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

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