AFC Wimbledon 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

Rushden & Diamonds produced a spirited second-half performance, but were unable to get back on terms after Wimbledon had taken the lead with a first-half penalty from Danny Kedwell. The Diamonds hit the post, had a goal controversially disallowed for offside, and several penalty appeals turned down, and saw home keeper Seb Brown make several good saves as they put in a much improved display in the second period.

Justin Edinburgh was able to name an unchanged side, with Justin Miller taking a place on the bench on his return from injury.

Dons manager Terry Brown included recent signing Kaid Mohamed and returning loanee in his starting line-up, as well as Danny Kedwell on his return from injury.

The first half was dominated by the home side, and there were a couple of early scares when Joe Day struggled to adjust to how the swirling wind affected crosses and corners from the Dons left as his punches failed to clear the danger area.

The Diamonds’ fans were incensed when referee Atkin appeared to decide to show a yellow card to Matt Johnson after pleas from the home side – shortly after what looked a far worse challenge from Steven Gregory on Jamie Day had gone unpunished. Michael Corcoran also picked up a yellow, and a few minutes later he was penalised for his challenge on Kaid Mohamed after a cross from the right had eluded Huke and Oshodi. Danny Kedwell fired home the penalty.

Kedwell might have increased the Dons lead a few minutes later when he was allowed space in the area, but dragged his shot wide.

Ryan Jackson forced an excellent save from Joe Day as he was allowed space on the Dons right, and Kedwell saw a chip go over the bar after he outmuscled Eddie Oshodi.

Joe Day had recovered his composure after his early problems, and he did well to rush out of his area and clear after Michael Corcoran lost the ball to Rashid Yussuf

Half-Time: AFC Wimbledon 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Whilst the Diamonds might have felt they were fortunate to only be a goal behind at the break, such was the hosts domination of the first half, they more than made up for this in the second period.

The Diamonds management made the tactical decision to replace Eddie Oshodi with Justin Miller at the break, which allowed Michael Corcoran to move to centre back and take on the challenge presented by Danny Kedwell.

 

Alan Power forced a good save from Brown as his free kick found the gap in the Dons wall vacated by Max Porter. Ryan Charles was getting into the game much more, as the service to him improved, and he started running at the Dons defenders who appeared to struggle such runs in a similar way to how they had been tormented by Lee Tomlin in the equivalent game last season. A Charles cross produced claims for hand-ball in the area, but referee Atkin had appeared unsighted.

One of the few efforts on goal from the home side in the second period saw Joe Day save a Kedwell shot after Luke Moore had made a break down the left.

Justin Miller was getting forwards on the right, and a cross was only worked out to Jamie Day who had space towards the left-hand side of the area, but he could only fire over the bar.

As the game entered added time another excellent run by Miller saw his cross headed onto the post by Shane Huke.

An effort from Ryan Charles after he broke into the left side of the area was then tipped around for a corner by Brown after the final Diamonds change saw Joe Keehan replace Alan Power for only his second appearance in a league game for the Diamonds, and he also took over the responsibility for dead ball kicks on the left. As the game entered the third minute of added time the Diamonds came close once more as a Keehan corner almost reached Michael Gash. A Justin Miller throw then produced another Diamonds claim for handball in the area, but again referee Atkin denied these claims shortly before blowing the final whistle.

 

Full-Time: AFC Wimbledon 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds now have a free week before travelling to Mansfield next weekend.

 

Teams:

AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Ryan Jackson (Luke Moore 66), Steven Gregory, Brett Johnson, Ricky Wellard, Sam Hatton, Ismail Yakubu, Danny Kedwell (Capt)(Drewe Broughton 83), Kaid Mohamed, Gareth Gwillim, Rashid Yussuff (Lee Minshull 87)

Subs Not Used: Kirk Hudson, Jack Turner

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Michael Corcoran, Jamie Day, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi (Justin Miller 45), Max Porter (Capt), Alan Power (Joe Keehan 82), Gary Mills, Matt Johnson (Craig Farrell 79), Michael Gash, Ryan Charles

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Nabil Shariff

Goal: Kedwell (pen) 29

Yellow Cards: Johnson, Corcoran, Moore

Referee: Mr Warren Atkin (Sussex)

Attendance:3069 (away 120)

Rushden & Diamonds 0 Luton Town 1

A defensive error cost Diamonds dearly as they lost by a single goal against Luton Town. A weak back pass from Shane Huke on 11 minutes allowed Robbie Willmott to steal in and fire past Joe Day. Despite having better possession and outnumbering the Hatters for shots and corners, Diamonds were unable to get back on level terms.

