Eastbourne Borough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 2-0 victory over Eastbourne Borough in Sussex at a very wet Priory Lane. They took the lead after 27 minutes when a Justin Miller throw on the right was flicked on by Tim Sills for Rene Howe to slot home. Miller got the second goal when he headed home a Matt Johnson corner after 36 minutes.

The Diamonds were able to control the remainder of the game, with Joe Day and his back four earning a deserved clean sheet.

Justin Edinburgh made a single change in from the team that lost at home to Crawley Town with Matt Johnson replacing the rested Alan Power, meaning that Lewwis Spence took his place on the bench.

It was clear from the first whistle that this would be an open game, with the hosts already ready to work the ball forwards quickly. One such move saw Curtis Osano pick up an early yellow card when he fouled Jamie Taylor. Osano and Jamie Day then collided on their edge of their own area, with Day needing attention from Harry Scott-Stackman. The best chance in the first quarter fell to Max Porter, when he attempted a long range lob towards goal, after keeper Banks had rushed out to close down the run of Matt Johnson down the right channel – but Porter’s attempt was dealt with by a covering defender.

The Diamonds seemed to have assessed the threat from their opponents in the first quarter, and stepped up a gear from then on. After 27 minutes good work by Johnson and Porter earned the Diamonds a throw on the right, and Justin Miller used his long throw to hurl the ball deep into the area, where Tim Sills flicked the ball on for Rene Howe to run onto and fire into the left hand side of the goal with his left foot.

All three Diamonds strikers were always willing to do the running to support their midfielders, and Tim Sills showed his creative abilities several times, including when he turned and hit a sublime reverse pass from will inside his own half across the field to set Aaron O’Connor clear on goal, but the Diamonds striker saw his effort fended away.

As well as one of his best performances in the Diamonds midfield, Matt Johnson was also causing problems with his long throws on the left, and from one of these the Diamonds forced a corner on the left. Johnson took the kick, and his low flat ball went to the far post where Justin Miller ghosted in to head home home his third goal of the season – joining Rene Howe as the Diamonds top scorer.

The hosts had little in reply to the Diamonds two goals – the only real danger to Joe Day’s goal in the first half came when referee Powell awarded the Sports a rather soft free kick for what looked a fair challenge by Curtis Osano, but the Weatherstone free-kick from 25 yards was always going over the bar.

Half-Time: Eastbourne Borough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

After seeing a quick response from opponents in the second half in earlier away games this season, it was important the Diamonds did not concede a goal early in the half, and they coped comfortably with any threat from the Sports. Jamie Day was forced to leave the field five minutes into the half, with Kurt Robinson his replacement. The nearest the Sports came all game was when Matt Crabb got on the end of a cross from the left, heading powerfully into the ground, but Joe Day leapt to tip the bouncing ball over the bar.

Although the hosts continued to try to push forwards, they were met by a well organised Diamonds defence, with Joe Day catching or punching clear any loose balls. Kurt Robinson quickly slotted back into the left back role, and he did well to clear at the far post ahead of an onrushing forward.

The Diamonds really should have wrapped the game up, as they created three excellent chances during the half. From the first, after 64 minutes, Tim Sills judged a looping ball better than his marker Neil Jenkins, dropping back to make space and then turned and hit a shot that deserved to find the net, but keeper Banks pulled off a fine save. The second after 75 minutes saw Aaron O’Connor burst forwards down the left channel and hit a powerful shot that Banks could only parry, but Rene Howe blasted the loose ball well over the bar. The third, three minutes later, saw a Justin Miller throw on the right helped on by Rene Howe to Tim Sills, whose header was well saved by Banks. Sills also went close with a fine scissors kick on the turn which angled across the goal, but went just wide.

The excellent saves from Banks earned him the home man-of-the-match award, and indicated how much more threatening the Diamonds were looking up-front.

Full-Time: Eastbourne Borough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

The Diamonds now have only two clear days to prepare for another away trip – to Cheshire on Saturday to face Altrincham.

