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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