Bath City 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Rushden & Diamonds lost 2-1 to Bath City at Twerton Park on Tuesday evening. The Diamonds took the lead after 6 minutes when Max Porter slotted home a low cross from Rene Howe from the left. After a dominant first-half performance the old cliché of “needing a second goal” was never more appropriate when the home side got a goal back from Adam Connelly 30 seconds into the second half. Darren Edwards then scored the winner for City when heading home unmarked from a free-kick just before the hour mark. Although the Diamonds pressured the home goal for the final half-hour the equaliser was not forthcoming.

Justin Edinburgh made one change from the team that drew with Fleetwood Town on Saturday, with new loan signing Dominic Green replacing Donovan Simmonds. The change allowed Rene How to be switched to the central striking role, with Craig Farrell mostly on the right and Green on the left.

The Diamonds first half performance was far more fluid than that at Nene Park on Saturday, with the midfielders having outlets via the strength and power of Rene Howe, or the pace of Green and hold-up play of Farrell. Justin Miller and Michael Corcoran were providing width when necessary, and the home side produced little to trouble the Diamonds in the first period. The second half was to prove rather different.

With six minutes on the clock Dale Roberts executed a quick throw to Michael Corcoran, whose ball forwards went down the left touchline, forcing Sekani Simpson to concede a throw. Corcoran took a quick throw to Rene Howe, with Dominic Green making a decoy run, and Howe’s pace took him to the byline, and his neat low cross was slotted home by Max Porter.

The Diamonds came close on several other occasions in the half, most notably in injury time when Rene Howe outmuscled his marker to claim a long ball inside the penalty area, but he chose to blast a shot which flew over, when perhaps there was an option to square to the supporting Farrell or Green. This was one of the few times Howe blotted his copybook in the first half, as his running and hold up play were causing the home defence real problems. Unfortunately, despite being on the receiving end of many niggly challenges, and on the wrong end of 50/50 decisions regarding committed challenges, it was Howe that found himself on the receiving end of a yellow card shortly before the break – thus stunting his abilities to make such challenges for the remainder of the game.

Alan Power also saw a goal-bound shot blocked, and another dangerous cross from Howe was cut out just in front of an unmarked Craig Farrell. The Diamonds were spreading the ball across the full width of the pitch, and were also finding the front men with well hit balls into space, with both Corcoran and Osano hitting pinpoint passes forward. Osano followed one of his passes forwards, but hit a long range shot over the bar.

As well as the Howe chance, the Diamonds had two other good chances to double their lead in first-half injury time, but their efforts were in vain.

The home side’s only goal threat in the half came from a low cross from Lewis Hogg that Dale Roberts was forced to save low down as it tracked across the area.

Half Time Bath City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

After a such a dominant performance in the first half the Diamonds found themselves level within 30 seconds of the restart. With the teams lined up as if the kick-off was likely to be played down the Bath left, the ball was played to Sekani Simpson on the right, and although Michael Corcoran covered across to concede a throw, the quickly taken throw went to Adam Connolly who lashed a shot in-off the woodwork from the edge of the area that gave Dale Roberts no chance.

For the first time in the game the home side appeared energised, and they enjoyed their best period of the game. As the hour mark approached, Sido Jombati set off on a forward run, and although his pass was intercepted, the ball was knocked forwards into space with Jombati and Osano running towards the left corner. Although it appeared Osano would win the race, Jombati bumped into him and went down, and referee Berry awarded a free kick. If the award was harsh, the Diamonds only had themselves to blame for what happened next, as the kick from Lewis Hogg went into the area, and Darren Edwards ran unchallenged to head home past a bemused Diamonds defence. Osano’s evening didn’t improve when he suffered a broken nose from a challenge later in the half.

The match then returned to the earlier state where the Diamonds did most of the pressing. Craig Farrell appeared to pick up an injury before being replaced by Ryan Charles, and Matt Johnson took over midfield duties from Lewwis Spence. After Kurt Robinson replaced Justin Miller the Diamonds formation changed, with Corcoran moving to right back, supporting Johnson down the right, with Robinson doing the same with Green on the left, leaving Howe and Charles in the middle, supported by the central midfielders.

Rene Howe continued to make some fully committed challenges, despite his earlier yellow card, such that there was some concern that he might pick up a second card, and he was also encouraging his fellow strikers as the Diamonds battled for an equaliser. His left-foot shot on the turn after 85 minutes flew over the bar, as it began to look like the Diamonds would not be able to force the equaliser.

Several of the Diamonds best chances fell to Alan Power, but several of his efforts were blocked, and at least two others flew over the target. Matt Johnson had taken over long-throw duties from Justin Miller, and one of these caused real problems for the home defence, but the ball squirmed wide of goal for a corner. Dominic Green had taken over duties with free kicks and corners, and one free kick was deflected narrowly wide, and his well-hit corners were well dealt with by the home side, although Michael Corcoran went close on one occasion to repeating his late goal scored on Saturday.

Referee Berry signalled six minutes of added time, but the Diamonds could not get the equalising goal, although Jamie Stuart picked up a late yellow card as home keeper Robinson’s methods to use up the remaining time proved frustrating.

Full Time Bath City 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

There was a lot to encourage the travelling fans in this game, especially in the first half performance, but the two goals conceded were a disappointment, and the Diamonds will look to eradicate these errors during their trip to Barrow at the weekend.

Teams

Bath City: Ryan Robinson, Sekani Simpson, Sido Jombati, Gethin Jones, Danny Webb, Darren Edwards (Jake Reid 70), Adam Connolly, Adie Harris , Lewis Hogg (Capt), Marc Canham, Lee Phillips (Jim Rollo 88)

Subs Not Used: Hector Mackie, Callum Hart, Matt Coupe

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Justin Miller (Kurt Robinson 73), Michael Corcoran, Max Porter, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Alan Power, Lewwis Spence (Matt Johnson 64),, Craig Farrell (Ryan Charles 64), Rene Howe, Dominic Green

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Shane Huke

Goals: Porter (0-1, 6mins), Connolly (1-1, 46), Edwards (2-1, 58)

Yellow Cards: Adam Connolly, Rene Howe, Max Porter, Jamie Stuart

Referee: Carl Berry (Cheam)

Attendance: 876 (away approx 110)

Match Gallery Pictures courtesy of Mal Swinden

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