Teams:

Eastbourne Borough: Rikki Banks, Darren Baker (Ben Austin 69), Steve Cook, Yado Mambo, Simon Johnson, Matt Crabb, Simon Weatherstone (Matt Smart 76), Nathan Crabb, Neil Jenkins, Jamie Taylor, Richard Pacquette (Andy Atkin 69)

Subs Not Used: Dan Brown, Steve Brinkhurst

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day (GK), Justin Miller, Jamie Day (Kurt Robinson 52), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Max Porter, Matt Johnson (Lewwis Spence 82), Shane Huke, Aaron O’Connor (Ryan Charles 88), Rene Howe, Tim Sills

Subs Not Used: Lance Key (GK), Dominic Green.

Goals: Howe (27, 0-1), Miller (36, 0-2)

Yellow Cards: Osano, Cook, Robinson, Spence

Referee: Mr C Powell (Dorset)

Attendance: 802 (away approx 50)

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Rushden & Diamonds 0 Crawley Town 1

Rushden & Diamonds slipped to a narrow defeat by big-spending Crawley Town at Nene Park. The visitors took the lead in first half injury time when Matt Tubbs slotted home a Dean Howell cross. The Diamonds battled away in the second half, but struggled to create more than one or two real chances, although they had claims for a penalty turned down late in the game.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the team that defeated Histon in midweek with Rene Howe replacing the injured Craig Farrell, and new signing Tim Sills replacing Ryan Charles.

Crawley made several changes to the side beaten by AFC Wimbledon in midweek with Michel Kuipers returning after suspension, and new loan signing Dannie Bulman starting along with Ben Smith.

The first half started brightly, with both sides creating several half-chances. Alan Power volleyed over when a Justin Miller long throw was headed out to him, and then a Jamie Day cross from the left was fired over by Rene Howe.

The visitors almost went ahead when Curtis Osano missed a high bouncing ball and Matt Tubbs hit his left-foot shot wide of the right-hand post. They had a further chance a minute later when Kyle McFadzean won the ball in the air from a free kick, but this time it was Sergio Torres who fired wide.

Tim Sills was winning his share of ball, and his flick found Rene Howe in the left channel, who flicked on to Aaron O’Connor, but the striker’s shot was wide. A second dangerous cross from Jamie Day came when he latched onto a flick from Rene Howe, but Max Porter couldn’t take advantage and missed the target.

Yellow Cards for Alan Power and Rene Howe were both surprise decisions by Mr Amphlett, with Power cautioned for continuing with play and firing over the bar a fraction of a second after the referee had blown for a free kick. Howe then appeared to be in a 50-50 challenge with McFadzean and Howell, but also saw yellow.

The Diamonds best move of the first half came when Howe flicked on to Tim Sills in the right channel, and he let the ball run to the byline and hit the ball low across the area towards Aaron O’Connor but Glenn Wilson did well to cut out the danger.

One minute of added time had been signalled when the Diamonds lost the ball in their left midfield, and the ball was quickly worked to the Crawley left where Dean Howell was in plenty of space to run and hit a low cross which was knocked home by Matt Tubbs.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Crawley Town 1

After receiving such a blow right at the interval, the Diamonds needed to react to the setback as well as adjusting to their opponents’ tactics once ahead in the game.

Crawley adjusted their play to tighten things up in midfield, with one of their strikers taking it in turns to drop back and supplement the midfield four.

With a number of changes made, and the introduction of Matt Johnson and Dominic Green, the Diamonds pushed Jamie Day forwards in an attempt to try a 3-4-3 formation, keeping the threat up front, whilst bolstering a midfield that had struggled to provide a decent service to the strikers.

Although the Diamonds had more of the possession in the second half, the number of times they threatened the equaliser was very limited. Max Porter had a good chance after 71 minutes when he received a throw from Justin Miller, played a 1-2 with Aaron O’Connor to burst to the end of the penalty area, but the chance to shoot came with the ball on his left foot, and he scooped the ball over the bar. Free kicks from Jamie Day on the left were presenting some danger – with Tim Sills showing that he will give the Diamonds an aerial threat should he get the service. One of these chances saw the ball run loose in the area after Sills and McAllister had clashed heads, but only the prone Sills was near the loose ball, so the danger was cleared.

As the game enter the last five minutes Dominic Green put in one of the better Diamonds corners, and as Rene Howe turned towards the edge of the area to try to collect the ball he appeared to be pushed from behind, but referee Amphlett chose to ignore his claims.

