Grimsby Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1



Rushden & Diamonds gained a well deserved 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town in their rearranged game at Blundell Park.

After a very flat first quarter with an end of season feel the home side took the lead after Simon Evans had made a great save to deny Rob Atkinson, but the resultant corner fell again to Atkinson who fired low into the right hand side of the net. The Diamonds got a deserved equaliser when a Miller long throw was cleared as far as Nabil Shariff, whose shot looped over keeper Croudson.

The first half ended in controversy when a dreadful challenge from Bradley Wood caused a melee involving a dozen or so players, but Wood only received a yellow card, the same as Shane Huke received for his part in the melee.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the team that drew with Wrexham at the weekend with Joe Keehan and Nabil Shariff starting in place of Matt Johnson and the suspended Alan Power. Aaron King took a place on the bench. Paris Cowan-Hall was still unavailable as he recovers from the injury he picked up in the original game between the sides.

The Mariners management team Rob Scott and Paul Hurst gave ex-Diamond Rob Duffy a place on the bench, as well as dropping keeper Kenny Arthur.

The game kicked off in front of a sparse crowd at Blundell Park, suggesting the plan to move the game to a Wednesday night had backfired. The Diamonds were playing towards the travelling fans hoping to repeat the feat of scoring twice at that end as they had done in the first game.

The first quarter of the game was very quiet both on and off the pitch, perhaps as a result of both sides having to settle for a mid-table finish in the league. Both Keehan and Shariff looked lively as they looked to cement a place in the starting XI. Keehan had been give a free role, and was able to get forwards as he benefitted from having w willing holding midfielder in Gary Mills.

As the game entered the second quarter things started to liven up, with the Mariners winning a freekick on the right edge of the area, after a quickly taken throw-in (from the wrong place) found Lee Peacock who was bundled over by Curtis Osano. The free kick saw a great save from Simon Evans as he denied Rob Atkinson. However, the resultant corner wasn’t cleared, and Rob Atkinson was able to slot the ball low into the right hand side of the goal.

Almost straight away the Diamonds could have equalised when Craig Farrell set Jamie Day free with a deft flick , and Day’s flick to the far post had to be scrambled away. Aaron O’Connor then won a Diamonds corner on the right, with Jamie Day’s kick being cleared for a throw. Justin Miller fired his trademark long throw into the box, and it was only cleared as far as Nabil Shariff on the edge of the area. Shariff hit a looping shot which dipped over keeper Croudson to give the Diamonds a deserved equaliser.

The Diamonds came close to taking the lead as a long ball was neatly rolled into Aaron O’Connor’s path by Craig Farrell, and the Diamonds skipped set up Nabil Shariff which saw a goal-bound effort cleared off the line.

As half-time approached the main talking point of the game occurred, when Bradley Wood launched into a high tackle that looked certain to receive a red card from referee Fletcher, but Shane Huke took matters rather into his own hands, sparking a melee involving a dozen or so players, the result of which was that Wood only received a yellow card, as did Huke for his part in the melee.

Half-Time: Grimsby Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

The events involving a home fan and the Diamonds dugout at the interval are best left without further discussion, as, after discussing certain matters with the referee the teams agreed the matter wouldn’t be taken further.

The incident had injected more life into the game, with a greater desire from the sides to make sure they didn’t lose the game, but apart from this tension the second half was quieter that the period before the break.

Simon Evans made his second top class save of the game to deny Michael Coulson, and at the other end Nabil Shariff showed decent pace to outrun his marker, but he couldn’t quite set-up the supporting Joe Keehan, as both players continued to impress. Shariff’s skill and ball control saw him create a chance of his own midway through the half, but he was unable to get a good contact with his left foot.

Shane Huke and Curtis Osano were forming a solid partnership, and on the one occasion their defensive line appeared to be breached Justin Miller was there to cover.

Neil Cousins joined the action, and was able to contribute by helping out in defence as well as starting a move that saw Shariff set up Aaron O’Connor to break into the penalty area and win a corner.

Evans made another good save, to grasp a low shot from Micky Cummins before the final chances of the game fell to the Diamonds, with Matt Johnson almost getting a shooting opportunity deep into the penalty area, then a final pair of Diamonds corners were cleared.

Full-time: Grimsby Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1


Grimsby Town, , Steve Croudson, Darran Kempson (Robert Atkinson 26), Scott Garner, Peter Bore, Mark Hudson, Micky Cummins, Michael Leary (Andi Thanoj 79), Bradley Wood, Lee Peacock (Robert Duffy 70), Michael Coulson, Alan Connell

Subs Not Used: Kenny Arthur (GK), , , , Robert Eagle.

Rushden & Diamonds: Simon Evans, Justin Miller, Jamie Day, Shane Huke, Curtis Osano, Max Porter, Joe Keehan (Matt Johnson 82), Gary Mills, Craig Farrell (Neil Cousins 74), Nabil Shariff, Aaron O’Connor.

Subs Not Used: James Broadbent (GK), Aaron King, Michael Corcoran.

Goals: Atkinson (28, 1-0), Shariff (38, 1-1)

Yellow Cards: Wood, Huke, Mills

Referee: Russell Fletcher (Derbyshire)

Attendance: 2071 (away approx 25)

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