Darlington 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

 

The Diamonds slipped to defeat in their last game of the season as Darlington scored twice in the second-half. Tommy Wright tapped home after 64 minutes, and John Campbell made the game safe with a 25-yard volley five minutes from time.

Justin Edinburgh made a single change to the team that beat Kidderminster on Monday, with Max Porter returning from suspension and Matt Johnson dropping to the bench. He kept the same 3-5-2 formation that was so successful against Kidderminster.

After the hosts had a couple of early attacks, the first twenty minutes had an end of season feel before the Diamonds picked up the pace and dominated the remainder of the half.

After 25 minutes the Diamonds had the first of three excellent chances during the half, as Shariff laid a neat ball into the path of Aaron O’Connor in the left channel. With Jamie Day making a decoy run on his outside, O’Connor was able to cut inside and shoot, but keeper Russell made a confident save.

A minute later there was another chance with Jamie Day involved again as he picked up a neat flick by Aaron O’Connor and then set up Nabil Shariff for a run into the area in the left channel, but his side-footed attempt was gathered by Russell.

A major concern during the half was the knock picked up by Jamie Day, as he picked up an ankle injury and had to be replaced by Matt Johnson. After the game Justin Edinburgh confirmed he had "turned his ankle" which could mean he recovers in time for his England C duty in May.

The third excellent Diamonds chance of the half came just before the interval as Alan Power forced a good save from Russell as he made a surging run into the area

Half-Time: Darlington 0 Diamonds 0

The second half struggled to spark into life, and the opening goal after 64 minutes was perhaps appropriate for a game that looked like it might peter out into a goalless draw. Curtis Osano struggled to deal with a Quakers threat down their right, and Chris Moore was able to hit a low cross towards the six-yard line which substitute John Campbell fired towards goal, and although Simon Evans made a block it fell to Tommy Wright who had a simple tap-in from close range. Referee Simpson looked long and hard at the linesman as there was a strong suspicion Wright might have been offside, but no flag was shown and the goal stood.

If that goal was very scrappy, the Quakers second goal was one of the few quality moments in the game, as John Campbell picked up a loose ball in a similar area to where the Diamonds had seen their two best chances in the first half, but he chose to shoot from 25 yards, and his powerful effort easily beat Evans.

The game ended with home keeper Sam Russell being confirmed as the sponsors man-of-the-match, and award justified by his performance in the first half that denied the Diamonds a half-time lead that might have led to them going on to win the game.

Full-Time: Darlington 2 Diamonds 0

Few involved with Rushden & Diamonds will be sad to see the back of the 2010-11 season, with the fans prepared to back a regime over which there have been question-marks for some time, but who will now be looking to know the true situation with the club.

Teams

Darlington: Sam Russell, Paul Arnison, Ian Miller (Capt), Aman Verma (Paul Terry 57), Aaron Brown, Jamie Chandler, Gary Smith, Chris Moore, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (John Campbell 64), Liam Hatch, Tommy Wright (Nathan Modest 89)

Subs Not Used: Phil Gray, Greg Taylor.

Rushden & Diamonds: Simon Evans, Justin Miller, Jamie Day (Matt Johnson 41), Shane Huke, Curtis Osano, Eddie Oshodi (Neil Cousins 70), Max Porter, Alan Power, Michael Corcoran, Aaron O’Connor (Capt), Nabil Shariff (Craig Farrell 75)

Subs Not Used: James Broadbent (GK), Ryan Charles

Goals: Wright (64), Campbell 85)

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancs)

Attendance: 2009 (Away approx 75)

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