Although the Diamonds managed to force a number of corners, as well as opportunities for the long throws of Johnson and Miller, most of these opportunities provided keeper Kuipers with fairly straightforward catches. Kuipers was warned for time-wasting by referee Amphlett, as his team-mates ensured that the maximum time possible was taken for each substitution. Both Sills and McAllister received treatment during the half, and three further yellow cards were handed out, but only three minutes of time were added before the referee brought the game to a close.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Crawley Town 1

The Diamonds now have to prepare for two trips in the next seven days – to Eastbourne on Wednesday, and Altrincham on Saturday.

Teams: Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Max Porter, Alan Power (Matt Johnson 62), Shane Huke (Dominic Green 77), Aaron O’Connor, Rene Howe, Tim Sills (Ryan Charles 85)

Subs Not Used: Lance Key (GK), Kurt Robinson

Crawley Town: Michel Kuipers, Ben Smith (Danny Hall 87), Glenn Wilson, Dean Howell, Kyle McFadzean, Sergio Torres, Dannie Bulman, Pablo Mills, Scott Neilson, Matt Tubbs (Ben Wright 80), Richard Brodie (Craig McAllister 70)

Subs Not Used: Nick Jordan (GK), Steven Masterton

Goal: Tubbs (45+1)

Yellow Cards: Power, Howe, O’Connor, Huke, McFadzean

Referee: Marvyn Amphlett (Kidderminster)

Attendance: 1162 (away 80)

Diamonds Man of the Match: Jamie Day

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Histon 0

Rushden & Diamonds convincingly defeated Histon at Nene Park, although the 2-0 scoreline was not a proper reflection of their domination. After a frustrating first half where many chances were created but not converted, Justin Miller opened the scoring for the Diamonds five minutes into the second half with a left foot volley, and then Aaron O’Connor made the game safe with a header after 67 minutes.

Justin Edinburgh made a single change to the team that drew at Southport on the previous Saturday, with Ryan Charles replacing the injured Rene Howe. Goalkeeper Dale Roberts was still unavailable due to injury, meaning that Joe Day made his home debut in the league. The 4-3-3 formation was retained from Saturday, with Farrell, O’Connor and Charles up-front.

Histon manager David Livermore made a single change, bringing in Ben Clarke for the suspended Lee Wootton.

The Diamonds made chance after chance in the first half, with all the Diamonds strikers seeing efforts well saved by Joe Welch, and he also saved well from Alan Power, and Max Porter also headed wide – all inside the first fifteen minutes.

Other chances during the first half were either thwarted by Welch or his defence, while the visitors had a couple of chances late in the half, with Omer Riza causing some problems to a defence that had little to do for the first quarter of the game.

The best move of the half was down the Diamonds right, with Shane Huke starting things by finding Max Porter, then a quick interchange of passes with Justin Miller saw Porter’s pass forwards reach Alan Power courtesy of a dummy from Craig Farrell, and then Power’s first shot was saved by Welch, and his follow-up attempt was cleared away by Remi Clerima.

The early Diamonds chances had been from the first minute, when a ball forwards from Jamie Stuart saw Ryan Charles run into the area ahead of the Stutes defence, but Welch made the first (and possibly the best) of several great saves he made during the evening.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Histon 0

After so many chances had fallen to the Diamonds strikeforce and the attacking midfielders, it was perhaps no surprise that the Diamonds breakthrough finally came courtesy of one of their defenders, five minutes into the second half. Justin Miller picked up the ball near the half-way line, running forwards to play a one-two with Craig Farrell and then running past a defender on the edge of the area, moving the ball sideways and then volleying into the right-hand side of the net. The goal brought back memories of Peter Hawkins goal against Northampton several season earlier, as goals from open play from Diamonds full-backs have been in short supply in recent seasons.

The Diamonds domination continued, with both Porter and Power having further good chances, the closest being when Porter struck the bar. Joe Day continued to impress as he deputised for Dale Roberts, with a solid save from a Daniel Sparkes free kick, and his distribution was also very assured.

