Rushden & Diamonds 3 Weymouth 2

Manager Garry Hill was full of praise for his players as they put last week’s poor performance at Crawley behind them. Diamonds made the perfect start with Tom Shaw heading them in front within 2 minutes, but goals from Scott Doe and former Diamond Michael Malcolm either side of the break saw the away side take the lead. Two goals from Simeon Jackson in the final half hour secured the points for Diamonds.

Hill made four changes from the team which lost at Crawley. Curtis Woodhouse was serving a one match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card, while Michael Rankine and Lee Hales were on the bench. Tom Shaw earned his chance to start, while Jon Challinor and Marcus Kelly returned to the midfield. Loan signing Dale Roberts made his debut, replacing Paul Bastock. Andy Gooding, who signed after being released from Coventry City was on the bench.

Weymouth manager Jason Tindall made just one change from the side which beat Kidderminster on penalties to progress through to the FA Trophy 3rd on Tuesday night with Scott Doe replacing the suspended Kyle Critchell. Injury problems meant Ashley Vickers, Simon Weatherstone, Narada Bernard, Nick Crittenden and Lewis Ironside were all still sidelined. Former Diamond Michael Malcolm, who signed earlier this month was also in the starting line-up, while Stuart Douglas was on the bench.

Within the opening minute, Diamonds were on the attack as Simeon Jackson chased down a ball to the by-line, winning a corner. Marcus Kelly stepped up to take the kick and put in a great ball to the near post, which keeper Jason Matthews appeared to get a hand to, pushing the ball onto the bar. As the ball bounced out to the far post, Tom Shaw was on hand to nod the ball home and give Diamonds an early lead.

The goal seemed to give the home side a boost as they looked confident coming forward, although the Terras had a penalty appeal turned down after a Trevor Challis free kick bounced around the penalty area. But it was Diamonds who had the better possession with some good exchanges in midfield as they looked to get a second. Jon Challinor headed just wide from a Marcus Kelly free kick on 7 minutes, while the keeper just beat Simeon Jackson to a cross from Dean Howell after 15 minutes.

After the early domination, Weymouth started to mount a few attacks and Scott Doe should have done better with a free header, finding the keeper’s hands. Challinor had a couple of shots on goal, shooting wide, then firing a long shot straight at Matthews. Paulo Vernazza received a yellow card for a foul on Marcus Kelly, but on 24 minutes, he was responsible for Weymouth’s equaliser. After a quick move out of defence involving Trevor Challis and captain Anton Robinson, Stuart Beavon was fouled by Curtis Osano on the edge of the area. Vernazza’s free kick was deflected past Roberts by Scott Doe.

The goal inspired Weymouth and they had their best spell. On 29 minutes, a long ball from the back saw Roberts race out to clear, but the ball fell straight to Daniel Phillips. Fortunately for Diamonds, his first time effort on the open goal went well wide and from the goal kick, Burgess nearly countered with a 30 yard shot that the Weymouth keeper held at the second attempt.

Weymouth were having difficulty containing Burgess and he set Osano away on the right wing, his cross/shot skimming across the goal and just clearing the far post. With half time approaching, Diamonds had a couple of good chances. Another corner from Marcus Kelly on 42 minutes caused all sorts of problems again, as his cross dipped at the near post. The ball was cleared only as far as Tom Shaw, whose shot was blocked on the line and cleared away. Then just before the break, Phil Gulliver’s clearance was touched on by Shaw to Lee Tomlin who fired a shot past the Weymouth keeper, striking the inside of the post and rebounding out across the goal. Deep into injury time, new keeper Dale Roberts had a scare when he fumbled the ball, but Chris Hope was alert and cleared the danger.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 – 1 Weymouth

While Diamonds had taken the lead at the start of the first half, it was Weymouth who took the lead with three minutes of the restart. The home side were guilty of some poor defending again as Robinson on the left, took the ball towards goal. His cross to the far post left Roberts with no chance as Michael Malcolm side-footed the ball home to give the visitors the lead.

Diamonds could probably consider themselves to be unfortunate to be behind but chances fell at both ends. Jackson provided a great ball for Lee Tomlin, the ball just being cleared for a corner, while Malcolm shot wide for the visiotrs. Weymouth replaced Daniel Phillips with James Coutts on the hour. Within a minute, Diamonds had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down as Lee Tomlin took a tumble in the area, as the defender cleared the ball away for a corner. But it didn’t matter in the end as Diamonds levelled from the corner. This time it was Burgess who sent the ball over from the left and Challinor’s flick gave Simeon Jackson an easy chance at the far post with a close range volley.

Tomlin was replaced by Michael Rankine on 64 minutes, as Diamonds pushed forward. Vernazza had a 25 yard shot drift wide for Weymouth, while Tom Shaw was put through on goal by Jackson moments later and forced a good save from the keeper. Shaw was close again on 70 minutes, just failing to connect with another Burgess corner. Moments later, Burgess hit the woodwork, the ball coming down off the bar just behind Challinor at the far post, but the defence managed to clear the danger. On 75 minutes, Diamonds got the all important third goal as Chris Hope sent a long ball out from the back. Michael Rankine flicked the ball on to send Simeon Jackson clear on goal, and although Matthews managed to get a hand on the ball, it had enough pace to cross the line before the defenders were able to get back.

Michael Rankine’s arrival certainly seemed to liven up the Diamonds attack, and his cross from the by-line set up another chance for Challinor. Shaw was penalised for handball on 82 minutes, just 5 yards outside the area as he shielded his face from a shot on goal, but James Coutts fired the free kick over the bar. But Diamonds continued to attack, and after they were awarded a free kick in a similar position, Shaw also fired over.

With five minutes of injury time signalled, Diamonds started to defend deeper and deeper which made for a nervous few moments, but they defended well enough to earn the three points.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 3 – 2 Weymouth

Garry Hill was pleased to get a victory against his former side and praised a good team performance. Rankine’s introduction just after Jackson had levelled the scores seemed to make the difference as he chased down every ball, providing the vital flick for the winning goal. Diamonds are in action again on Tuesday night when they visit the Pirelli Stadium to take on Burton Albion.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds – Roberts, Osano, Gulliver, Hope(c), Challinor, Jackson, Burgess, Tomlin (Rankine 64), Shaw, Kelly (Hales 88), Howell.

Subs not used: Bastock, Gooding, El Kholti

Weymouth – Matthews, Challis (Gross 74), Browning, Phillips (Coutts 60), Beavon (Douglas 87), Robinson (c), Doe, Vernazza, Kitamarike, Ngala, Malcolm.

Subs not used: Jambarti, Domoraud.

Goals: Shaw 2 (1-0); Doe 24 (1-1), Malcolm 48 (1-2), Jackson 61 (2-2), Jackson 75 (3-2).

Booked: Vernazza 20 (foul), Phillips 45 (foul), Challis 68 (foul).

Referee: Mr P.Gibbs (West Midlands)

Attendance: 1448 (104 away).

Derek Jones Bodywork Ltd Man of the Match – Simeon Jackson

By Dave Mason

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