 

Justin Edinburgh made two changes from the side which drew against Southport on Saturday. The injured Justin Miller was to be replaced by Curtis Osano, but he failed a fitness test just before the game, and Michael Corcoran came in at right back. Ryan Charles replaced Craig Farrell in attack.

 

Luton manager Richard Money was forced into several changes following the suspensions of Alex Lawless and Claude Gnapka after both saw red in their FA Trophy semi-final defeat at Mansfield. Lloyd Owusu failed to recover from injury, while Luke Graham dropped to the bench. In came Paul Carden, Amari Morgan-Smith, Robbie Willmott and Danny Crow, while Mark Tyler replaced Kevin Pilkington in goal.

 

Diamonds kicked off towards the visiting Luton fans in the Airwair, and created the first chance on 3 minutes as Max Porter tested Hatters keeper Mark Tyler. They certainly matched the visitors in the opening period before disaster struck after just 11 minutes. A long ball forward from George Pilkington looked to be causing little trouble, until the normally reliable Shane Huke failed to get a firm touch on his backpass to Joe Day. In nipped Robbie Willmott to fire the ball towards goal, and although Day got a hand to the ball, he couldn’t prevent it crossing the line.

 

Despite the setback, Diamonds had good possession, but they lacked that finishing touch. On 18 minutes, Power sent a free kick too close to the keeper, before a Michael Gash header lacked any force to cause problems. Matt Johnson also went wide from Huke’s long ball forward.

 

The half hour mark came and went as Diamonds tried to get a reply. On 32 minutes, a foul by Zdenek Kroca just outside the area provided another set piece just outside the area. This time, Corcoran’s shot was blocked by the wall, rebounding for a corner. Jamie Day’s inswinger caused further problems, but the referee penalised Corcoran for a foul on the keeper. Another corner within a couple of minutes, and this time ot was Shane Huke who came agonisingly close to making amends for his earlier mistake.

 

Then in added time, Ryan Charles out-ran Adam Newton down left flank and crossed from the by line. Although Pilkington cleared, the ball struck Michael Gash and rebounded just wide of the post.

 

Half-time: Diamonds 0 – 1 Luton Town

 

Diamonds continued to have the better chances at the start of the second half. Power’s free-kick after a foul on Charles saw the ball break to Corcoran, but his effort from 15 yards was saved low down by Tyler. Jamie Day and Shane Huke both went into the referee’s notebook for fouls on Keith Keane and Robbie Willmott respectively as a bit of frustration crept in.

 

Power had a shot blocked, while a quickly taken free kick from Gary Mills found Gash in space, but the striker headed over as Diamonds continue to miss the target. Mills was another recipient of a yellow card, when his mistimed challenge on Danny Crow saw the Hatters midfielder require the services of former Diamonds’ physio  Simon Parsell.

 

On 62 minutes, Gash almost produced something out of nothing when his first touch from Jamie Day’s ball provided some space, but he was quickly closed down, and the ball cleared for a corner. Mills also powered a shot wide, but it was Luton who had a great chance to extend the lead on 70 minutes. A high bouncing ball forward deceived Huke and provided a great chance for Jason Walker to race towards goal. Luckily for Diamonds, Eddie Oshodi made an excellent tackle. Joe Day then blocked Danny Crow’s shot before Jamie Day hooked the ball off the line as Robbie Willmott followed up the loose ball.

 

Luton had their best spell of the game, and Walker and Jake Howells combined well before spurning another good chance, but with 15 minutes remaining Diamonds, came close again when Power’s corner was laid back to Mills. Although his shot was off target, it was intercepted by Gash – the striker turning and forcing a superb stop from Tyler. The veteran keeper also produced another good save to deny Michael Corcoran from Jamie Day’s corner kick.

 

Both sides had rather weak penalty appeals turned down by the referee as the game entered the final few minutes. Nabil Shariff came on for Johnson, but Luton saw out the remainder of the game to take the three points.

 

Full-time: Diamonds 0 – 1 Luton Town

 

So despite the endeavour and hard work shown by Diamonds for the entire ninety minutes, a momentary lapse of concentration saw then slip to only their second defeat in thirteen games. They deserved at least a draw but once again, it was that finishing touch that was missing. Diamonds are on the road again next Saturday (26 March), when they travel to Kingsmeadow to play another team in the play-off positions – AFC Wimbledon – 3pm kick-off.

 

Rushden & Diamonds – Joe Day, Eddie Oshodi, Max Porter (c), Gary Mills, Jamie Day, Alan Power, Michael Corcoran, Matt Johnson (Nabil Shariff 88), Ryan Charles, Shane Huke, Michael Gash.