With two-thirds of the game gone, the Diamonds got their deserved second goal. Max Porter was fouled on the left-hand side about 35 yards out, and Jamie Day produced another good ball into the box which was headed firmly into the net by Aaron O’Connor.

The Diamonds continued to press and create chances, with perhaps the best falling to Justin Miller, after Craig Farrell had harried Remi Clerima into conceding a corner, then took the kick himself and saw it flick off a head in the centre of the area and fall to Miller on the right, but the angle proved too narrow and his shot went over the bar.

The biggest concerns in the final quarter were Histon’ two best chances of the half that saw crosses flash across the area, and a number of injuries for the Diamonds. Jamie Day limped off to be replaced by Kurt Robinson, and, after the final substitute was used when Dominic Green replaced Ryan Charles, Shane Huke was troubled with cramp and Craig Farrell with a hamstring problem.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Histon 0

With an extra day’s break before hosting Crawley on Sunday, the Diamonds will need to take advantage in order to help several players regain fitness.

Teams :

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day (GK), Justin Miller, Jamie Day (Kurt Robinson 76), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Max Porter, Alan Power (Matt Johnson 68), Shane Huke, Aaron O’Connor, Ryan Charles (Dominic Green 77), Craig Farrell

Subs Not Used: Lance Key (GK), Lewwis Spence

Histon: Joe Welch, Erkan Okay (Capt), Remy Clerima, Oluwafemi Ilesanmi, Daniel Sparkes, Zac Mills, Ben Clarke (James Stevenson 90+2), Romone McCrae, Zac Attwood (Edward Adjei 83), Omer Riza, Danny Mills (Lee Smith 69)

Subs Not Used: George Lawton (GK), Lewis Taaffe

Goals: Miller (50), O’Connor (67)

Yellow Card: Curtis Osano

Referee: Andy Hendley (Halesowen)

Attendance: 926 (away 73)

Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by Pestfree Pest Control: Justin Miller

Southport 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Rushden & Diamonds fought back from behind twice to claim a 2-2 draw with Southport at Haig Avenue on an autumnal afternoon in Lancashire with heavy rain throughout the first half. Southport’s opening goal was scored after just six minutes, when a long ball down the Southport left was chased by Tony Gray and he was brought down by Joe Day in the corner of the penalty area. Matty McGinn fired home the penalty. The Diamonds equalised after 57 minutes when Aaron O’Connor tapped home from close in. The home side retook the lead ten minutes later when Liam Blakeman headed home a Barratt cross. With less than five minutes left substitute Matt Johnson scored his debut goal for the Diamonds, with a powerful shot from the edge of the area that took a slight deflection.

Justin Edinburgh made three changes in personnel from the team that lost at home to Newport County. Joe Day started after Dale Roberts had picked up a leg injury on England C duty. Shane Huke returned to the squad after his recent injury and he started in a midfield three alongside Power and Porter. Up-front Craig Farrell started alongside Howe and O’Connor. With Joe Day starting the Diamonds included Lance Key on the bench, having registered him in time for the game.

Southport manager Liam Watson replaced his injured defender Chris Leaver with Robbie Williams, and Tony Gray replaced Steve Daly up front.

With heavy rain falling, those Diamonds fans who had beaten the traffic were allowed to sit undercover, although nine hardy souls chose to stand in the rain for the first half-hour before being brought under cover to join the other 50 or so Diamonds fans.

After a fairly uneventful first five minutes, the home side saw Robbie Williams clear up in front of Rene Howe and pass to McGinn who in turn looped the ball forwards down the left, over the Diamonds defence. Although Joe Day initially looked favourite to get to the ball first, the fact he would need to field the ball right on the edge of his area had an impact, and striker Tony Gray was able to get a toe to the ball first and Day’s challenge then left referee Graham little choice but to point to the spot. Matty McGinn stepped up to fire the penalty past Day, who had picked up a yellow card for the challenge. Had Day seen red it would have meant an unexpected Diamonds debut for Lance Key.

The Diamonds had the majority of the attacking play for the remainder of the first half, but were unable to force home keeper McMillan into a save. Max Porter had a good chance for a shot on the turn which he fired wide, and Rene Howe shot wide just before the break. Craig Farrell and Aaron O’Connor had also missed from close range during the half, and although the home side had struggled to create much going forwards they did have a couple of chances to increase their lead during the half.

