Rushden & Diamonds 2 Eastbourne Borough 0

 

Rushden & Diamonds gained a 2-0 victory over Eastbourne Borough at Nene Park on Tuesday evening. Debutant Paris Cowan-Hall scored on his debut with a neat chip midway through the first-half, and after some nervous moments Eddie Oshodi made the game safe when he scrambled the ball home just before the final whistle.

Justin Edinburgh made three changes to the side that lost to Gateshead in the previous game. With Luke Prosser having been recalled by Southend United, Shane Huke returned to the Centre Back role after his injury, and he partnered Eddie Oshodi who replaced Michael Corcoran. New loan signing Paris Cowan-Hall took a place in the starting line-up at the expense of Craig Farrell.

The game started slowly, with the visitors lining up 4-5-1 with Richard Pacquette up front, and he had perhaps the best chance of the first quarter as he followed up a Ben Austin header that had forced a save from Joe Day.

The Diamonds best effort early on came when Aaron O’Connor was fouled about 20 yards from goal, and an Alan Power free kick had to be tipped over by keeper Forecast.

The Diamonds took the lead midway through the half, and although it was very much a "route one" approach, the finish was much higher quality than the build-up. Joe Day punted the ball forwards, and as it bounced over the head of Eddie Hutchinson the run of Paris Cowan-Hall saw him control the ball with his first touch and then lob the ball left-footed over the advancing keeper.

As well as his goal-threat, Cowan-Hall also showed his ability to hit dangerous crosses from the right, with a low ball arcing just over Gash and O’Connor as they reached the 6-yard line, just before the interval.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Eastbourne Borough 0

After the rather flat end to the first half, the Diamonds showed far greater urgency in the second period, with Jamie Day and Curtis Osano starting to get forward more, and Max Porter also providing more of an attacking threat.

Curtis Osano still has to score a Diamonds goal at Nene Park, but he came really close when his partnership with Cowan-Hall started paying dividends as a dummy run by the Diamonds new striker allowed Osano to cut inside and hit a powerful low shot that ricocheted off two defenders before flying narrowly wide for a corner. Cowan-Hall then had the ball in the net for a second time, but the referee had spotted a hand-ball.

Referee Ross did not seem to provide Diamonds players any leeway with their challenges, and the picked up three bookings for tackles that would often have just resulted in an initial warning if the player had not been repeatedly committing such fouls.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes the Diamonds started to create the chances that should have made the game safe. An excellent run by Aaron O’Connor down the left following an incisive pass from Jamie Day saw him reach the six yard box and unselfishly roll the ball into the path of Craig Farrell who appeared to have a simple task to score, but he slipped at the vital moment and the ball flew over the goal.

O’Connor then had a chance in front of an open goal himself, after Farrell and Cowan-Hall combined on the right, and Cowan-Hall beat his man before passing low across the area, but just ahead of the run of his captain.

These two misses raised concerns that the Diamonds might concede late equaliser, but the Diamonds forced a corner on the left, which was taken by Gary Mills. The well-hit corner seemed to bounce back to Craig Farrell, whose attempt on goal was blocked, and in a scramble it was Eddie Oshodi who claimed the final touch as the ball was bundled into the net, celebrating his first professional goal in front of the Peter De Banke Terrace.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Eastbourne Borough 0

The Diamonds now have a few days to prepare for their trip to Histon at the weekend. Paris-Cowan Hall was awarded the Man Of The Match award after a fine display in his first full league game. His willingness to run at defenders, his well taken goal, and ability to pick a pass or get in a telling cross are all good signs despite his lack of first team football in recent seasons.

Teams

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Day, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi, Max Porter, Alan Power (Matt Johnson 68), Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash (Craig Farrell 81), Paris Cowan-Hall

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), , Michael Corcoran, Justin Miller

Eastbourne Borough: Tommy Forecast, Darren Baker, Neil Jenkins, Ben Austin, Ethan Strevett, Matt Smart, Eddie Hutchinson, Simon Johnson (Matt Crabb 73), Steve Brinkhurst (Jamie Taylor 34), George Purcell, Richard Pacquette

Subs Not Used: Rikki Banks, Gary Elphick, Mick Demetriou.

