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

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