Hayes & Yeading 1 Rushden & Diamonds 6

The Diamonds returned to winning ways on the road with a convincing win over Hayes. The winning margin equalled the scoreline at Barrow earlier in the season, and the victory was as emphatic.

The Diamonds took the lead early in the game, and were 3-0 up by half time. An own goal from Tom Cadmore was followed by one of Lee Tomlin’s best goals for the club, before Aaron O’Connor made it 3-0 in first-half injury time. Three further goals after the break included a Jamie Stuart header and a brace from substitute Craig Farrell before the home side got a late consolation through Scott Fitzgerald. There was a concerning late injury for Steve Basham, who was taken off with a neck brace as the game entered added time, but he was later given the "all clear".

Justin Edinburgh made two changes from the team that drew with Wrexham in midweek, with Aaron O’Connor replacing Craig Farrell, and Rob Wolleaston being rested in favour of Max Porter.

Garry Haylock made a single change for Hayes and Yeading United with Craig Watkins replacing Ram Marwa.

The first half started with the Diamonds dominant, and the home team unable to get out of their own half as they could not get to grips with the Diamonds 4-3-3 formation, using the pace of skills of Tomlin and O’Connor alongside the aerial domination of Jefferson Louis up front. In midfield the trio of Byrne, Porter and Terry showed the benefits of the understanding they have built up between them, At the back Stuart and Downer were solid, forcing the home side to play long balls that were gathered by Roberts.

In the first minute Jefferson Louis headed an Osano cross narrowly wide, possibly with the help of the Hayes keeper, but a few minutes later the Diamonds opened the scoring as Mark Byrne found Lee Tomlin, whose ball into space allowed Jefferson Louis to run clear down the left channel, although his low cross towards O’Connor looked certain to be cut out, it was Tom Cadmore who diverted it into his own net, with Overland flat-footed.

Hayes finally got some meaningful possession in the Diamonds half after five minutes of play in their own half, but a Watkins shot was well dealt with by Roberts. Jefferson Louis set up Lee Tomlin for an attempt that was blocked, and then Mark Byrne saw a header go over the bar as the Diamonds domination continued.

After 19 minutes the Diamonds got a deserved second goal – and what a goal it was !  Lee Tomlin picked up the ball on the right, and dribbled past both Green and Ruby in a crossfield run, before a challenge flicked the ball wide to Mark Byrne, who chested it back to Tomlin, who hit a first time lob over Overland and into the far side of the goal.

Both Kurt Robinson and Curtis Osano were making dangerous runs forwards, with Robinson rather unlucky to see his shot deflected wide after a Mark Byrne dummy put him in the clear,

Tomlin had a shot blocked from a Louis flick-on, and Paul Terry did well to flick on a Tomlin freekick to Aaron O’Connor who was just offside.

Jefferson Louis almost scored the goal his first half performance more than deserved as he headed an Osano cross past Overland, but Tom Cadmore was covering back to clear. Louis then flicked on a long ball from Roberts perfectly into the path of Aaron O’Connor, who was able to run clear, but his shot was too close to Overland and the keeper smothered the danger.

The Diamonds play was breathtaking at times, with Lee Tomlin revelling in his forwards role. His first touch is as good as players in several leagues higher, and he showed this as he scooped a long crossfield pass from Porter past Adam Green, leaving the defender flailing in his wake, although this time his attempted cross / lob flew harmlessly over the goal.

Curtis Osano picked up a knock as he cut out a rare Hayes attack. While his replacement warmed up he pushed forwards into midfield, with Max Porter dropping back, but despite this he was able to flick a ball forwards to Aaron O’Connor, who appeared unlucky to see his run on goal flagged offside. Osano was then replaced by Michael Corcoran, who proved an able deputy.

Dale Roberts was picking out of the air any of the long balls pumped forwards, and his distribution was also very good, helping to create a number of dangerous Diamonds attacks with his throw-outs as well as the long kicks.