Subs not used: Simon Evans (GK), Craig Farrell, Joe Keehan, Morgan Phillips.

 

Luton Town: Mark Tyler, Keith Keane, George Pilkington (c), Adam Newton, Amari Morgan-Smith (Jason Walker 63), Matthew Barnes-Homer, Robbie Willmott, Zdenek Kroca, Jake Howells, Parl Carden, Danny Crow (Godfrey Poku 75).

Subs not used: Kevin Pilkington (GK), Luke Graham, Dan Walker.

 

Goals: Robbie Willmott 11 (0-1).

 

Booked: Jamie Day 49 (foul), Shane Huke 51 (foul). Gary Mills 59 (foul), Godfrey Poku 77 (foul).

 

Referee: Mr Michael Bull (Essex)

 

Attendance: 2459 (1227 away).

 

Man of the Match sponsored by Stable Hire Ltd – Alan Power.

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Southport 2

 

Rushden & Diamonds fought back to draw 2-2 with Southport at Nene Park on Saturday afternoon. The Diamonds opened the scoring after 28 minutes when a Gary Mills shot was saved but Matt Johnson was on hand to fire home the loose ball. The Sandgrounders equalised nine minutes later when Gary Mills was adjudged to have pushed Shaun Whalley in the penalty area and Matty McGinn fired home the spot-kick.

The Sandgrounders took the lead after 55 minutes when Shaun Whalley beat Joe Day after being put clear by a Tony Gray header. The Diamonds then dominated the remainder of the game, and scored the equaliser when good work by Michael Gash led to a Max Porter shooting from 25 yards, with the shot taking a big deflection on its way into goal.

The Diamonds then hit the bar and saw another effort cleared off the line, but were unable to get the winner, meaning the Diamonds fans had seen their third score draw in a row at Nene Park.

Diamonds’ Manager Justin Edinburgh had to replace Paris Cowan-Hall who had taken a knock in midweek, and with Aaron O’Connor, Ryan Charles and Sam Smith still unavailable he played Matt Johnson in a striking role, with Youth Team player Jake Woolley taking a place on the bench.

Southport manager Liam Watson had almost a full squad to pick from, although right-back Kevin Lee was serving the second game of his suspension, and he restored Robbie Williams to his starting line-up.

The Diamonds had an early chance when a Farrell flick put Michael Gash clear, but his effort was smothered by keeper McMillan. The visitors then had their best spell of the game, with several breaks down the left that beat the Diamonds offside trap, and Steve Daly having a claim for a penalty when he broke clear and knocked the ball past Joe Day before falling to the ground. Day also made an excellent save from Shaun Whalley after he had broken away from the attentions of Jamie Day.

The Diamonds did start to get back into the game as the half-hour approached, and after 28 minutes they took the lead. A long ball forwards from Shane Huke was headed back across the area by Michael Gash, and Gary Mills swivelled and fired a shot on goal which McMillan could only parry and Matt Johnson was on the spot to fire home the loose ball.

Any thought that the opening goal might deflate a visiting team that had been struggling on the road all season were quickly dispelled when Shaun Whalley got in a dangerous cross that Justin Miller did well to force clear. However, after 37 minutes the visitors were level. A simple ball forwards from midfield saw Shaun Whalley break clear on the right, and as Gary Mills tried to force him wide in the area his push was spotted by the linesman who confirmed a penalty should be awarded. As in the game at Haig Avenue, Matty McGinn fired the spotkick past Joe Day.

The Diamonds did have one other good move before half-time, with Mills and Day linking on the left to create a chance for Michael Gash that was cleared away for a corner.

A controversial moment just before the break saw referee Martin signal that Matt Johnson was offside as he was about to fire on goal, with the linesman not seeing any infringement.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Southport 1

An early scare for the Diamonds in the second half came when Joe Day’s punch to a free kick landed back into the danger area, and Alan Moogan might have done better with his effort on goal.

After 55 minutes the visitors went ahead, and it was a remarkably simple goal. A long ball forwards from McMillan was flicked into the path of Shaun Whalley by Tony Gray, and the impressive winger made no mistake to lift the ball past Joe Day.

After a lethargic start to the second period, the goal did produce the expected response from the Diamonds, as they started to create chances, the first of which saw an excellent header from Farrell following a Day free kick saved by McMillan, and the keeper then bundled the ball for a corner ahead of an attempt by Justin Miller. Farrell and Gash then had attempts blocked before Matt Johnson found the ball at his feet from a Gash cross from the left, but he was unable to turn and shoot before the massed defence got in a challenge.

