Weymouth 0 Rushden & Diamonds 9

 

Rushden & Diamonds did what was required to earn a comfortable victory against a scratch Weymouth side at the Wessex Stadium, but the game was far from being a true contest. Credit must go to the Weymouth youngsters for their efforts, with their keeper Joe Prodomo producing a number of excellent saves to keep the score down.

Goals from Michael Rankine, Lee Tomlin (2) and Chris Hope made the score 4-0 at half time, with Tomlin also missing a number of chances for a first half hat trick, and as well as saves from keeper Prodomo there were several good clearances off the line from the young defenders.

As might be expected, the Weymouth youngsters tired in the second half, but to their credit they didn’t give up, despite the scoreline, and further goals from Michael Rankine, Rob Wolleaston, Marcus Kelly (2) and Kurt Robinson completed the scoring, with Neil Cousins also hitting the bar. The nine-nil scoreline is thus the Diamonds record victory, but one gained in unfortunate circumstances. For league games it overtakes the 7-0 victory over Redditch United at Nene Park on 10th August 1993, and also beats the record 7-1 away win over Atherstone United a year later..

For his first game in charge Justin Edinburgh played a 4-4-2 formation with Lee Tomlin supporting Michael Rankine up-front. Michael Corcoran played in central midfield, with Andy Burgess wide right.

Weymouth Manager Alan Lewer had little choice but to select a squad made up of Youth Team players, with little first team experience within the 16 players named.

The game started in bright sunshine on a warm and pleasant afternoon, and immediately it became clear that the Diamonds were intent on approaching the game in a professional manner, whatever the opposition. The Terras did win the first corner of the game as Curtis Osano cut out a run by Ollie Tribe, but the Diamonds then showed the benefits of the positional changes that Justin Edinburgh had made. Andy Burgess was able to hit two of his trademark 35 yards cross-field passes straight to Marcus Kelly, whilst Lee Tomlin was causing the home defence all kinds of problems as he ran at them through the middle and the right channel.

That combination saw Prodomo make the first of many saves he was to make during the afternoon as he gathered at Tomlin’s feet, and then he saved again from Michael Corcoran as the Diamonds had more attempts on goal in the first 10 minutes than they have had for some entire games played this season.

The pressure told on 8 minutes, as Lee Tomlin exchanged passes with Rob Wolleaston and unleashed a shot from just inside the box, and although Prodomo made a save, Michael Rankine was on hand to slot the loose ball home.

Marcus Kelly was also starting to get the measure of his marker, and three minutes later he won the ball off Jordan Vincent to force a corner. Kelly took the kick himself, taking it short to Andy Burgess, whose cross was headed towards goal by Michael Rankine, and although the effort was blocked, Lee Tomlin was on hand to force the ball home.

A number of other Diamonds attempts on goal were then either narrowly wide, or well cleared by Prodomo and his defenders, notably a shot from Kelly from a narrow angle and a Chris Hope header from an Andy Burgess cross. Curtis Osano also got in on the act with a low shot that was blocked by Shola Dadson.

The half-way point in the period was still to be reached when the Diamonds scored their third – the best goal of the half, as Lee Tomlin robbed Jordan Vincent and lobbed the ball over Prodomo and into the net. After having some ribbing from the home crowd earlier the striker could not resist a goal celebration response that was out of keeping with the mood of the afternoon, earning a talking-to from referee Sainsbury, and the wrath of the home fans for the remainder of the half.

Having brought the home fans into life, this also seemed to inspire Prodomo to make further good saves from Tomlin as he threatened to burst through the home defence every time he dropped back to collect the ball from Burgess or Wolleaston, and the striker was also guilty of shooting wide on a couple of occasions, as well as wasting a free-kick opportunity after an excellent Andy Burgess run had been stopped by a desperate tackle.

Kelly and Hope saw further attempts tipped over by Prodomo before Chris Hope made it 4-0 on 32 minutes as he made space at a corner to get in a clean header on goal.

Kelly and Tomlin combined to create further chances before half-time, as the Diamonds statistics showed attempts on goal well into double figures. Michael Rankine also got back in on the action as he realised the need to drop back to pick up the ball and then run at the defence – on doing this he ran past two defenders and hit a powerful shot that Prodomo did well to save.

Half Time : Weymouth 0 Rushden & Diamonds 4

Neil Cousins replaced Lee Tomlin at the start of the second half, denying the latter a chance of a hat-trick, but within a couple of minutes it was Michael Rankine who was also challenging for the match-ball as he made space to head home an Andy Burgess cross.

Rankine then returned the favour as he set up Andy Burgess who cut inside to hit a curling shot that appeared destined for the top corner of the goal before Prodomo leapt to tip the ball away for a corner – possibly his best of many saves he made on the afternoon.

Shortly after another attempt by Michael Rankine was deflected away for a corner, Rob Wolleaston was able to get the goal his performance deserved as he outmuscled his marker and hit a powerful shot from the edge of the box into the top left hand corner of the net to make in 6-0.

With Michael Rankine now having been replaced by Sam Smith, it was Marcus Kelly who then made the attempt on the match ball. His first goal was scored on 65 minutes, as he cut in from the left hand side and scored with a powerful shot with his left foot. His second goal followed 10 minutes later in very similar fashion to make it 8-0.

Sandwiched between the two Kelly goals was an attempt from Neil Cousins which hit the crossbar, and a good run from defence by Jamie McGuinness which saw him set up Andy Burgess who narrowly missed the goal that his performance deserved.

As the game neared its conclusion there was just time for one final Diamonds goal, and it was the debut goal for Kurt Robinson, who ran at the defence from the half-way line, and hit the ball from the edge of the box into the top left corner of the goal. There was one final attempt by Michael Corcoran to get on the score sheet before referee Sainsbury blew the final whistle on the stroke of 90 minutes.

A final mention must be made of referee Sainsbury, who took an appropriate approach to refereeing what might have been a difficult game. The home fans gave their youngsters a well deserved round of applause at both half-time and full-time, and there was no dissent in the ground when the man-of-the-match award was given to Joe Prodomo in the Terra goal.

Full Time : Weymouth 0 Rushden & Diamonds 9

Justin Edinburgh was sympathetic to the Terras plight, but at the same time pleased with the way his team had approached the game, scoring some decent goals in preparation for a different challenge at home to York City on Tuesday evening.

Teams

Weymouth (Claret / Blue / White): Joe Prodomo, Jordan Vincent, Scott Dixon, Jordan Collins (Capt), Shola Dadson (Tom Richardson 50), Ollie Tribe, Bostry Bansende, Ryan McKechnie, Callum Robins (Sam Poole 46), Turgu Agera, Ben Reiffer (Charlie Tubbs 62).

Subs Not Used : Michael Neish, Aiden Perrett

Rushden & Diamonds (Yellow) : Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano (Jamie McGuinness 51), Simon Downer, Chris Hope, Kurt Robinson, Andy Burgess (Capt), Rob Wolleaston, Michael Corcoran, Marcus Kelly, Michael Rankine (Sam Smith 59), Lee Tomlin (Neil Cousins H/T)

Subs Not Used : Joe Day, Jake Beecroft

Goals : Rankine 8, Tomlin 12, Tomlin 18, Hope 33, Rankine 48, Wolleaston 59, Kelly 66, Kelly 75, Robinson 88

Yellow Cards : None

Referee : A Sainsbury

Attendance : 967 (away approx 75)

Diamonds Man Of The Match : Rob Wolleaston.

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