Rushden & Diamonds 0 Yeovil Town 1

Rushden & Diamonds were controversially knocked out of the FA Cup by Yeovil Town at Nene Park in the FA Cup sponsored by eon. A late goal by Andy Williams was originally disallowed by the match officials, but referee Brown changed his mind after consulting a linesman who appeared to be flagging for offside. Joe Day had pulled off a great save from Dean Bowditch, but the ball broke to Williams who rolled the ball into the corner of the net whilst Bowditch was standing in front of Day, in an offside position, and who made a dummy play for the ball at it went past him, to allow what otherwise would have required a routine save from Day, to roll into the net. This decision denied the Diamonds what would have been a deserved replay.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the starting line-up that defeated Barrow last weekend, with the ineligible Tim Sills replaced by the returning Rene Howe, and Lewwis Spence returning in place of Matt Johnson.

Yeovil manager Terry Skiverton replaced the ineligible Gavin Williams with Andy Williams, and Andy Welsh also started in place of Luke Ayling.

Both side created good chances to open the scoring in the first half. It was the Diamonds who had the best early chance, after 9 minutes, when a free kick was half-cleared to Shane Huke, who got to the right by-line and crossed for Ryan Charles to hit a snapshot that brought off an excellent save by Glovers keeper John Sullivan. That proved to be Huke’s last contribution to the game, as he was forced off with injury to be replaced by Justin Miller after just 18 minutes. Michael Corcoran moved to Centre-back, with Miller slotting in at right back.

The visitors then saw two attempts hit the woodwork, with their first coming in controversial circumstances when Dean Bowditch broke clear despite looking several yards offside, and he set up a chance for Sam Williams that struck the post. Paul Huntington then saw an effort flick off post and bar and away to safety as he latched onto a cross from Bowditch following a free kick from Kalala. Bowditch could have done better when a mistake by Curtis Osano set him free on goal, but his shot was smothered by Joe Day.

It was the Diamonds who finished the half the stronger, with Lewwis Spence rapping the crossbar with a dipping shot after 38 minutes following a long throw from Justin Miller.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Yeovil Town 0

After an even first half, it was the visitors who started the second half brighter, with Welsh having a shot blocked by Jamie Day, but Justin Edinburgh was able to revert to a 4-4-2 formation after bringing on Kurt Robinson to assist Jamie Day on the left, with Aaron O’Connor dropping back into right midfield, leaving Howe and Farrell up front.

As in the first half, the Glovers best chances fell to Bowditch, and again he was wasteful, as twice he got into shooting positions but either shot wide or hit a shot that was fielded by Day. Sam William also went close, but saw his shot go into the side netting.

As the game moved into the last quarter the Diamonds went close when Craig Farrell was fouled just outside the box shortly after coming on, but Jamie Day’s powerful freekick was just wide.

After 72 minutes the Diamonds had two good chances in a minute, when first Alan Power was set up by Jamie Day, but saw his shot deflect wide, and then Craig Farrell found space in the area from the resultant corner, but his low shot was saved on the bounce.

The Diamonds changes looked to have stabilised things at the back, and the game looked destined for a replay at Huish Park when the whole complexion of the game changed after 83 minutes. Sam Williams picked out the run of Dean Bowditch, and the Glovers striker hit a low shot that was well saved by Joe Day with his feet. The ball rebounded out to Andy Williams, and he made space before poking the ball goalwards without a great deal of power. Joe Day would surely have saved this effort, but he was obstructed by Bowditch standing in an offside position in front of him. Bowditch dummied to divert the ball, but missed it, and the ball went past the impeded Day into the net.

 

Referee Brown at first appeared to have disallowed the goal, with the linesman flagging for offside, and with Bowditch clearly accepting he was involved as he raised his arms to try to convince the officials he wasn’t. The Yeovil players appeared to make a half-hearted appeal for him to consult the linesman, but the referee decided he would do so, and then reversed his decision and allowed the goal. Those who watch a lot of football can only be totally bemused by the decision, as the Glovers player was clearly involved in the action, and without him being there the shot would easily have been saved.

The closest the Diamonds came to getting the equaliser they deserved was when Michael Corcoran tried an overhead kick in the area, and was unlucky to see it fly straight into Sullivan’s arms.

To add further  to the Diamonds’ disappointment in his performance, referee Brown blew for full time some 20 seconds before the "minimum four minutes" he had signalled had elapsed – at a time when the Diamonds were preparing a Justin Miller long throw level with the front of the Yeovil penalty area

Final Score: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Yeovil Town 1

The Diamonds management decided to decline the opportunity to comment on the controversial decision that decided this game, but they will have to ensure all at the club are ready for the trip to Kidderminster on Tuesday evening.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Michael Corcoran, Jamie Day, Curtis Osano, Shane Huke (Justin Miller 18), Max Porter, Alan Power, Lewwis Spence (Kurt Robinson 70), Ryan Charles (Craig Farrell 58), Rene Howe, Aaron O’Connor (Capt).

Subs Not Used: Dale Roberts (GK), Joe Keehan, Matt Johnson, Dominic Green

Yeovil Town: John Sullivan, Nathan Jones, Paul Huntington (Capt), Adam Virgo, Andy Williams, Owain Tudur-Jones, Jean-Paul Kalala, Andy Welsh, Shaun MacDonald, Sam Williams, Dean Bowditch.

Subs Not Used: Ben Roberts (GK), Rhys Baggridge, Ed Upson, Billy Gibson, Luke Freeman, Craig Calver,

Goal: Andy Williams (83)

Yellow Card: Jamie Day

Referee: Mark Brown (Yorkshire)

Attendance: 1666 (Away 336)

Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by EACS: Alan Power

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