Rushden & Diamonds 8 Gateshead 0

The Diamonds maintained their excellent recent run of results with a record-breaking victory over Gateshead by eight goals to nil at Nene Park – their best ever league victory at home. The Diamonds took the lead after 6 minutes when a Mark Byrne corner was headed home by Jamie Stuart. After chances for both sides the Diamonds got a second goal on the stroke of half-time when a Jefferson Louis cross was flicked through a gap in the defence by Lee Tomlin for Max Porter to run onto and slot home his second goal in successive games. The Diamonds went on to score six goals in the second half, with goals from Jefferson Louis (2), Mark Byrne, Lee Tomlin, Craig Farrell and Simon Downer.

Justin Edinburgh brought back captain Jamie Stuart and Paul Terry after suspension, meaning that Matt Pattison and Curtis Osano started on the bench. Gateshead manager Ian Bogie was without suspended Andy Ferrell in midfield, as well as captain Kris Gate, and ex-Diamond Daryl Clare was a surprise absentee.

A late change of referee saw James Adcock take charge of a Diamonds game for the fifth time.

The game started brightly, and for the second game running there was an excellent early chance for Aaron O’Connor, who did really well to take a Max Porter pass in his stride, but his shot was palmed into the air by keeper Farman, and then cleared away from danger by a covering defender.

Mark Byrne then saw a shot saved, but the first Diamonds goal wasn’t too long coming. Craig Baxter fouled Lee Tomlin on the half-way line in front of the North Stand, but referee Adcock played an excellent advantage, allowing to Jefferson Louis to break forwards and win a corner. Adcock was then able to show Baxter a yellow card as Tomlin received treatment. With Tomlin off the pitch, the corner was taken hard and low by Mark Byrne, and Jamie Stuart had made a clever run to find space and head home the opening goal, with a defender on the line only able to head the ball up into the top of the net.

There was an immediate chance for the Diamonds to increase their lead, as Lee Tomlin led a break down the Diamonds right, with the visiting defence pushed forwards, and he squared the ball to the equally unmarked Mark Byrne who was running down the left channel. Unfortunately the midfielder took the ball early and thus brought the ball towards the centre of the field, allowing a challenge to come in and quash the goal-threat.

The visitors first chance came following a cross from Peter Winn, with the ball flicked into the area, where it was headed on by Graeme Armstrong towards Carl Jones, but Dale Roberts was alert enough to gather at his feet.

As the half-hour approached the second Diamonds goal was proving elusive. Jefferson Louis worked a 1-2 with Kurt Robinson, before firing a shot that Farman saved well.

The Diamonds won their second corner of the game, and this time Tomlin took it, and he picked out Michael Corcoran on the far post, who perhaps could have done better than heading over the bar.

Aaron O’Connor and Mark Byrne both had sight of goal, but chose to shoot from long range allowing Farman to gather, and Roberts was called into action at the other end to stop a powerful shot by Peter Winn.

As the end of the half was approaching there was a general feeling that the Diamonds had failed to capitalise on their early goal, with a tendency to overplay at times – and indeed this had led to several Gateshead breaks that might have seen them sneak an equaliser.

The turning point in the game was thus perhaps on the stroke of half-time, as Jefferson Louis received the ball from Mark Byrne out on the right flank and hit an accurance low cross to Lee Tomlin who was running in towards the Tynesiders defence. Tomlin threaded a pass first-time through the defence for Max Porter to run onto and slot home his second goal in two games, after opening his account for the club last weekend.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Gateshead 0

After the Diamonds had finished the first half with a vital second goal, it was important they didn’t concede a goal back at the start of the second, and after an early chance for Max Porter the visitors had their best chance of the game, with an effort from Graeme Armstrong well saved by Dale Roberts after a Parkinson corner.

After that early scare the Diamonds broke down the left, with Mark Byrne winning the ball and setting Lee Tomlin free down the left wing. His cross found Jefferson Louis on the right hand side of the box, and he hit a shot on the half-volley across the keeper for the Diamonds third goal.

Jefferson Louis was having an excellent game, showing control with both head and feet, and his flick-on of a Robinson throw found Mark Byrne, who allowed the ball across his body before stroking home the fourth goal.