Goals: Paris Cowan-Hall (22, 1-0). Eddie Oshodi (89, 2-0)

Yellow Cards: Cowan-Hall, Porter, Osano

Referee: Mr S J Ross (Lincs)

Attendance: 905 (away 23)

Diamonds Man of The Match chosen by Northampton University: Paris Cowan-Hall

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Rushden & Diamonds 0 Gateshead 2

 

Rushden & Diamonds slipped to another home defeat as they lost 2-0 to Gateshead on Saturday. An own goal from Luke Prosser had given the visitors a half-time lead, and with the Diamonds chasing the game, Jon Shaw scored the goal that made the game safe after 87 minutes.

Justin Edinburgh celebrated two years at the helm at Nene Park during the week, and he made a single change to the side that started the second leg of the double header against Cambridge United, with Craig Farrell replacing the injured Sam Smith. Nabil Shariff took a place on the Diamonds bench, along with youth team goalkeeper James Broadbent who stood in for Simon Evans who was absent due to illness.

Gateshead manager Ian Bogie kept faith with the team that reached the quarter finals of the FA Trophy last weekend, with ex-Diamond Gary Mulligan unavailable due to injury. His sole change was to bring Carl Jones onto the bench.

With the game switched to Nene Park, credit must go to the Diamonds groundstaff for preparing a pitch that suited teams willing to play a passing game. Gateshead captain Ben Clark chose to switch ends so that the Diamonds were playing into the sun during the first half. Aaron O’Connor took up an unfamiliar position on the right in the absence of Charles and Smith, with Farrell and Gash focussing on the left-side channel.

The Diamonds started well, with Jamie Day forcing a smart save from Deasy from a curling free kick, and Alan Power having a couple of early chances from 20 yards that he fired over. However, the Tynesiders could have taken the lead when a Brittain corner from the left found the head of Jon Shaw who was in a lot of space in the area, but his header flashed across goal.

The visitors were able to get their passing game going, and were starting to find space on the flanks with Michael Liddle getting forwards to support Craig Nelthorpe on the left. Liddle was allowed too much space as a move broke down, and he quickly set Nelthorpe free on the left. The left-midfielder hit a teasing cross to the far post, and Luke Prosser found the ball coming at him too quickly to be able to divert it other than back towards the goal, where it eluded Joe Day for an own goal.

There was a similar scare for the visitors as half-time approached, but James Curtis was able to head just over the bar when it looked like he might repeat the feat of his fellow number 5.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Gateshead 1

As expected, the Diamonds looked like they had come out for the second half with the determination to change the game, and Max Porter went close with a 25 yard shot, before a 1-2 between Mills and O’Connor required an alert Deasy to smother the danger.

The Diamonds first change was to bring on Ryan Charles for Craig Farrell, and he took over down the right, linking up with Curtis Osano to get in a dangerous cross that allowed Aaron O’Connor to nip between a defender and the keeper to head onto the bar.

After weathering that storm the visitors again looked threatening on the break, with Joe Day saving well from Nathan Fisher.

After 69 minutes came perhaps the most decisive point of the half, with Ryan Charles picking up an ankle knock which forced him to be replaced by Nabil Shariff, who was making his league debut for the Diamonds. Shariff had a chance to score with his first touch at this level of football as a hooked cross from Curtis Osano caused a scramble in the Tynesiders goalmouth. Gary Mills was almost able to follow up with a header on goal, but Deasy was able to deal with the danger.

Jamie Day was unable to made a good contact when set up by Gary Mills, but the ball was quickly worked upfield with Martin Brittain breaking down the right and into the area, hitting the bar with an effort on goal – but the rebound was not dealt with by the Diamonds defence and Jon Shaw rifled home into the right-hand side of the net to seal the points for the visitors.

There was still time for two further excellent chances for Gateshead, with Kris Gate allowed a free header on the end of a Brittain cross, and then Brittain hit the bar for a second time with Josh Gillies narrowly failing to convert the rebound.

