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

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