The Diamonds fifth goal came after 65 minutes, and this time it was Lee Tomlin who profited from some good play and an unselfish pass from Max Porter in the centre of the area after Craig Farrell, Mark Byrne and Jefferson Louis had combined down the Diamonds left channel. Tomlin received the ball on the right hand side of the area, and dinked it over the onrushing Farman and into the net.

Any thoughts that the Diamonds might settle for the five goals were dispelled by the actions of captain Jamie Stuart as he cajoled his players to keep focussed during a break in play. Craig Farrell had joined the action after the fourth goal, and he was clearly hungry to get his name on the scoresheet, as well as assisting his team-mates improve upon their goal difference.

It was Farrell who provided a pinpoint delivery for the sixth goal, as he broke down the right to latch onto a pass from Sam Smith, before hitting a cross for Jefferson Louis to head home his second goal of the game

Although the Diamonds finishing during the second half had been clinical (in contrast to the first), there was still time for keeper Farman to make a tremendous save from a Craig Farrell volley on the turn, tipping it over the bar for a corner, from which Curtis Osano headed over from a good position in front of goal.

Jefferson Louis returned the compliment from his earlier goal when he received the ball in the centre circle, holding off one defender before setting off on a run towards goal before he laid the ball to Craig Farrell who was just outside the right-hand corner of the box. Farrell took a touch to take the ball just inside the box and then hit a powerful right foot shot across the keeper and inside the far post to make it seven-nil. This was possibly the best goal of the afternoon – although perhaps Max Porter’s goal to make it 2-0 was the most important.

Visiting keeper Farman had not been at fault for any of the first seven goals, but he picked up a yellow card for continually protesting the decisions of the impressive Mr Adcock.

The goalscoring was not over though, and after 7 good goals there was a comic hint to the eighth. Simon Downer moved into the opposition half to close down a visiting midfielder, and then continued to chase an inconclusive pass into defence, before continuing to chase down the back-pass to Farman. The keeper’s afternoon went from bad to worse as he tried to hack clear forwards rather than sideways, and the mishit clearance span back to Downer, allowing the Diamonds defender to collect the loose ball and slot home his first goal for the club.

Apart from a late chance for Jefferson Louis to seal a deserved hat-trick which he fired wide, the game ended 8-0 without further incident, with credit also due to the travelling fans who had stayed until the end of the game before their long trip home.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 8 Gateshead 0

The 8-0 victory is the record home victory in league games, equalled only by a similar scoreline in a County Cup game. The previous record was a 7-0 victory over Redditch United in 1994. It means that Justin Edinburgh has been in charge for both the Diamonds record away victory (9-0 at Weymouth), and the record home league victory.

The team now have a free week to prepare for the trip to Altrincham next weekend, with their hosts facing Kettering in midweek, giving the Diamonds management team a chance to plot an approach to what will be the first of a tough run-in for the team, with all their remaining opponents in the top 12 in the table apart from Ebbsfleet,

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Michael Corcoran (Curtis Osano 66), Kurt Robinson, Max Porter, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Mark Byrne, Paul Terry, Jefferson Louis, Aaron O’Connor (Craig Farrell 61), Lee Tomlin (Sam Smith 76).

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Matt Pattison

Gateshead: Paul Farman, Craig Baxter, Carl Jones, Phil Turnbull, Andy Parkinson (James Sinclair 53), Chris Swailes, Brian Wake (Steven Richardson 53), Graeme Armstrong, Peter Winn (Wayne Phillips 68), Paul Heckingbottom (Capt), Alex Francis,

Subs Not Used: Jim Provett (GK), Wayne Buchanan

Goals: Jamie Stuart (6mins, 1-0), Max Porter (45mins, 2-0), Jefferson Louis (50mins, 3-0), Mark Byrne (54mins, 4-0), Lee Tomlin (65mins, 5-0), Jefferson Louis (78mins, 6-0), Craig Farrell (81mins, 7-0), Simon Downer (85mins, 8-0)

Yellow Cards: Baxter (Foul), Armstrong (Foul), Farman (Dissent)

Referee: James Adcock (Notts)

Attendance: 1414 (Away 31)

Diamonds Man of the Match: A team performance

For video highlights see here.

Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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