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)

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