The game ended with the Gateshead fans adding a new twist to a familiar football chant – "we’re supposed to be at home" – as well as paying their tribute to Dale Roberts.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Gateshead 2

Manager Justin Edinburgh expressed his frustration that the battling performances seen in recent games were not replicated in this fixture. He also advised that Ryan Charles has twisted his ankle, and this will be assessed when the squad report for an extra training session on Sunday.

The focus will turn to the Diamonds youth team when they play Hereford United on Monday evening in the Midland Youth Cup Semi Final (KO 7pm).

Teams

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Day, Luke Prosser, Michael Corcoran, Max Porter (Matt Johnson 77), Alan Power, Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash, Craig Farrell ((Ryan Charles 55), Nabil Shariff 69)

Subs Not Used: James Broadbent (GK), Eddie Oshodi.

Gateshead: Tim Deasy, James Tavernier, Michael Liddle, Kris Gate, James Curtis, Ben Clark (Capt), Martin Brittain, Phil Turnbull, Jon Shaw (Brian Wake 88), Nathan Fisher (Carl Jones 66), Craig Nelthorpe (Josh Gillies 82)

Subs Not Used: Paul Farman (GK), Craig Baxter

Goals: Prosser (OG, 29, 0-1), Shaw (89, 0-2)

Yellow Cards: Mills, O’Connor, Prosser, Liddle, Clark, Power

Referee: Mr Matthew Bristow (Manchester)

Attendance: 874 (away 16)

Cambridge United 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

 

Rushden & Diamonds beat Cambridge United for the second time in four days at the Abbey Stadium. Two first half goals gave the Diamonds a clear lead at the interval, as they played into a strong wind, and they held this until the end of the game. Aaron O’Connor took advantage of a long ball being held up in the wind to break clear and score after 14 minutes. Jamie Day scored his debut goal for the Diamonds mid-way through the half, after he took a short corner, received the ball back and rifled the ball home. Although the U’s threatened more in the second half, especially from corners, the Diamonds held out to extend their unbeaten run.

Justin Edinburgh brought back Luke Prosser following his injury, with Eddie Oshodi dropping to the bench at the expense of Justin Miller. For the U’s Jez George brought in the experience of Daryl Clare, Dave Partridge and Brian Saah.

The two teams changed ends before kick off, meaning the Diamonds would be playing with a fading sun in their eyes in the first half, as well as facing the strong wind that was blowing straight down the field. In the early stages the game almost resembled a game of Rugby Union as the ball was constantly finding touch, and the flow of the game was not helped by the fact that referee Bratt wasn’t prepared to make any extra allowance for the conditions.

Ex-Diamond Daryl Clare had little joy against the solid Diamonds defence all afternoon, but when Michael Corcoran misjudged the wind as he tried to scoop the ball clear about 12 yards from goal he appeared to have presented Clare with an excellent chance, but the striker failed to connect properly.

The Diamonds were otherwise coping better with the windy conditions, and they took advantage of them after 14 minutes to create the opening goal, The ball was cleared towards the half-way line, and Michael Gash pumped the ball forwards into space. Although Sam Smith was returning from an offside position, he was a long way from the action as a clearly onside Aaron O’Connor ran onto the ball which held up short of the U’s area. There was some indecision in the defence, and O’Connor was able to close in to within 10 yards of goal before checking across the despairing challenge from a U’s defender and firing home the opening goal.

The Diamonds pressure had resulted in a number of corners, and both Alan Power and Jamie Day were coping well with the conditions to create danger from these dead ball situations, but it was a short corner that produced the Diamonds second goal. Jamie Day took a corner on the right, and seeing only Paul Carden trying to close down the short corner he interchanged a short pass with Gary Mills before firing a powerful left footed shot from a narrow angle that tore into the net.

Although recent games had seen Jamie Day and Alan Power take most of the free kicks, when the Diamonds won one following a challenge by Rory McAuley on Aaron O’Connor about 30 yards out they handed responsibility to Sam Smith. Smith almost increased the Diamonds lead as he showed his shooting power to fire a kick through the U’s wall, and saw it bounce off keeper Brown, but the U’s defence managed to clear the loose ball.