Half-Time: Southport 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds were forced into making a change at half-time with Rene Howe having picked up a muscle injury in his back during the first half. Ryan Charles replaced him, with the 4-3-3 formation retained.

The Diamonds seemed much more prepared to shoot in the second half, with Craig Farrell forcing an early save from McMillan, and another attempt by Max Porter forcing a corner which then led to a scramble that might have brought the equaliser, but a last ditch clearance from Jamie Stuart forced the ball away for another corner.

The Diamonds got the equaliser their possession merited after 57 minutes. The ball was worked down the right, with Charles and Porter interchanging passes before Porter chipped the ball across the area to Aaron O’Connor who ghosted in at the far post, leaving the Diamonds striker with a fairly simple finish to make the scores level.

The thought then was that the Diamonds were the most likely to go on and win the game, but ten minutes later, with just about their only chance of the second half, the home side retook the lead, The ball was worked onto the right hand side, and substitute Paul Barratt seemed to be given too much time to chip a simple cross to Liam Blakeman at the far post, and he headed high into the net.

Alan Power had been getting forward more than in recent games as Shane Huke had stepped into the more defensive midfield role , and his shot just after the 70 minute mark forced a save from McMillan,

The game looked to be slipping away from the Diamonds, but the introduction of Matt Johnson gave the side fresh impetus, and his play and his long throws were causing the home side problems. Johnson had replaced Justin Miller, with Curtis Osano moving out to right-back, and Shane Huke dropping back to centre back. Even so, it looked like the Diamonds might go empty handed when good work by the ever industrious Aaron O’Connor in the left channel saw him make space for a shot on the left edge of the area, but his effort hit Ryan Charles when it looked like it might test McMillan.

With under five minutes of normal time left the equaliser came, The break started down the Diamonds left, with Jamie Day picking up the ball just inside the Southport half, and then he cut inside towards the "D" in the penalty area before hitting a neat pass to Matt Johnson, who had found himself space about 25 yards out in the right channel. Johnson ran onto the ball and hit a powerful shot, which although taking a slight deflection, looked destined to beat keeper McMillan.

Once again the thought was that the Diamonds might be the most likely to score again, as the match moved into four minutes of injury time, but the visitors did have one last chance when Ashley Winn made himself space for a shot, but fired just wide.

Full-Time: Southport 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2

The Diamonds now have to prepare for the visit of Histon to Nene Park on Tuesday evening.

Teams:

Southport: Tony McMillan (GK), Kevin Lee, Robbie Williams, Adam Flynn (Capt), Earl Davis, Ashley Winn, Alan Moogan, Matty McGinn, Liam Blakeman (Steve Daly 78), Tony Gray (Paul Barratt 64), Matty McNeil (Adam Collins 84)

Subs Not Used: Steve Dickinson (GK), Shaun Gray

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day (GK), Justin Miller (Matt Johnson 74), Jamie Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Shane Huke, Alan Power, Max Porter, Craig Farrell, Aaron O’Connor, Rene Howe(Ryan Charles 45)

Subs Not Used: Lance Key (GK), Dominic Green, Kurt Robinson

Goals: McGinn (6, 1-0(pen)), O’Connor (57, 1-1), Blakeman (67, 2-1), Johnson (86, 2-2)

Yellow Cards: Joe Day, Max Porter

Referee: Paul Graham (Manchester)

Attendance: 876 (away approx 60)

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Newport County 1

Rushden & Diamonds suffered their first home defeat of 2010 as they lost their long unbeaten home record to league newcomers Newport County. The Exiles took the lead after 33 minutes when Curtis Osano failed to deal with a looping ball over his head, and Craig Reid nipped in to knock the ball past Dale Roberts. The visitors then held out for the remainder of the game, with the Diamonds struggling to create clear-cut chances.

Justin Edinburgh made three changes to the team that lost at York the previous weekend, with Justin Miller returning from suspension and Aaron O’Connor fit to start his first game of the season. Jamie Day replaced Kurt Robinson at left back, to make his first start of his Diamonds career. Lewwis Spence and Matt Johnson joined Robinson on the bench along with Craig Farrell. With O’Connor playing up front Ryan Charles switched to the right flank in place of Johnson.