The Diamonds then switched to 4-4-2 with Michael Corcoran replacing Gary Mills, with Jamie Day pushed into left midfield and Matt Johnson into right as Nabil Shariff replaced Craig Farrell. The equaliser came after 77 minutes when good work by the impressive Michael Gash saw his pass to Nabil Shariff pushed out to Max Porter, whose powerful goalbound shot was defected past McMillan.

The Diamonds then had a number of chances to win the game, with both Huke and Miller winning headers from Diamonds corners, with Miller also hitting the crossbar an seeing another effort cleared off the line with McMillan beaten. Shariff also had a chance to open his Diamonds account when a flick-on from Gash dipped over his head, but he could not get an overhead kick onto the ball.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Southport 2

With a succession of score-draws at home against teams in the lower half of the table, the Diamonds have a chance to show how they can perform against one of the main contenders for promotion when Luton Town visit on Tuesday evening.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi, Alan Power, Max Porter (Capt), Gary Mills (Michael Corcoran 63), Matt Johnson, Michael Gash, Craig Farrell (Nabil Shariff 70).

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Joe Keehan, Jake Woolley

Southport: Tony McMillan, Chris Lever, Earl Davis, Shaun Whalley, Alan Moogan (Capt), Steve Daly (Matty McNeil 65), Tony Gray (Karl Ledsham 65), Matty McGinn (John-Paul Kissock 81), Rob Marsh-Evans, Robbie Williams, Aaron Turner.

Subs Not Used: Steve Dickinson (GK), Liam Blakeman

Goals: Johnson (28, 1-0), McGinn (37 (Pen), 1-1), Whalley (55, 1-2), Porter (77, 2-2)

Yellow Cards: Turner, Lever.

Referee: Mr R Martin (Weston-super-Mare)

Attendance: 1061 (away 58)

Diamonds Man of The Match Chosen by G H Frecknall & Co Ltd: Matt Johnson

Wrexham 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Rushden & Diamonds produced a battling second half performance to draw 1-1 with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.

The Reds took the lead after 15 minutes when a long throw from Curtis Obeng was headed on for Andy Mangan to run in and powerfully head towards goal. Although Joe Day made a fine effort to palm the ball into the air it dropped back into goal with Andy Morrell following in, but the goal was awarded to Mangan.

A much improved second half performance from the Diamonds saw them get a deserved equaliser when Shane Huke headed home and Alan Power corner. The corner was won by Paris Cowan-Hall after a strong run at the home defence

Both sides missed good chances to forge ahead, but the Diamonds improved showing after the break had earned them the away point and extended their unbeaten run on the road.

With Curtis Osano, Aaron O’Connor and Michael Corcoran absent due to injury Justin Edinburgh restored Jamie Day and Paris Cowan-Hall to the starting line-up. Alan Power replaced Matt Johnson, who took a place on the bench with Joe Keehan, Nabil Shariff, Craig Farrell and Simon Evans. Max Porter took over the captain’s armband for the first time. One of the highlights of the afternoon was to see Neil Cousins warming up with the Diamonds squad for the first time in one and a half seasons.

Wrexham manager Dean Saunders was forced into a single change, with Jordan McMillan replacing the suspended Jay Harris.

The first half started with both teams lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the Reds playing Morrell, Pogba and Mangan playing up front, although the Diamonds were favouring long balls up to Michael Gash, whereas their opponents were making better use of the flanks. Gash battled gamely with Mark Creighton, but the big defender was a stern challenge.

Andy Morrell fired over early on, and Joe Day made the first of many saves in an impressive performance when he denied Mangan with 8 minutes gone. The Diamonds forged a chance when a Jamie Day freekick was only half-cleared but Ryan Charles couldn’t quite connect with a volley. The Diamonds looked to have a decent claim for a penalty when a flick into the box from Alan Power deflected off the ankle of Neil Ashton before appearing to hit his arm twice as he kept the ball away from Power’s challenge.

After 15 minutes Wrexham took the lead. They won a throw on the right, and long-throw expert Curtis Obeng hurled the ball into the box, where it was headed on to the far past for Andy Mangan to direct a powerful header towards goal. Although Joe Day did well to get two hands to the ball, he could only palm it up into the air, and it hit the crossbar before dropping back towards goal, spinning over the line as Andy Morrell followed up.

The Diamonds’ other chance of the half came when Eddie Oshodi got a faint touch on an Alan Power free kick but keeper Maxwell reacted well and gathered the ball. At the other end Jamie Tolley fired wide as the hosts had the better of the half.