As half-time approached there was a feeling that the Diamonds might be somewhat disappointed to go in at the interval only 2-0 ahead, given their complete domination, so the Diamonds third goal was a reflection of their performance in the first period. Jefferson Louis had put in a storming performance in the first half, and as he turned Matt Ruby and looked like he might get a run on goal he was fouled by the defender who picked up a yellow card. The Tomlin free kick was cleared for a corner by Green, but Tomlin hit a powerful low corner which was headed home by Aaron O’Connor, ably supported by Michael Corcoran.

Half-Time: Hayes & Yeading 0 Rushden & Diamonds 3

With both sides having had to make a substitution during the first half, there were no changes at half-time. The Diamonds immediately continued where they had left off, with a Jefferson Louis break in the left channel being blocked by Overland, and then both Byrne and Porter had half-chances as the ball was kept in the danger area.

If was thus no surprise to see the Diamonds get a fourth goal. After Lee Tomlin was fouled just outside the left side of the penalty box. Tomlin took the kick, and Jamie Stuart rose alongside Steve Basham to head home what was initially thought might be a second own-goal.

Michael Corcoran was showing his distribution skills, with one 40 yard crossfield pass to Tomlin trapped "on a sixpence" by his team-mate. Jefferson Louis was finding space as well as winning most of the high-ball challenges, and he ran clear from just inside the United half, but his shot was high and wide into the Diamonds fans who were singing his name for much of the game.

Craig Farrell replaced Lee Tomlin, who had taken a blow to the head in an earlier challenge, and he was quickly in the action to score the Diamonds fifth goal. Simon Downer had made a rare run into the opposition half when he was fouled. He took the kick himself, and Craig Farrell had made space in the area to flick the ball home over Overland.

Kurt Robinson also got in on the action as he set up Craig Farrell to make a powerful run and strike to score the Diamonds sixth goal five minutes later in a manner similar to one of his goals at Barrow.

The Diamonds did relax somewhat in the last fifteen minutes, and this allowed the home side to get a consolation goal. Paul Terry had an excellent game supporting the defence as well as starting the creative moves forward, but he was guilty of a poor flick towards his defenders, which allowed Scott Fitzgerald to run on and lob the ball over Roberts, thus robbing the Diamonds defence of the clean-sheet their performance deserved. Jamie Stuart also made his one mistake of an otherwise flawless performance a minute later, allowing Watkins to get past him and force a corner.

The game ended on a note of concern, as Steve Basham went down after what looked a routine challenge for the ball, but he had to be put in a neck brace and stretchered from the field. He was taken to hospital still in his football kit, but was later given the "all clear".

Referee Ross had an excellent game, and he took the sensible decision to blow the final whistle without playing the full period of added time as clearly there was concern about Basham’s condition,

Full-Time: Hayes & Yeading 1 Rushden & Diamonds 6

This was one of the Diamonds most dominant performances, either at home or away, since they rejoined the Conference. With some well taken goals, as well as outstanding performances from all fourteen players that took to the pitch, it will be a game that lives long in the memories of the 120 or so Diamonds fans that made the trip.

The watching Lee Harper must have been impressed with the Diamonds firepower, as their six goals took them to equal top of the away goal scorers table – and near the top of the total goals scored list. They now have a week to reflect on this game before another trip south – this time to face Grays Athletic.

 

Teams:

Hayes & Yeading: Simon Overland, Danny Allen-Page (Ram Marwa 56), Adam Green, Tom Cadmore (capt), Matt Ruby (Sami El-Abd 69), James Mulley (Scott Fitzgerald 24), Marc Canham, Dale Binns, Justin Cochrane, Craig Watkins, Steve Basham.

