Tamworth 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Rushden & Diamonds snatched a last gasp winner to defeat Tamworth 2-1 in Staffordshire on Saturday. The Diamonds took the lead after 10 minutes when a Matt Johnson corner from the right found Jamie Stuart, and although the Diamonds captain shot was blocked it fell to Rene Howe who blasted into the roof of the net. The Diamonds lead only lasted 75 seconds, as a Tamworth throw on the right was fed by Richard Tait to Seb Lake-Gastin, and his cross was headed home by an unmarked Kyle Perry at the far post. The Diamonds winner came when Michael Corcoran picked out a great run by Ryan Charles down the right in the second minute of added time. Charles ran 40 yards and then cut inside and laid the ball across the box to find Alan Power who fired home his debut Diamonds goal with a powerful shot into the far corner of the net.

The game saw plenty of goalmouth action at both ends, especially in the first half, and both sides looked to win the game for the entire 90 minutes.

Justin Edinburgh kept the same team that defeated Mansfield Town last weekend, with Dale Roberts returning to take a place on the bench.

Tamworth Caretaker Manager Des Lyttle resisted the temptation to name himself in the squad, and included Kyle Perry in his first starting XI.

The Diamonds quickly got their close passing game into gear, with Alan Power pushed further forwards than in recent games, and it was his excellent turn on the edge of the box that saw his find Aaron O’Connor with a precise pass. The Diamonds striker turned and shot from 10 yards out, but keeper Severn got his body behind the shot.

Jamie Day was showing both his vision and precision passing ability down the left as he firstly found O’Connor and then Howe on the edge of the box. Curtis Osano was revelling in the right back role, linking well with Howe, and Tim Sills was winning much of the ball in the air whenever the Diamonds chose to play the ball it there. This domination won the Diamonds several corners, and it was from one of these that the Diamonds took the lead after 10 minutes. Matt Johnson took the kick on the right, and rather mishit it, presenting Jamie Stuart with a shooting chance on the turn. His shot was well blocked, but Rene Howe showed a striker’s instinct to lash the rebound into the roof of the net.

The hosts had threatened little prior to this point, but within 75 second they were level. A Tamworth throw on the right was fed by Richard Tait to Seb Lake-Gastin, who waltzed into the right side of the area unchecked, and his cross was headed home by an unmarked Kyle Perry at the far post.

For a short while the balance of the match tilted towards the Lambs, with Daniel Bradley shooting narrowly wide, but the Diamonds quickly resumed their raids into the Tamworth box. Aaron O’Connor was getting similar joy with his runs into the box as Simeon Jackson had done in the 4-1 victory shortly after the Diamonds return to the Conference, and from one of these he reached the left by-line and hit a low cross that was cut out just in front of Tim Sills, who would otherwise have had a “tap-in”.

The Day / Howe / Power combination almost got the end result their play deserved when Day cut inside and found Howe inside the area with a precision pass, and the striker executed a neat backflick into the path of Power, but the alert Severn smothered his attempt on goal.

Rene Howe then bundled his way past Tait and Marshall but shot over as it looked a matter of time before the Diamonds restored their lead, and he then repeated this when proving too strong for Wylde, but again his effort missed the target.

Joe Day was a spectator for a long period, but he was alert to pull off a great save from a Smith shot that looked goal bound.

Jamie Day and Alan Power were continuing to provide their strikeforce with excellent service, with Tim Sills shooting wide shortly before the break.

Half-Time: Tamworth 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Although the second half started at a lower tempo than the first, there were still a number of incidents at either end, with Tamworth creating more than they had in the first. Rene Howe shot across goal after a powerful run before setting up Aaron O’Connor to break free into the left side of the area, but his effort was blocked.

Curtis Osano was getting even more freedom to push forward than he had in the first half, and each of his runs were producing an end product in the form of a cross or a corner.

Mid-way through the half the Diamonds had Max Porter to thank for keeping the scores level, when he headed off the line when Tait crossed to Perry, and the strikers headed looped over Joe Day. The best save of the game was to come at the other end, when a Diamonds free-kick by Joe Day was flicked on by Tim Sills into the path of Max Porter who in turn found Rene Howe, who took a touch before blasting the ball towards goal, only to see home keeper Severn tip the ball onto the angle of post and bar and away for a corner.

Joe Day made another good save diving low to his left to deny Daniel Bradley as both sides looked for a winner – even the Lambs centre-half Michael Wylde made a charging run forward that was only spoilt by a wayward shot, but Shane Huke and Jamie Stuart were both equal to the tasks that faced them.

Referee Jeremy Simpson had last officiated in a Diamonds game in the controversial 3-2 defeat at Mansfield last season, but he was always willing to let the game flow, and his performance complemented the action throughout.

The Diamonds had brought on Ryan Charles and Lewwis Spence who both had efforts on goal in the last quarter, but it was a surprise third substitution that proved vital. In order to protect Rene Howe against a fifth booking he was taken off with two minutes to go, with Michael Corcoran coming on to support the midfield. It was Corcoran who picked up the ball when a Lambs attack broke down as the game moved into added time. Corcoran picked up a run from Ryan Charles down the right touchline, and Charles quickly showed his pace with a surging burst to the edge of the area before getting his head up to spot the run of Alan Power, one of four Diamonds players who had made the lung-bursting run at least half the length of the pitch in the 92nd minute. Power struck the ball on the volley and it rifled into the far corner of the net for his debut goal for the club – and a memorable late winner for the Diamonds

Full-Time: Tamworth 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

The Diamonds focus for the next seven days will be on the FA Cup tie against their local rivals next weekend.

Teams:

Tamworth: James Severn, Richard Tait (Neil MacKenzie 77), Tom Marshall, Alex Rodman (Ben Wilkinson 37), Daniel Bradley, Michael Wylde, Jay Smith (Capt), Danny Thomas, Sebastian Lake-Gaskin, Scott Barrow, Kyle Perry.

Subs Not Used: Aaron Mitchell, Stefan Oakes, Louis Connor (GK)

Rushden & Diamonds:Joe Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Day, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Shane Huke, Max Porter, Matt Johnson (Lewwis Spence 71), Alan Power, Aaron O’Connor, Rene Howe (Michael Corcoran 89), Tim Sills (Ryan Charles 82).

Subs Not Used: Dale Roberts (GK),Kurt Robinson.

Goals: Howe (10mins, 0-1), Perry (11, 1-1), Power (90+2, 1-2)

Yellow Card: Shane Huke

Referee: Mr J Simpson (Lancs)

Attendance:1002 (Away 190)

Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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