Referee Simpson only added 2 minutes and 30 seconds added time at the end of the half, despite both trainers having been called into action at least twice.

As the half ended Jamie Tolley could have increased the Wrexham lead with a free kick that flew just wide of the left-hand post.

Half Time: Wrexham 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds were forced into a change at half-time, with Ryan Charles being replaced by Craig Farrell. There was far greater energy in the visitors’ play during the second period, and they began to make the home defence look nervous as the three forwards started to find space away from their markers.

Andy Morrell started to influence the game more for the hosts, and he appealed for a penalty when Eddie Oshodi showed greater strength in a one-on-one challenge.

The change up front for the Diamonds allowed Paris Cowan-Hall more freedom, and he linked up with Jamie Day before powering past Obeng and then along the left byline, seeing his attempt on goal cut out and a corner conceded.

As Alan Power lined up to take a short corner to Jamie Day, the Wrexham fans objected to the placement of the ball in the "D", and he was forced to abandon that idea, and hit a conventional corner instead. This kick was met by Shane Huke who headed home the equaliser – his debut goal for the club.

The Diamonds were in the ascendancy at this point, and engineered a number of other chances, notably for Farrell and Matt Johnson, who replaced Paris Cowan-Hall up front after 72 minutes. Michael Gash showed his creative abilities when he found space on the left-flank and put in a teasing cross with both Johnson and Farrell running into space, but Mark Creighton once again cleared the danger. The Reds defender also went close at the other end when a powerful header flew just over the bar from a Fowler corner.

The hosts were also guilty of some poor finishing with Pogba and Morrell both dragging shots wide when clear on goal, and Joe Day saving well from Morrell and Mangan, with the latter save falling to Jamie Tolley who swept the ball home but he was penalised for fouling Jamie Day.

Referee Simpson added three minutes at the end of a half with few stoppages, and, unusually, only a single substitution once the half had started, but the Diamonds held out for their deserved point.

Full Time: Wrexham 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

With further injury concerns to add to those coming into the game, the Diamonds will have to assess who will take a place in their 16 man squad for the trip to Grimsby on Tuesday evening.

Teams:

Wrexham: Chris Maxwell, Curtis Obeng, Neil Ashton, Frank Sinclair, Mark Creighton, Jordan McMillan, Jamie Tolley, Lee Fowler, Andy Mangan, Andy Morrell (Capt), Mathias Pogba

Subs Not Used: Marvin Andrews, Joslain Mayebi (GK), Adrian Cieslewicz, Nat Knight-Percival, Gareth Taylor

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi, Max Porter (Capt), Alan Power, Gary Mills, Paris Cowan-Hall (Matt Johnson 73), Michael Gash, Ryan Charles (Craig Farrell H/T)

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Joe Keehan, , Nabil Shariff.

Goals: Mangan (15, 1-0), Huke (52, 1-1)

Yellow Cards: Power, Maxwell

Referee: J Simpson (Lancs)

Attendance: 3187 (away 87)

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Forest Green Rovers 2

 

Rushden & Diamonds drew 2-2 with Forest Green Rovers at Nene Park on Tuesday evening as they let slip a two goal lead. A brace from Ryan Charles, one in either half had given the Diamonds a comfortable lead, but the visitors fought back with two goals in the last 15 minutes, the first from Reece Styche, and then the equaliser from Steve Davies came with two minutes left. The first goal from Ryan Charles had been a great shot from outside the area after half an hour, and he was also in the right place to knock the ball home from close range after 51 minutes.

Diamonds manager Justin Edinburgh was able to welcome back Max Porter, so was able to rest Alan Power who took a place on the bench. Curtis Osano was again playing at left-back, with Jamie Day returning from illness to take a place on the bench.

Rovers’ manager Dave Hockaday replaced the suspended Steve Guinan with Yan Klukowski.

Although the game started far more slowly than in the recent visits of Bath and Hayes, there were early chances for Justin Miller and Shane Huke from set pieces, with a powerful shot from Huke just missing the angle of bar and post. A ball in from the right eluded two Rovers defenders and fell to Max Porter whose shot was well blocked by keeper Bittner.

The Diamonds had to make an early change when Curtis Osano signalled he could not continue, so Jamie Day resumed his left-back role. Eddie Oshodi then hit the bar with an effort from a Day corner

The most controversial incident of the game came when Rovers striker Reece Styche closed down Joe Day as he prepared to kick clear, and the clearance bounced off him and behind the Diamonds keeper, allowing Styche to run and put the ball into the net, but not before referee Long had signalled that he had deliberately used his arm to block the kick.

