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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