Subs Not Used: Toby Little, Chris Baker

Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano (Michael Corcoran 43), Kurt Robinson, Paul Terry, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Mark Byrne, Max Porter, Aaron O’Connor (Rob Wolleaston 71), Jefferson Louis, Lee Tomlin (Craig Farrell 61)

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Sam Smith

Goals: Cadmore (og) (4mins, 0-1), Tomlin (19, 0-2), O’Connor (45+2, 0-3), Stuart (51, 0-4), Farrell (71, 0-5), Farrell (76, 0-6), Fitzgerald (80, 1-6)

Yellow Cards: Ruby (45+1), Fitzgerald (70)

Referee: S Ross

Attendance: 377 (Away approx 120)

Diamonds Man of the Match: A Team Performance

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Rushden & Diamonds 0 Wrexham 0

It was honours even at Nene Park as the Diamonds fought out a goalless draw with Wrexham. Both goalkeepers made several good saves, and both sides hit the woodwork in a fairly even game, with the Diamonds having the better of the first half, but Wrexham looked dangerous on the break in the second.

Justin Edinburgh was able to name an unchanged line-up, with Aaron O’Connor returning to a place on the bench at the expense of Matt Pattison.

The Wrexham manager Dean Saunders made just a single change, with Curtis Obeng replacing the injured Gareth Taylor. That meant Andy Mangan faced the Diamonds in one of his first appearances after scoring a hat trick against the side at the end of last season.

The first half started without a great deal of action until the 15th minute, when Mark Byrne beat the Red Devils offside trap to run toward the left side of goal, and hit an excellent cross which presented Craig Farrell with a great chance that he could only knock onto the crossbar and over for a goal-kick. The visitors then had a chance of their own, when Lamine Sakho beat the Diamonds offside trap to run onto a Mangan pass, but with only Roberts to beat the Diamonds keeper pulled out a fine save.

Curtis Osano was getting forwards well, and saw a left foot shot sail just over the bar. Lee Tomlin saw a well hit shot palmed wide by Russell as the Diamonds dominated the attacking play, and then Farrell headed over after a Byrne cross deflected onto him from Westwood.

After 36 minutes the Diamonds looked to have opened the scoring, when Lee Tomlin made a great run down the right wing, leaving Frank Sinclair in his wake, and hit a low cross which Mark Byrne scrambled home just as the Assistant Referee signalled him offside.

Just before the end of the half Curtis Osano forced a great save from Sam Russell from a powerful right foot shot.

Half-Time: Diamonds 0 Wrexham 0

The Diamonds were forced into a change at half-time, with Jefferson Louis having picked up a knock to the head during the half – leaving him with blurred vision – so he was replaced by Aaron O’Connor at half-time. Wrexham made a change of their own at the break, bringing on James McCluskey, and it was this change that seemed to have the greater impact, as the Red Devils started to get more of the ball in midfield, and Wes Baynes was released to make a number of dangerous forward runs.

A Diamonds free kick almost saw a repeat of the final goal against Barrow, as a Tomlin free-kick was flicked towards goal by Jamie Stuart after he lost his marker, and Craig Farrell saw a shot saved by Russell, whilst his strike partner O’Connor blazed over after a slick Diamonds move.

The visitors looked certain to take the lead after 70 minutes, when a freekick was half-cleared wide to Silvio Spann, and his effort deflected across to Frank Sinclair whose effort hit the angle of post and bar.

Referee Merchant was having an excellent game, but was forced to book two Diamonds players in quick succession, as first Curtis Osano and then Jamie Stuart were guilty of foul tackles.

Wrexham fullback Silvio Spann was getting forwards much more in the second half, and one of his balls into the box eluded both defenders and attackers when it looked certain one of them would get a touch to divert it goalwards. At the other end the introduction of Sam Smith did little to increase the Diamonds threat on goal, and the closest they came was a shot was Simon Downer that was deflected wide.

Dale Roberts made several other good saves, especially from Anoruo as the visitors looked more likely to snatch a winner, but it was the Diamonds who came closest as the game moved into injury time, as a Max Porter cross from the right found Mark Byrne, whose looping header looked destined for the top corner before a desperate leap from Russell saw the keeper tip the ball around the angle for a corner.

 

Full-Time: Diamonds 0 Wrexham 0

Both sides appeared happy with a point at the final whistle, with the Diamonds back five especially pleased with their clean sheet. The next game for R&DFC is the trip to play Hayes and Yeading United at the weekend.

