February 26, 2008 Leave a comment
Setanta Shield 5th Round
Diamonds progressed to the Setanta Shield Northern Section semi-finals with a convincing win against old rivals Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough. Two goals from Jon Challinor and Andy Gooding’s first for the club saw them through to an away tie at Northwich Victoria. Simon Russell got one back for Harriers, but they never looked likely to match Diamonds.
After the postponement of this fixture three weeks ago, there was no danger of this game being called off due to the weather. Manager Garry Hill made five changes to the side which lost against York in the FA Trophy Quarter Finals on Saturday. Jon Challinor and David Brown replaced Michael Rankine and Charles Ademeno in attack, while midfielder Andy Gooding was given a starting role in place of Tom Shaw. Chris Hope returned after injury and came in for the cup-tied Michael Corcoran, while Adbou El Kholti was given a rare place in the starting line up,
Harriers boss Mark Yates was left frustrated with his side’s defeat against Salisbury at Aggborough on Saturday and made three changes. Alex Jeannin was cup-tied, while Matthew Bailey and Iyseden Christie were dropped to the bench. In came Michael McGrath and Paul Bignot, while Matthew Barnes-Homer partnered Darryl Knights in attack.
With Diamonds and Harriers both putting in a disappointing performance at the weekend, the game started at a frantic pace as both sides tried to put those games behind them and gain the upper hand. The home side looked lively coming forward and Darryl Knights and Matthew Barnes-Homer both had early efforts on goal. At the other end, Jon Challinor took the ball in from the right and tried a low shot on goal. With former Diamonds keeper Chris Mackenzie unable to hold the shot, Curtis Osano followed up but shot wide.
Harriers’ two quick strikers were causing Diamonds problems and after just 6 minutes, Dale Roberts did well to race out of goal to smother an attempted shot from Barnes-Homer after being set up by Knights. Roberts was again alert to captain Russell Penn’s free kick some 15 yards outside the area.
As Diamonds weathered the early storm, they started to play the ball to feet and take charge in midfield. It was a vast improvement from Saturday and on 24 minutes, they took the lead. Adbou El-Kholti played a ball up the left flank, and as Jon Challinor came back from an offside position, David Brown got clear. With the Harriers defenders appealing to the linesman, Brown headed towards goal and laid the ball back for Jon Challinor to side foot into the net.
With two minutes of the restart, Harriers were on the attack again and had a strong claim for a penalty turned down. Michael McGrath on the edge of the area took the ball inside and shot towards goal. Roberts did well to get a touch, but the ball then appeared to be deflected away from goal by Phil Gulliver’s hand. The referee turned away appeals and awarded a corner kick.
On 29 minutes, El-Kholti’s cross from the left found Jon Challinor unmarked, but his free header was saved by keeper Chris Mackenzie. Diamonds continued to pass the ball around well and had a penalty appeal turned down themselves after 38 minutes after a great one-two between Andy Gooding and David Brown led to Gooding being fouled by Mark Creighton. Although the offence appeared to take place two yards inside the penalty area, a free kick was awarded just outside. In the end, it didn’t matter as Andy Gooding lifted the free-kick past the wall and into the net.
With a two goal cushion, Diamonds were looking confident although in first half injury time, Darryl Knights struck a shot from just outside the area which cleared the bar by inches.
Half-time: Kidderminster Harriers 0 – 2 Rushden & Diamonds
Harriers brought on Iyseden Christie and Simon Russell for the start of the second half, replacing Dean Bennett and Michael McGrath. Christie immediately joined Barnes-Homer and Knights in attack as they went to a 4-3-3 formation. It was Diamonds who started the second period brightly with David Brown shooting high and then wide in the first couple of minutes after the restart. Challinor also had a shot deflected off Paul Bignot for a corner. From Marcus Kelly’s corner, the ball was cleared to Andy Burgess, who struck a fierce shot which Mackenzie did well to keep out.
Kidderminster gradually came back into the game but although Christie looked lively; his final touch left a lot to be desired. Darryl Knights’ corner on 58 minutes found Mark Creighton on the far side of the area, but the defenders shot was blasted over the bar. Diamonds coped well with any danger posed by the home side and looked content to defend their lead with the occasion break as Harriers pushed forward. Kelly nearly increased the lead on 69 minutes when Brown laid the ball back into his path, but Mackenzie made another superb one handed save to push the ball away.
Harriers got a goal back on 73 minutes when Knights set up Simon Russell on the right, who powered a fierce shot past Roberts. Diamonds responded by bringing on Dean Howell and Tom Shaw for El-Kholti and Gooding – Howell sporting a new hairstyle matching Diamonds yellow kit!
It wasn’t long before the two goal lead was restored. On 80 minutes, Kelly made a surge forward from inside his own half as the Harriers defenders stood back. His shot from the edge of the area was saved by Mackenzie, but Jon Challinor had made a run out to the left, and as the ball came back out, he shot past the keeper.
Lawrence Lambley replaced David Brown just before the end of full time and had a great chance to increase the lead, shooting just wide. Diamonds finished the stronger of the two sides and deserved to progress to the next round.
Full-time: Kidderminster Harriers 1 – 3 Rushden & Diamonds
Diamonds now have a semi-final tie at Northwich Victoria as they look to get their hands on some silverware, while the other Northern Section semi-final will be between Halifax Town and the winners of the Droylsden v Burton Albion quarter-final. In the Southern Section, both Woking and Aldershot Town have progressed to the final four.
Kidderminster Harriers – Mackenzie, Kenna, Creighton, Jones, Pann(c), McGrath (Russell HT), Ferrell, Bignot, Bennett (Christie HT), Barnes-Homer, Knights.
Subs not used: Coleman, Hurren, Bailey.
Rushden & Diamonds – Roberts, Osano, Gulliver, Hope(c), Challinor, Woodhouse, Brown (Lambley 87), Burgess, Gooding (Shaw 78), Kelly, El-Kholti (Howell 77).
Subs not used: Bastock, Bolt..
Goals: Challinor 24 (0-1), Gooding 38 (0-2), Russell 73 (1-2), Challinor 80 (1-3).
Referee: Mr P.Tierney (Lancs)
Attendance: 739 (42 away).
Reporters Man of the Match: Jon Challinor.
Northern Section (quarter final)
Nuneaton Borough 0 Halifax Town 1
Southern Section (semi final)
Crawley Town 2 Aldershot Town 6 (aet)
Woking 3 Weymouth 0
By Dave Mason