Exiles manager Dean Holdsworth made a single change, with Cardiff City loanee Martin John replacing Kerry Morgan.

With the sun shining at Nene Park, and a strong breeze blowing down the pitch the Exiles chose to attack the AirWair end in the first half, with both the wind and sun at their backs.

The Diamonds started brightly, and could have taken the lead as early as the first minute when Ryan Charles did well on the right to find Max Porter, and his pass found Aaron O’Connor about 12 yards from goal. The striker turned quickly, but his effort was too close to keeper Thompson and the ball was parried away.

After 33 minutes the decisive goal came. Curtis Osano attempted a clearance upfield which was volleyed straight back by a Newport midfielder, and the although the wind-assisted ball went over his head, it seemed to present Osano with a routine task – either to head the ball back to Dale Roberts or clear it into touch after it had bounced once. However he chose to let the ball drop to the floor for a second time, allowing striker Craig Reid to nip in and tap the ball past the advancing Roberts and into the net.

The visitors were not creating too many chances, but they did at least force Dale Roberts to save a Charlie Henry freekick. Apart from the early chance for O’Connor, the Diamonds best chance of the half came when Ryan Charles hit a powerful low ball into the area which Rene Howe appeared to have flicked into the net, but keeper Thompson made an excellent stop before being fouled.

The final chance of the half fell to the Diamonds, as Aaron O’Connor set Rene Howe free for a run on the left, but his low ball across the area narrowly eluded Ryan Charles at the far post.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Newport County 1

As in the first half the Diamonds created an early chance, and this time it was a good run from Justin Miller that saw his pass present Rene Howe with a good chance, but he tried to take a touch which allowed a Todd to get in a challenge. Howe also found space on the left to get in a cross that found Ryan Charles at the far post, but his effort at hooking the ball back into the danger area was fielded by keeper Thompson.

After the hour mark was reached with little being created the Diamonds switched to 4-3-3 with Charles moving up-front, but it had little impact, even when Craig Farrell replaced Aaron O’Connor. Lewwis Spence did at least try shooting from distance, but his effort was blocked and flew away for a corner. Rene Howe did spring the offside trap after 68 minutes, but he chose to try to set up a team-mate, and saw Lewwis Spence have his effort blocked.

The Diamonds attempts at salvaging something from the game were becoming more desperate, and they started to waste what opportunities they had, with a free-kick in a good position being wasted by being taken too quickly, and then a similar change being totlally squandered when Craig Farrell tried to set Lewwis Spence free, but the ball rolled tamely out for a goal kick.

In fact it was the visitors who came closest to scoring in the half, with substitute Sam Foley forcing a good save from Dale Roberts, and then seeing a powerful shot fly just wide. Further opportunities were squandered by the Diamonds without troubling keeper Thompson, and the visitors held out comfortably until the final whistle.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Newport County 1

After seeing the end of a 16 game unbeaten home run that has stretched back to December 2009, the Diamonds will be looking to get something from their visit to another league newcomer, Southport, next weekend.

Teams :

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Max Porter (Lewwis Spence 63), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Alan Power, Ryan Charles, Aaron O’Connor (Craig Farrell 69), Rene Howe, Dominic Green (Matt Johnson 77)

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Kurt Robinson.

Newport County: Glyn Thompson, Paul Bignot, Chris Todd, Gary Warren (Capt), Eddie Odhiambo, Charlie Henry (Sam Foley 77), Jamie Collins, Danny Rose, Martin John, Robbie Matthews (Darryl Knights 77), Craig Reid

Subs Not Used: Scott Rogers, Glyn Garner (GK), Kerry Morgan

Goal: Craig Reid (33, 0-1)

Yellow Cards: Spence,

Referee: Mr Mike Bull (Essex)

Attendance: 1351 (away 232)

Diamonds Man of the Match chosen by Jack and Ned Twelvetree: Jamie Day

York City 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Rushden & Diamonds went down by two goals to nil to York City at Bootham Crescent. Goals in the last 15 minutes from Peter Till and debutant Leon Constantine sealed a game that had been fairly even until the interval. The home side had the better of the second period, and the introduction of Leon Constantine gave them an increased threat up front.