Teams: Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Kurt Robinson, Rob Wolleaston (Max Porter 66), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Mark Byrne, Paul Terry, Jefferson Louis (Aaron O’Connor H/T), Craig Farrell (Sam Smith 77), Lee Tomlin

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Michael Corcoran

Wrexham: Sam Russell, Silvio Spann, Ashley Westwood, Mansour Assoumani, Frank Sinclair, Wes Baynes, Christian Smith, Andy Fleming, Lamine Sakho, Andy Mangan (Obi Anoruo 77), Curtis Obeng (Jamie McCluskey H/T)

Subs Not Used: Nathan Fairhurst, Chris Maxwell (GK), Mike Williams

Yellow Cards: Baynes, Osano, Stuart

Referee: R Merchant

Attendance: 960 (Away 105)

Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by Pestfree: Curtis Osano

Rushden & Diamonds 4 Barrow 1

The Diamonds returned to league action for the first time in 2010 with a convincing win over Barrow, with striker Jefferson Louis getting two goals and an "assist" for a third. The Diamonds took the lead on 14 minutes, when a Rob Wolleaston cross was headed against his own bar by Robin Hulbert under pressure from Mark Byrne, and Jefferson Louis was there to force home the loose ball. Louis got his second inside a minute of the restart, when he slid home a Tomlin cross, and then turned provider to make the third for Craig Farrell. Jamie Stuart completed the Diamonds scoring when he flicked home a Tomlin free-kick, but the team failed to keep a clean sheet when Gregg Blundell converted a Wiles cross inside the last 10 minutes.

Justin Edinburgh made just a single change from the team that lost to Workington in midweek, with Rob Wolleaston making his first start since August, with Max Porter replacing him on a bench that also included Sam Smith.

The Barrow management team made just a single change, with new arrival Nick Chadwick replacing Gregg Blundell.

The game started with the Diamonds winning an early corner, which broke to Lee Tomlin, but he was dispossessed, and the ball quickly passed to Carlos Logan, who made a good run down the left. His cross was to new arrival Nick Chadwick, and his first touch for his new team was to set up fellow striker Jason Walker, but his shot was wide to the right of goal.

The Diamonds took the lead after 14 minutes, when Rob Wolleaston picked up the ball near the right touchline, working himself some space before getting in a powerful low cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Barrow defender Robin Hulbert headed the ball against his own bar under pressure from Mark Byrne, and as the players were appealing that the ball had crossed the line Jefferson Louis scrambled it into the net to avoid further controversy.

Craig Farrell went close a few minutes later, as a 20 yard shot appeared to take a deflection before being gathered by Deasy, and the striker also did well to get a powerful header on goal from a Robinson cross that was marginally behind him, but was unfortunate to see the ball hit a defender.

Phil Bolland had been given a torrid time by the Diamonds strikers in the fixture between the teams in Cumbria, and Farrell and Louis were repeating the treatment at Nene Park, but shots from Tomlin, Byrne and Osano were all wide of the mark.

The best chance of the remainder of the first half fell to the visitors, with Paul Rutherford getting past Paul Terry on the right, getting in a cross towards Chadwick, but Dale Roberts was alert to the danger and made a fine same from the striker’s header.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Barrow 0

The Diamonds showed their intent to control the game rather than try to sit on their lead at the start of the second half. The visitors had an initial break when a Carlos Logan cross went across the box without anybody making contact, but then Mark Byrne picked up the ball in central midfield and quickly spread the ball wide to Lee Tomlin, who made a 20 yard run down the left before hitting a cross which keeper Deasey could not cur out, allowing Jefferson Louis to slide in to net his second goal of the game.

Barrow forced Dale Roberts to make a good save when Chadwick was allowed to turn and shoot in the area, and should have got a goal back when Simon Downer faced a four against one break, but Carlos Logan shot wide. Shortly after that the Diamonds made the game safe when Jefferson Louis picked up the ball about 35 yards out, setting off on a good run down the left channel, shrugging off Phil Bolland, before crossing for Craig Farrell to get the goal his performance deserved.