After 31 minutes the Diamonds took the lead. The Rovers defence failed to clear when a long ball forwards was worked towards the area by Michael Gash. The ball flew out to Ryan Charles just outside the right hand side of the penalty are, and his 25 yard shot gave Bittner no chance as it flew into the left-hand side of the goal.

Jamie Day was unlucky to see a dipping effort hit the top of the crossbar and fly away to safety after he controlled a clearance on his knee before hitting a left-foot shot from 25 yards.

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

Rovers started the second period with increased attacking threat, and Reece Styche might have done better when he fired over after a slip from Eddie Oshodi.

The Diamonds looked like they had made the game safe after 51 minutes when Ryan Charles netted his second goal of the game, A ball in from the left by Jamie Day was headed against the woodwork by Michael Gash, but Charles was on hand to net the rebound. The goal was Charles’ 10th goal in all competitions, drawing him level with Aaron O’Connor at the top of the goalscorers table.

The Diamonds then threatened to extend their lead when Aaron O’Connor latched onto a Gash flick, but his effort was well defended.

Reece Styche had been penalised on several occasions for handling the ball, and referee Long finally had enough and awarded a yellow card, but shortly afterwards the Rovers striker broke clear into the Diamonds area and fired low past Joe Day into the left hand side of the net.

The goal signalled an onslaught from the visitors that forced the Diamonds onto the backfoot, although the Diamonds defence held until there were just two minutes remaining, when an almost carbon copy of their first goal saw Steve Davies in space in the area to fire past Joe Day for the equaliser.

With referee Long signalling 3 minutes of added time, there was still time for the Diamonds to move back up a gear and get a winner, and it should have come when a fine ball from Max Porter in the right channel set Craig Farrell clear into the right side of the area, but his scuffed shot rolled wide of the right hand post.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 2 Forest Green Rovers 2

The game had brought back memories of the game at the New Lawn earlier in the season where the Diamonds had dominated the latter part of the game and fought back to draw 2-2 with a late equaliser – but it was Rovers who had turned the tables in this game.

The Diamonds now prepare for a road trip to Wrexham and then Grimsby, after completing a five-game home stand. The trip to Wrexham on Saturday will be a chance to build on the run of two consecutive away victories.

Teams

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Curtis Osano (Jamie Day 13), Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi, Matt Johnson (Alan Power 88), Max Porter, Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt) (Craig Farrell 68), Michael Gash, Ryan Charles

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

Forest Green Rovers: James Bittner, Luke Jones, Danny Hall (Scott Bartlett 58), Chris Stokes, Gavin Caines, Wayne Turk (Liam Enver-Marum 83), Kieron Forbes, Matt Somner, Reece Styche, Ross Dyer, Yan Klukowski (Steve Davies 57)

Subs Not Used: Craig Armstrong, Zak Jones (GK)

Goals: Charles (31, 1-0), Charles (51, 2-0), Styche (79, 2-1), Davies (88, 2-2)

Yellow Cards: Davies, Styche

Referee: Mr S J Long

Attendance: 759 (away 17)

Diamonds Man of The Match chosen by Pestfree: Ryan Charles

Rushden & Diamonds 5 Bath City 1

 

Rushden & Diamonds overwhelmed Bath City 5-1 at Nene Park on Tuesday evening. With one of their best performances of the season they saw Michael Gash net four goals, with Ryan Charles adding the fifth goal.

The Diamonds scored four goals in the first half, including a Michael Gash hattrick. It was Gash who opened the scoring after 9 minutes when he headed home an Alan Power free kick. City equalised with a penalty, but Diamonds then retook the lead when Gash nodded home the rebound after a Max Porter header had been saved. Ryan Charles had created that goal, and he got his reward when scoring the third goal heading home a Justin Miller cross. Just before the break Gash got his hat-trick when he headed home a Ryan Charles cross from the left.

Michael Gash added his fourth goal, Diamonds fifth, midway through the second half when Craig Farrell found Aaron O’Connor who squared to allow Gash to sidefoot home.

Justin Edinburgh brought Ryan Charles back into the starting line-up after his recent injury with Paris Cowan-Hall absent due to illness. With Jamie Day also absent, Justin Miller started at right-back to allow Curtis Osano to play at right back.

Bath City manager made several changes to his team, and could only give striker Kaid Mohamed a place on the bench. He put recent loanee Charlie Clough straight into his starting line-up in defence.