Further danger from a Diamonds corner saw Sam Smith penalised for what looked an innocuous challenge on keeper Brown.

Luke Prosser was showing no after-effects of the knock that kept him out of game between the two teams in midweek, and he was commanding the Diamonds defence, breaking down U’s moves and linking well with Gary Mills to start any Diamonds counter attack.

Late in the half the U’s had perhaps only their second chance of the half after Michael Corcoran conceded a free kick for a foul on Daryl Clare. The Paul Carden kick found the head of Danny Wright, but he headed over the bar to allow the Diamonds to keep their two goal lead at the interval. Corcoran had been booked for the foul, and those that knew referee Bratt was officiating when the Diamonds faced York at Nene Park earlier in the season, dismissing Jamie Day, would have been concerned whilst the referee decided which card to award.

Half-Time: Cambridge United 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

The Diamonds had taken advantage of playing into the wind as it held the ball up for the forwards to run onto, so it was expected the U’s might repeat this tactic in the second half. Although they were playing 4-4-2 rather than the 4-5-1 formation they used on Tuesday, their only danger up front was coming from Danny Wright, who did turn past his marker on a couple of occasions, but the Diamonds defence, along with Gary Mills were always on hand to clear the danger.

The U’s did manage to force several corners, and from one of these Paul Carden bent the ball against the wind and into the net, but Daryl Clare was penalised for a foul on Joe Day.

At the other end, midway through the half, Aaron O’Connor was unfortunate to see a goal-bound shot hit Coulson and bounce away from danger. Gary Mills also tried an audacious shot from 40 yards out from a quickly taken free kick, but his wind-assisted shot didn’t trouble Brown.

The Diamonds brought on Ryan Charles, Craig Farrell and Matt Johnson during the half, but each of them quickly got used to the conditions, and the Diamonds held on for only their second league victory in seven attempts at the Abbey Stadium.

Full-Time: Cambridge United 0 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Their have been a number of games this season that have been compared to the equivalent game in the last campaign, and those that remember the Diamonds side conceding a two-goal lead at the Abbey last season, will have been pleased to see how the team coped with the pressure (and the elements) to preserve the lead, their clean sheet, and to continue their unbeaten run.

Teams:

Cambridge United: Simon Brown, Rory McAuley, Brian Saah, Josh Coulson, Dave Partridge, Luke Berry, Paul Carden (Capt), Conal Platt (Sam Ives HT), Danny Wright, Jordan Patrick, Daryl Clare (Adam Marriott 71).

Subs Not Used Kevin Roberts, Liam Hughes, James Brighton

Rushden & Diamonds:Joe Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Day, Luke Prosser, Michael Corcoran, Max Porter, Alan Power (Matt Johnson 84), Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash (Craig Farrell 80), Sam Smith (Ryan Charles 61)

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Eddie Oshodi

Goals: Aaron O’Connor (14mins, 0-1), Jamie Day (21, 0-2)

Yellow Cards: Power, Corcoran, Partridge

Referee: Mr S Bratt (West Midlands)

Attendance: 2366 (Away 243)

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Cambridge United 1

Rushden & Diamonds sealed a win over Cambridge United with an 89th minute goal on Tuesday evening at Nene Park. The late header from Craig Farrell sealed the victory, after Sam Smith had got the Diamonds back on terms midway through the second half. Cambridge had taken the lead after just three minutes when Danny Wright ran onto a long ball and slotted past Joe Day..

With Martin Ling having left their club during the day, the U’s were led by Jez George with the assistance of Paul Carden.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes tothe side that drew with Tamworth at the weekend, with new signing Eddie Oshodi replacing the injured Luke Prosser, and Sam Smith starting in place of Ryan Charles. Justin Miller returned to the bench. Oshodi would be making his first start in a professional league game.

With just three minutes on the clock the U’s took the lead. Keeper Brown initially had a problem getting the ball clear, but it fell to Josh Coulson who hit a long ball upfield. Danny Wright ran between Corcoran and Oshodi and slotted the ball low into the right hand side of the goal.