Referee Martin had been making a number of eccentric decisions that had been puzzling the Diamonds fans all afternoon, and he added to this when stopping a promising Diamonds break in which Phil Bolland scythed down Mark Byrne. The Diamonds midfielder had got the ball through to Louis, running on goal in a better position than the one he had in the move that led up to the third goal. The assumption was that Mr Martin had blown his whistle to show Bolland a red card (which the challenge could easily have merited), but he merely showed the yellow card that he could have shown to Bolland after any Diamonds advantage had been taken.

There was similar controversy just after the hour mark, when substitute Mark Boyd tripped Lee Tomlin, in what looked a clear yellow card offence but none was shown. In this case Tomlin made the visitors pay, as his free kick found the head of Jamie Stuart, whose intelligent run had left him clear of any marker, and he was able to flick the ball over Deasy to give the Diamonds a four goal cushion, taking the Diamonds tally against Barrow into double-figures for the season.

Further chances fell to Farrell, Porter and Osano before the visitors got a consolation goal as substitute Wiles hit a cross from the left which was met by Gregg Blundell who fired into the roof of the net. Ironically Simon Downer picked up a yellow card when showing his frustration at losing the "clean-sheet" whereas the earlier trip by Boyd had gone unpunished.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 4 Barrow 1

With an impressive performance sealing the three points fairly early in the second half, the Diamonds will be looking for a repeat performance on Tuesday evening, when Wrexham are the visitors to NenePark.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Kurt Robinson, Rob Wolleaston (Max Porter 68), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Mark Byrne, Paul Terry, Jefferson Louis (Matt Pattison 81), Craig Farrell, Lee Tomlin (Sam Smith 74)

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Michael Corcoran

Barrow: Tim Deasy, Simon Spender, Phil Bolland (Capt), Robin Hulbert, Andrew Bond, Jason Walker (Gregg Blundell 76), Carlos Logan (Mark Boyd 61), Mike Pearson, Paul Rutherford, Gareth Jelleyman (Simon Wiles 61), Nick Chadwick

Subs Not Used: Stuart Tomlinson (GK), Paul Jones

Goals: Louis (14, 1-0), Louis (46, 2-0), Farrell (57, 3-0), Stuart (62, 4-0), Blundell (82, 4-1)

Yellow Cards : Bolland, Downer

Referee: J Adcock

Attendance: 1134 (Away 83)

Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by Edward, Thomas and Laura Bailey: Jefferson Louis

Workington 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

The Diamonds went out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy when they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at a boggy Borough Park in the much delayed tie. The hosts opening goal was an own goal from Simon Downer mid way through the first half, and they made it 2-0 within 25 seconds of the restart when Andy Hardman broke the Diamonds offside trap and flicked the ball over Dale Roberts (although there was more than a suspicion he was offside). The Diamonds quickly pulled a goal back from a Craig Farrell free kick, but despite dominating the remainder of the game, and seeing Mark Byrne hit the post and have a penalty claim turned down, they could not get back on terms.

This was the Diamonds first game in 2010, but Justin Edinburgh only made a single change to the side that defeated Kidderminster Harriers shortly after Christmas, with Jefferson Louis replacing the injured Aaron O’Connor. The Diamonds had stayed overnight in nearby Weatheral, bringing a squad of 17 to the game, along with cup-tied Sam Smith. Curtis Osano continued at right back, with Simon Downer in central defence. With Mark Byrne playing in central midfield, the Diamonds used Lee Tomlin to operate on either flank as he supported the strikers.

Workington had sorted out the issues with their floodlights – a challenge made even greater by the fact that the normal equipment used to reach the lights was stranded on the other side of the River Derwent, although a short distance away, there was no access to that side of the river due to the damaged caused by the recent floods. The problems with getting to the ground meant that the attendance was lower than would have been expected, but the dozen or so travelling fans still received a warm welcome from their Cumbrian hosts.