The first action of the half should have seen the visitors take an early lead, as Lee Phillips picked up a loose ball when Shane Huke made what was to prove his only error in a very impressive performance. Rather than take the immediate shot on goal with his left foot that was on offer, Phillips tried to move the ball onto his right foot and the chance was spurned.

After eight minutes the Diamonds worked the ball down the right, and picked up a free kick when Alan Power was tripped. Power took the kick himself, and Michael Gash got the flick on the ball to help it into the far side of the goal.

The lead only lasted five minutes, as the visitors were awarded a penalty when Eddie Oshodi was penalised for handball when a shot from Scott Murray was blasted at him. Murray fired home the spot kick.

The Diamonds front three were causing City’s defence all kind of problems, and a Gash cross to O’Connor saw the Diamonds striker turn and shoot, but his shot bounced off keeper Robinson and was cleared away to safety. Ryan Charles then fired in an excellent cross that was met by Max Porter, but his header was saved by Robinson, only to bounce to Michael Gash who restored the Diamonds lead.

As half-time approached, the Diamonds got the vital third goal, and this time it was Ryan Charles who headed home a Justin Miller cross from the right.

There was still time for the Diamonds to score their fourth headed goal of the half, and it was Michael Gash who completed a first half hat-trick converting a Ryan Charles crossed from the left

Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 4 Bath City 1

With such a convincing lead at half-time it might have been easy for the Diamonds to sit back in the second half, but to their credit they continue to take the game to the visitors, spending the first ten minutes of the half camped in the final third of the pitch.

Although their finishing was not as clinical as it had been in the first period, there were chances for Aaron O’Connor when he sprinted clear of defence, Craig Farrell when his shot appeared to hit O’Connor, Eddie Oshodi who came close at a corner, and keeper Robinson made several good saves, notably from O’Connor and Porter.

Although the visitors did start to present an attacking threat when Kaid Mohamed joined the action, it was the Diamonds who scored the only goal of the half, with all of the front three involved. Substitute Craig Farrell pierced the City defence with a pass that see Aaron O’Connor free. He in turn broke to the left byline before unselfishly squaring for Michael Gash to slot home his fourth goal of the game.

There was still time for a goal-bound Aaron O’Connor shot to be sliced onto the angle of post and bar by Jim Rollo. Max Porter headed wide after substitute Matt Johnson combined on the right with Justin Miller for the impressive Miller to get in one of many excellent crosses the Diamonds had delivered during the game.

Full-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 5 Bath City 1

After such an impressive display the Diamonds will try to deliver something similar when they face Hayes & Yeading at Nene Park on Saturday.

Teams:

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Curtis Osano, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi, Max Porter, Alan Power (Nabil Shariff 83), Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash (Matt Johnson 74), Ryan Charles (Craig Farrell 64)

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

Bath City : Ryan Robinson, Sekani Simpson, Jim Rollo (Capt), Gethin Jones, Scott Murray (Kaid Mohamed 61), Marley Watkins, Adam Connolly, Marc Canham, Sido Jombati, Charlie Clough, Lee Phillips (Hector Mackie 77).

Subs Not Used: Leigh Henry, Callum Hart, Leon Jeanne.

Goals: Gash (9, 1-0), Murray (pen) (15, 1-1), Gash (26, 2-1), Charles (40, 3-1), Gash (44, 4-1), Gash (73, 5-1)

Yellow Cards: Rollo, Huke, Power, Oshodi

Referee: Mr John Busby (Oxon)

Attendance: 804 (away 53)

Diamonds Man of The Match: Michael Gash

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hayes & Yeading Utd 1

 

Rushden & Diamonds were held to a 1-1 draw by Hayes & Yeading United at Nene Park on Saturday.

After the Diamonds dominated the opening 30 minutes, the visitors took the lead, against the run of play, when Andy Yiadom fired home from 20 yards. Michael Gash scored with a header shortly before half-time after good work by Aaron O’Connor, but the Diamonds could not reproduce their domination of the first half during a scrappy second period.

Justin Edinburgh was still without Jamie Day and Paris Cowan-Hall due to illness, and Max Porter could only take a place on the bench as he was suffering from a virus. Porter’s absence meant the introduction of Matt Johnson was the only change to the team that defeated Bath City 5-1 in midweek.

Hayes & Yeading manager was able to name ex-Diamond Jefferson Louis in his starting line-up, with Louis playing as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 line-up. Despite scoring a hat trick in the 3-3 draw between the teams at Church Road, Elliott Buchanan had to be content with a place on the bench.

