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


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