The hosts started much the better and were rewarded for their efforts when an Andy Langford cross towards Jonny Wright was diverted past Dale Roberts by Simon Downer after 24 minutes after the keeper hesitated in gathering the ball.

The Diamonds immediately improved, and within four minutes they could have equalised when Mark Byrne struck the post when a free-kick was diverted to him.

Byrne was at the heart of much of the Diamonds action, and his cross from the left should have been turned into the net by Jefferson Louis, but he spooned it over with his right foot when it looked an easy tap in with his left.

A superb Diamonds move came from a throw in on the right, which was quickly switched by Max Porter to Kurt Robinson on the left, and he set up Lee Tomlin for a cross which Craig Farrell met with a firm header which drew a great save from Tony Caig in the final real action of the first half.

The half ended with Reds manager Darren Edmonson picking up a yellow card for protesting to the referee as he was leaving the pitch at the interval – Edmonson was also on the substitutes bench, so this meant he was shown a card rather than the way to the stand.

Half-Time: Workington 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The second half started with a bang, as the home side played the ball upfield for Andy Hardman to run onto, from what looked a clearly offside position. The home striker had plenty of time to charge to the edge of the area and then chip neatly over the advancing Dale Roberts to put the home side two goals clear. The home fans had been challenging every decision referee Mr Duncan and his assistants had been making, but did not seem to realise how fortunate they had been in this instance.

To their credit the Diamonds hit back within three minutes, as the Diamonds put together a slick passing move down the left, leading to Jefferson Louis squaring the ball to Lee Tomlin who was pulled down on the edge of the area. Craig Farrell stepped up and hit an excellent free kick which whizzed over the wall and into the top corner of the net.

The Diamonds were dominating the game now, and looked to have been denied a penalty when Lee Tomlin beat two players before feeding Mark Byrne on the edge of the box. Byrne made a run on goal, and was tackled from behind, losing his footing to the apparent trip, but referee Duncan waved away the penalty claims.

Lee Tomlin forced another good save from Caig after he picked the ball up from a throw-in on the left and cut inside. Byrne and Tomlin then narrowly missed getting on the end of an Osano cross as it looked like the Diamonds must equalise soon.

Rob Wolleaston came on in place of Max Porter, taking up a more forwards role, as there were no strikers on the Diamonds bench, and this almost paid dividends immediately, when he linked up with Tomlin on the edge of the "D" and laid the ball to Mark Byrne, whose shot hit the post for the second time in the game.

Tony Hopper then broke past Kurt Robinson and into the area, and fell over under a challenge from Dale Roberts, who appeared to get a touch on the ball. Referee Duncan had little hesitation in waving away the claims for a penalty.

There was still time for further attempts by Farrell, Louis, Osano and Tomlin, but none of them seriously troubled Caig, and the hosts held out for a win that was loudly celebrated by the sparse crowd.

Full-Time: Workington 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

The Diamonds can now "concentrate on the league" starting with the visit of Barrow on Saturday.

Workington: Tony Caig, Andy Langford, Gari Rowntree, Kyle May, Lee Andrews, Shaun Vipond, Callum Ruttledge (Dan Shannon 73), Tony Hopper, Jonny Wright (Stephen Hindmarch 85), Andy Hardman, Anthony Wright

Subs Not Used: Darren Edmondson, Aaran Taylor, Adam Main

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Kurt Robinson, Max Porter (Rob Wolleaston 60), Simon Downer, Jamie Stuart, Mark Byrne, Paul Terry, Craig Farrell, Jefferson Louis, Lee Tomlin

Subs Not Used: Joe Day, Matt Pattison, Michael Corcoran, Nicky McNamara

Goals: Downer (OG – 24), Hardman (46(, Farrell (49)

Yellow Cards: Edmondson (dissent), Tomlin (foul), Hindmarsh (foul)

Referee :S Duncan

Attendance : 252 (away 12)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Mark Byrne

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