Justin Edinburgh made one change from the team that defeated local rivals Kettering Town on Monday, with Lewwis Spence replacing the suspended Justin Miller, with Max Porter moving to right-back. With Richard Brodie having departed on Tuesday, Martin Foyle started with Michael Rankine and Michael Gash up front, with Peter Till and Djoumin Sangare coming into the side.

The first half was an even affair with both teams producing some decent build-up play without creating many clear-cut chances, The two best chances came shortly before the break. Rene Howe broke into the area, beating two men and recovering from a slip as he ran along the byline, but he took the ball too close to keeper Ingham who dived on the ball.

At the other end Michael Rankine beat the Diamonds offside trap, but his poor first touch allowed Curtis Osano to stretch and toe-end the ball away. Rankine had created earlier chances for Gash, Till and Smith that didn’t trouble Dale Roberts, and at the other end Lewwis Spence went close with a dipping shot.

Rene Howe was able to find his way past his marker twice in quick succession on the right-hand side of the box, but he and Ryan Charles couldn’t link up the move. Charles was also denied when he nutmegged defender Parslow near the right touch-line and appeared to be clear on goal, but referee Khatib pulled back play as Djoumin Sangare had gone down injured for the second time.

Half-Time: York City 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

After a fairly even first half, where the Diamonds passing game had produced several moves that linked defence to attack, the Diamonds midfield found they were being closed down more quickly in the second period, and could not work the ball forwards to their strikeforce or out wide to Green.

The hosts might have gone ahead seven minutes into the half, as a cross by Till from the right found Michael Rankine at the far post, but his half-volley bounced over the bar.

York had two further early chances, but both fell to the misfiring Gash, as Rankine and then Barrett worked the ball to him in the box.

On the hour mark York replaced striker Michael Gash with new arrival Leon Constantine (his signing was so late there had not been time to put his name and number on his shirt). The Minstermen immediately looked a more potent threat, as although Michael Rankine had impressed with his hold-up play, and had created chances for others, he hadn’t been able to trouble Roberts. Constantine had been a Diamonds triallist several seasons earlier, so may have been anxious to show what the club missed when they did not offer him a contract.

One of the Diamonds few threats to score in front of the travelling fans came on 66 minutes when Rene Howe broke past a challenge on the right, squared the ball for Ryan Charles who tried to set up Dominic Green, but the ball was cleared. That proved to be Green’s final involvement, as he was replaced by Jamie Day.

After 76 minutes the Minstermen took the lead. A long ball forwards from defence was flicked on by Constantine to an unmarked Peter Till, who had time and space in the area to pick his spot towards the left-hand side of the goal.

Any thoughts that the Diamonds might step up the pace and start creating chances for an equaliser were quickly quashed when the home side doubled their lead. Jamie Day and Kurt Robinson were both trying to take on the left-back role as Alex Lawless ran towards the right byline, with Robinson committing a foul as he broke past the pair of them. Lawless took the kick, which found Leon Constantine at the far post, and he headed past Roberts.

After this surge of goalscoring activity in a game that looked destined to finish goalless, the remainder of the game was largely uneventful, although the introduction of Aaron O’Connor for his seasonal debut was a small positive to end a disappointing afternoon on the road for the Diamonds.

Full-Time: York City 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Teams

York City: Michael Ingham (Capt), Daniel Parslow, David McGurk, Djoumin Sangare (Duane Courtney 32), James Meredith, Peter Till, Alex Lawless, Neil Barrett, Jonathan Smith, Michael Rankine, Michael Gash (Leon Constantine 64)

Subs Not Used: David McDermott, Greg Young, David Knight (GK)

Rushden & Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Kurt Robinson (Nathan Koranteng 83), Max Porter, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Lewwis Spence, Alan Power, Matt Johnson (Aaron O’Connor 79), Ryan Charles, Rene Howe, Dominic Green (Jamie Day 71)

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Joe Keehan.

Goals: Till (76, 1-0), Constantine (78, 2-0)

Yellow Cards: Smith, Spence

Referee: B Khatib (Tyne and Wear)

Attendance: 2306 (away 138)

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