The Diamonds completely dominated the opening half-hour, and easily could have been two or three goals ahead. The main Diamonds threat came down the right, as it had done against Bath City in midweek, with both Ryan Charles and Justin Miller getting in dangerous crosses that could easily have resulted in the opening goal. Miller was also causing problems for the United defence with his long throws, with a towel on hand to help dry the damp ball as a fine rain fell in Northamptonshire. Aaron O’Connor almost set up Ryan Charles, but good work from Adam Bygrave cleared the danger.

The nearest they came to scoring during this period was when a Power corner found the head of Shane Huke, but his effort was cleared off the line by Adam Green and then the loose ball was cleared from under his own crossbar off the knee of Bradley Pritchard.

Justin Miller showed his versatility by cutting inside and hitting a dangerous cross with his left foot which presented Matt Johnson with a chance that he saw bundled wide.

An Alan Power corner from the left looped directly into goal, but referee Ford penalised Michael Gash for a foul on the goalkeeper. Both Miller and Oshodi also had chances as they came forward at a number of Diamonds corners during the opening quarter.A Charles cross looked destined for the head of Michael Gash but Charlie Wassmer cleared the danger.

Aaron O’Connor’s first touch was rather heavy when Michael Gash flicked on a long ball from Eddie Oshodi, allowing keeper Preddie to close down the loose ball.

With such Diamonds domination it looked only a matter of time before they would open the scoring, but as so happens in Football, it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play. A move down the left saw Andy Yiadom pick up the ball, run into space and hit a 20 yard shot that gave Joe Day no chance.

Curtis Osano was rarely able to get too far forwards as he continued in a left-back role, but on one raid he was able to cut inside and hit a powerful right-foot shot that flew just over the bar.

Aaron O’Connor ran onto a poor backpass by Charlie Wassmer, but his angled shot was well saved by Preddie.

For a short period the game stagnated in midfield before the Diamonds resumed their dominance, although it looked like they might have to finish the half a goal behind. However, just as the game entered added time at the end of the half,  Aaron O’Connor picked up the ball on the left hand side of the area, broke to the by-line and squared the ball behind the covering defenders for Michael Gash to run onto and head home.

Half-Time Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hayes & Yeading Utd 1

Whereas the visitors had only the single chance in the first half, leading to their goal, they were able to generate several good chances in the second period, and came the closest to breaking the deadlock when Adam Green found space on the left hand side of the area and his header that met a Yiadom cross looked destined for the net, before Joe Day dived to make an excellent save. Although Bradley Pritchard was on hand to knock the loose ball into the net, he was flagged offside.

The visitors’ game-plan was clearly to disrupt play, with referee Ford having to want them about time wasting at throw-ins and goal kicks, and their trainer being called into action to treat players on several occasions before they were fit to resume.

Although Ryan Charles had battled to be fit enough to start the game, he was unable to complete more than an hour, and was replaced by Craig Farrell in a more central role, meaning the main Diamonds attacking avenue down the right was no longer producing the same threat.

Whereas the Diamonds had been offering a goal threat from every corner and freekick in the first half, they squandered several such opportunities in the second period, and a number of pre-rehearsed moves also failed to come off. Even the long throws of Justin Miller weren’t creating the threat they had done in the first period. Michael Gash had a headed chance that flew over the bar, and Gary Mills lashed a shot wide as keeper Preddie had few saves to make during the period.

The final chance of the game fell to Michael Gash as a 40 yard ball from Gary Mills from in front of the dugouts narrowly eluded his outstretched foot.

Full-Time Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hayes & Yeading Utd 1

With the problems due to illness as well as Ryan Charles struggling with fitness Justin Edinburgh will have to assess his squad before the visit of Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday evening.

Teams

Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Justin Miller, Curtis Osano, Shane Huke, Eddie Oshodi (Michael Corcoran 65), Matt Johnson, Alan Power, Gary Mills, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Michael Gash, Ryan Charles (Craig Farrell 57)

Subs Not Used: Simon Evans (GK), Max Porter, Nabil Shariff

Hayes & Yeading Utd: Delroy Preddie, Adam Green (Elliott Buchanan 78), Adam Bygrave (Lewis Ferrell 86), Peter Holmes (Capt), Jefferson Louis, Jamie Hand, Bradley Pritchard (Phil Appiah 82), Andy Yiadom, Charlie Wassmer, Lee Brown, Nathan Webb.

Subs Not Used: Lee Harrison (GK), Ben Wright

Goals: Yiadom (36, 0-1), Gash (45+1, 1-1)

Yellow Cards: Mills, Green, Huke

Referee: Mr D Ford

Attendance: 1129 (away 48)

Diamonds Man of The Match chosen by Fuelsell Fuels: Michael Gash

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