals: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Card: Ian Herring

Referee: Mr G Sutton

Attendance: 1380 (Away 96).

Man of the Match sponsored by Macron – Andy Burgess

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