Chester City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1 (Match Void)



The Diamonds gained a rare away victory against 9-men Chester City at the Deva Stadium, but following three defeats the result was more important than the overall performance. The goal was scored with less than four minutes on the clock, when Lee Tomlin took a short corner on the right, received the ball back and ran to the edge of the box and shot home. The second half saw two Chester players receive red cards for poor challenges, but the Diamonds did just enough to hold onto victory.

Diamonds Manager Justin Edinburgh made four changes from the team that lost to Altrincham, with Simon Downer suspended, and places on the bench for Cliff Akurang, Mark Byrne, and Matt Pattison alongside James Reid and Dale Roberts meaning a return to the starting line up for Max Porter, Michael Corcoran and Neil Cousins, with Lee Tomlin returning after suspension.

Jim Harvey made four changes to the Blues starting line-up, including the introduction of loan signing Mark Beesley from Cambridge United.

The Diamonds started the first half with a bang, winning three corners in as many minutes. From the second of these Jamie Stuart should have given the Diamonds the lead, as he did well to find space to get on the end of a well-hit corner from the left from Tomlin, but his header was well wide of the target. The Diamonds pressure meant they won a throw on the right, and a smart throw from Michael Corcoran found Aaron O’Connor on the right side of the penalty box, and he forced the home defence to concede their third corner in quick succession. This time the corner was on the right, and Lee Tomlin took it short to Paul Terry, receiving the ball back before running past a defender towards the edge of the box and fired a powerful left-foot shot into the right hand side of the net.

Chester’s main threat came from long balls to Mark Beesley, and on two occasions this tactic almost paid off, once when a Beesley chip was just over, and once when he was flagged offside despite looking like he ran from behind the last defender. The Blues other chance fell to Ben Wilkinson, whose shot was well saved by Abbey, after a good move involving Blundell and Beesley – possibly the only time in the game that the Diamonds keeper was tested in this way.

At the other end, the Diamonds attacks were in fairly short supply, but when they did break they could have done better in front of goal. The first great chance fell to Craig Farrell, after Tomlin and Robinson combined on the left, and Robinson’s low cross was direct to Farrell, but he could only shoot wide.

Lee Tomlin forced a good save from Danby on 33 minutes after O’Connor had found him in space.

The next chance fell to Aaron O’Connor, with a good run by the striker down the left seeing a defender slip over in his wake, but his angled shot was wide of goal.

The two final chances of the half fell to Craig Farrell, as he also found space on the left side of the area, but Danby did well to block the shot, and he then made himself room on the right side of the box, but his pass to O’Connor was slightly behind his strike partner.

Half-Time : Chester City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

The Diamonds started the second half looking as if they wanted to wrap the game up quickly, with the impressive Max Porter providing a threat down the right, with his cross in the first minute of the half.

To balance the threat from Porter on the right, Tomlin and O’Connor also found space on the left, with a defence splitting pass from Tomlin setting O’Connor free on the left of the penalty box, but his shot was blocked for what looked like an obvious corner, but referee Clark gave a goal-kick.

Tomlin was then involved in a challenge with Glenn Rule in midfield, with the defender lunging at a loose ball, and appearing to stamp on Tomlin. Although there may not have been too much malice in the challenge, referee Clark was left with little option but to show a red card to the home defender whilst Tomlin received lengthy treatment for the blow to his jaw.

Tomlin and Robinson then combined with a quick one two down the left, allowing the Diamonds defender to break into the box, but with three men to pick out in the area he could only pass behind them.

With the Diamonds having eradicated the long ball threat seen in the first half, they had a scare when Paul Terry was caught in possession, but Gregg Blundell saw his shot blocked.

With just over 10 minutes to go the home side were reduced to nine men, as substitute Nick Chadwick chased a long ball, reaching it just after Nathan Abbey had gathered it. Opinions differ as to why referee Clark showed a red card to the Blues striker, although those that have seen the match video felt that the poor challenge meant the award was appropriate.

Cliff Akurang struggled to adjust to the pace of the game, but did have one good chance after a 1-2 with the hard working Craig Farrell, but his shot was well wide. Lee Tomlin needed attention from Simon Parsell, and had to leave the pitch with cramp in both legs shortly before the end.

Curtis Osano had needed to change his shirt midway through the first half, after picking up a nose bleed, and the temporary number 15 shirt was seen clearing up in central defence,, as well as injecting some urgency into midfield, and having the best shot of the half, that just flew over the bar, after one of his bustling runs at the home defence,

Osano then made a last ditch clearance from right in front of his own goal, doing really well to avoid heading into his own net, as the Diamonds seemed content to hold onto the ball and see out the remaining minutes.Although this proved the correct approach, it meant that the overall performance wasn’t as satisfying as once again a rare Diamonds away victory was achieved against a side without 11 opponents on the pitch.

Full-Time : Chester City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

The Diamonds have a County Cup game at Daventry in midweek, which will be a chance for some of the fringe players to get action, as well as some of the Youth squad to play alongside them. The next game in the Blue Square Premier is when Tamworth visit Nene Park next Saturday. In the meantime the Diamonds will find out who their opponents are in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Chester City: John Danby, Glenn Rule, Tim Ryan (Capt), Kristian Platt, Neil Ashton, Anthony Barry, Clark Keltie, Ben Wilkinson (Kevin Roberts 63), Michael Lea, Gregg Blundell (Nick Chadwick 61), Mark Beesley

Subs Not Used: Andrew Murphy, James Owen, Adam Kay

Rushden & Diamonds: Nathan Abbey, Michael Corcoran, Kurt Robinson, Max Porter, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Neil Cousins (Matt Pattison 78), Paul Terry, Craig Farrell, Aaron O’Connor (Cliff Akurang 75), Lee Tomlin (James Reid 90+2)

Subs Not Used: Mark Byrne, Dale Roberts

Goal: Lee Tomlin (4)

Yellow Cards: Beesley, Keltie

Red Cards: Rule (60), Chadwick (77)

Referee : R M Clark

Attendance : 1089 (away approx 125)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Max Porter


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