Although the Diamonds had plenty of possession in the remainder of the half, they struggled against the U’s 4-5-1 formation that at times saw nine outfielders in the Cambridge defensive zone. The Diamonds had kept the same 4-3-3 formation as on Saturday, and once again Gary Mills was influential in his holding role in midfield.

The two best chance in the 40 minutes after the opening goal fell to the U’s, firstly when a curling shot from Simon Russell just before the half-hour mark forced Joe Day into a save, and then a break down the right after 43 minutes saw Patrick and Wright interchange passes and a dangerous cross almost elude the Diamonds defence.

As half-time approached it looked like the Diamonds had finally unlocked the Cambridge defensive barriers as a ball over the top set Michael Gash free on goal. As he broke into the area he chose to square the ball to Sam Smith rather than shooting, and the ball was hit too hard for Smith to make contact – and there was also a suggestion Smith would have been offside had he netted.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Cambridge United 1

After seeing a much improved performance in the second half of several recent games, the Diamonds fanbase were hoping for a repeat, and so it proved, as the Diamonds took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second period.

At first it looked like it might be another tale of bad luck, good goalkeeping and less than clinical finishing as the U’s goal seemed to lead a charmed life in the third quarter of the game. Sam Smith saw a cross slide off the crossbar before a long ball from Eddie Oshodi was flicked on by Gash to Aaron O’Connor whose shot was blocked before Max Porter saw his follow-up effort cleared off the line by Josh Coulson, with a suggestion it might have hit his arm. Another Porter effort hit the leg of Coulson as it began to look like the Diamonds luck had run out.

Ryan Charles replaced Michael Gash, and he started to cause problems on the left, with one quick break down the left and into the area forcing a save from Brown, with the loose ball going just behind Aaron O’Connor who would have had a tap-in.

Sam Smith was giving Darryl Coakley a difficult time, and he forced a great save from Simon Brown after receiving a pinpoint pass from Aaron O’Connor and striking a shot from a narrow angle that looked destined for the top corner at the near post.

Finally the Diamonds got the equaliser, when Jamie Day controlled the ball well just outside the left side of the area, checking back and crossing with his right foot to Sam Smith. Smith controlled the ball on his thigh before turning and hitting a goal bound shot that took a slight deflection before it went past keeper Brown.

The goal came after 74 minutes, meaning there were 15 minutes or so for the Diamonds to push for a winner, but initially it was the visitors who looked the most likely to get a winner as they created their best chances of the half, with Luke Berry seeing a shot saved and then a Conal Platt free-kick from the left narrowly eluding Liam Hughes.

Craig Farrell replaced Sam Smith with seven minutes left, and this allowed Ryan Charles to switch to the right. With 89 minutes on the clock, Charles took on Coakley towards the corner flag, and with a neat move, similar to the one he used to create the first goal at Newport, he made space for an accurate cross that allowed Craig Farrell to jump and head home his first league goal of the season.

The Diamonds held on through the five minutes of added time to claim a valuable home victory.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Cambridge United 1

The two teams will meet again on Saturday, when the U’s will have a couple of players back from suspension to face the Diamonds at the Abbey Stadium.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Curtis Osano, Jamie Day, Eddie Oshodi (Justin Miller 81), Michael Corcoran, Max Porter, Alan Power, Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash (Ryan Charles 63), Sam Smith (Craig Farrell 83)

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Matt Johnson

Cambridge United: Simon Brown, Rory McAuley, Kevin Roberts, Josh Coulson, James Jennings (Darryl Coakley 51), Simon Russell (Luke Berry 69), Sam Ives, Paul Carden (Capt), Conal Platt, Danny Wright (Liam Hughes 79), Jordan Patrick

Subs Not Used: Daryl Clare, Adam Marriott

Goals: Wright (3mins, 0-1), Smith (74, 1-1), Farrell (89, 2-1)

Yellow Cards: Power, Berry, Charles

Referee: Mr Stephen Martin (Staffs)

Attendance: 1279

Diamonds Man of The Match Sponsored by Moore Stephens: Curtis Osano

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