Rushden & Diamonds 1 Kettering Town 2

 

Rushden & Diamonds lost to Kettering Town in their first home game of 2011, The Diamonds were hoping to record a victory in their first game of the New Year at Nene Park, but two goals from Iyseden Christie gave the Poppies victory. Christie’s first goal after 6 minutes was a simple finish after Nick McKoy had won a header from a Kelly free kick. The Diamonds battled hard and scored an equaliser through Jamie Stuart just after the hour mark after a Jamie Day free kick wasn’t cleared, but Christie scored again after being set clear by Jean-Paul Marna with 10 minutes left.

Justin Edinburgh made several changes to the team that lost at Luton on New Years’ Day. Rene Howe had returned to Peterborough United after his loan period had ended. Shane Huke picked up an injury at Kenilworth Road, but Max Porter had recovered from his knock to return to the starting line-up. He was also able to welcome back Jamie Day after he finally completed his 3 game ban for his dismissal back in November. New loan signing Michael Gash made his home debut for the Diamonds.

Poppies manager Marcus Law brought back ex-Poppy keeper Nick Bussey as the loan deal for Kelvin Jack expired on New Years’ Day and also made several other changes to his line-up, including giving a debut to central defender Tom Flanaghan who had just signed on loan from MK Dons.

The changes meant that the Diamonds lined up with O’Connor, Gash and Charles up front, with Porter, Power and Corcoran in midfield in front of a back four with Justin Miller at Centre Back and Curtis Osano at right back.

There was a fitting tribute to Dale Roberts before the game, with both sets of fans joining in the minute’s applause, and both sets of fans chanting Dale’s name during that time.

The game kicked off with the visitors looking threatening, and Brett Solkon made a run down the right that forced an excellent clearance from Jamie Stuart. With 6 minutes on the clock the returning Jamie Day made an ill-timed lunge at Serge Makofo and picked up a yellow card. With Makofo still on the sidelines Marcus Kelly whipped a free-kick diagonally to the left hand side of the area, where Nick McKoy rose well above the Diamonds defence to head down to present Iyseden Christie with a simple chance which he duly slotted home.

The goal seemed to shake the Diamonds into action, and Max Porter fired over the bar after Ryan Charles broke down the left and into the area before squaring to Aaron O’Connor on the edge of the six yard box, but the Diamonds striker was forced into two touches and his effort was forced away to Porter.

Much of the rest of the first half was then a rather turgid affair, with yellow cards for Marna and Charles before McKoy forced Joe Day into an excellent diving save, and after the Diamonds won the first corner of the game after 38 minutes they saw a Michael Gash header tipped over by Bussey. Gash then headed wide from another Day corner.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Kettering Town 1

The Diamonds needed to step up the pace in the second period, and they did this right from the start of the half, with Ryan Charles switched to the right, and he immediately started to find more space.

After 53 minutes the Diamonds appeared to have an excellent claim for a penalty when Ian Roper bundled over Aaron O’Connor, but as the referee waved away the appeals the ball fell to Alan Power whose powerful shot hit the right hand post and narrowly missed falling to Ryan Charles. The Poppies fans had just seen a penalty appeal of their own turned down when Curtis Osano appeared to foul Marna, but the offence was clearly outside the area, and referee Merchant waved play on.

Justin Miller was also taking opportunities to get forwards, and his low cross from the right narrowly eluded Charles and Gash, and then another of his crosses was headed over by O’Connor.

Jamie Day had a shot blocked, an Alan Power effort hit Bussey and looped away for a corner and a Miller effort following a corner flew low across the area without a Diamonds striker able to get on the end of it.

Finally, after 66 minutes a Jamie Day freekick was flicked across the area where Aaron O’Connor nodded into the path of Jamie Stuart who fired home.

It then looked like the Diamonds might force a second goal, with two excellent chances falling to Aaron O’Connor, the first being a shooting opportunity which Bussey parried over the bar, and then from a corner where he headed over. Michael Gash saw an effort saved by Bussey after he worked a 1-2 with the impressive Alan Power.

Although the Poppies had appeared content to settle for a draw, they worked the ball forwards to Jean-Paul Marna about 25 yards about, and he juggled the ball with his feet to elude challenges from the Diamonds defenders before flicking it into the path of Iyseden Christie, and the ex-Diamonds triallist fired home his second goal of the game.

There were further chances for Gash and O’Connor to get an equaliser, but Kettering had another penalty claim turned down, and Joe Day had to be alert to reach the ball first after Marna ran clear, with the two players colliding in the 50-50 collision, before the referee signalled the Poppies had beaten their local rivals for only the second time.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Kettering Town 2

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Curtis Osano, Max Porter, Alan Power, Michael Corcoran, Ryan Charles (Craig Farrell 57), Michael Gash, Aaron O’Connor.

Subs Not Used: Lance Key (GK), Lewwis Spence, Aaron King, Matt Johnson.

Kettering Town: Nick Bussey, Ian Roper, Jean-Paul Marna (Charlie Collins 84), Marcus Kelly, Nick Green, Serge Makofo (Liam McDonald 78), Brett Solkhon, Iyseden Christie (James Dance 90+2), Tom Flanaghan, Nick McKoy , Patrick Noubissie (Capt)

Subs Not Used: Jamie Towers, Luke Graham.

Goals: Christie (7 mins, 0-1), Stuart (66, 1-1), Christie (79, 1-2)

Yellow Cards: Jamie Day, Jean-Paul Marna, Ryan Charles, Brett Solkhon.

Referee: Mr Rob Merchant (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 2216 (Away 658)

Diamonds Man of The Match Sponsored by Moore Stephens: Alan Power

Note that the 50/50 draw prize was not claimed on Monday – the winning ticket number is 11498, sold in the Kimblerley Suite, and the £260 must be claimed before kick off in the Altrincham game on Saturday 8th January 2011.

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