Late rally fails to bring home a point.
17 October 2009
Gary Mills was forced to make a couple of changes to his starting eleven following injury to a number of key players, bringing in two new faces to the squad 24 hours prior to kick off at Nene Park. Seb Lake-Gaskin was also missing due to family commitments which meant 19 year old Sam Gaughran was handed a debut at the back alongside Michael Briscoe.
Michael Wylde, complete with protective mask, took a place in the bench with new signing Wayne Looker.
Tamworth came into the match on the back of three defeats, two at home and one away while Rushden had drawn a blank in two defeats, before a returning Lee Tomlin netted the winner at Chester last weekend.
With the Lambs fans huddled into one corner of the seating stand Rushden started the game kicking towards the Peter De Banke terrace at the other end an quickly won a throw by the corner flag. Gaughran headed it clear and Tamworth went on the attack but Lyttle's ball over the top saw every red shirt caught offside as the home defence pushed forward.
Tait chased down and blocked an attempted clearance by Robinson which had just enough spin on it to roll back to Abbey in the Diamonds goal as Tait bore down on him.
But with three minutes 30 seconds gone, the home side took the lead after Tomlin made a jinking run from the left wing seemingly through or past everyone who stood in his way and fired a low shot into the near corner which hit the back of the net with Alcock in full flight. (0-1, 4 mins)
But Tamworth were back on level terms on 8 when Wright finished a good move into the area which was started by Russell and when his shot came back off Abbey, Wright made no mistake with a simple finish from 8 yards (1-1, 8 mins)
A good left wing cross from Robinson sneaked passed the far post on 10 while at the other end less than 60 seconds later, Wright forced Osano to concede a corner on the left. Ex-Diamonds man Shaw floated it long and Abbey dropped his catch but had a covering defender there to clear the danger.
A cross from Farrell on 13 brought loud shouts of handball from the home faithful as Briscoe went up to try and head it clear, with Akurang on his back but neither player got a touch and a goalkick was the result.
Rushden won a freekick on the left on 14 which Briscoe got a powerful head to, and Tamworth pushed forward. Wright almost capitalised on a weak back header by Cochran but Abbey was quickest to the ball and in the next move Akurang hit a low shot at Alcock which he smothered.
A foul by Cochran on Sheridan won The Lambs a freekick on 16 with Shaw the provider from the dead ball once again, but the home side broke through Farrell and Blackwood had no choice but to conceded a flag kick on the left. Following a short corner Tomlin got the better of the Tamworth defence to head home at the far post (1-2, 18 mins)
Sheridan tried his luck from the left with a low drive wide of the mark on 24 which Abbey watched out to safety by his near post.
Wright took a touch too many 15 yards out and central to goal, after good play from Russell to Pritchard set him up with the ball at his feet in the area on 29. His extra touch to get a clear sight of the target caused the chance to go when a snap shot may have been the better option and Rushden cleared.
At the other end, Akurang hit a speculative shot from 25 yards which Alcock tipped wide for a corner. Briscoe headed clear but Sheridan was brought down, allowing Alcock to launch the ball long from the freekick.
Blackwood made a rare foray forward on 32 and looked for the target with a rising shot from 30 yards, but only caused the ball boys some work to get the ball from between the seats in the empty Airwair Stand behind the goal.
Russell ball over the last man to an onrushing Pritchard caused Abbey to leave his area and clear the stand with the clearance and Sheridan was adjudged to be just offside from a similar move from the resulting throw.
Cousins hit a hopeful shot into the home fans on the terracing from 18 yards on 36 and Sheridan looked to be running with a knock on his ankle with 8 remaining, gritting his teeth to play through the pain.
Tait received a good ball to feet from Wright which allowed him to test Abbey with a low drive on 40.
Pritchard found Russell with a delightful ball into the area which the latter turned well only to find his path blocked and more good movement from The Lambs brought a loud cheer from the 150 (official figure) travelling fans when Shaw tried a shot from distance, but missed the target.
One minute added time was shown at the end of the first half and it almost brought an equaliser when Pritchard planted a left wing cross onto the head of Wright, but his effort went just over the bar from 8 yards out.
Tamworth kicked off the second half but an early offside halted proceedings as quickly as they started.
Pritchard won a corner on the left on 48 but Rushden cleared long and Briscoe was called upon three times to clear high balls towards the Lambs back four but there was little Lyttle could do when Robinson slammed an attempted left wing cross into him to win a corner, which came to nothing, for the home side on 52.
The Lambs won one of their own on 55 which Shaw almost put straight into the net, only for Abbey to push it away at the far post at full stretch, and there were loud shouts for handball against a Diamonds defender but all that was awarded was another corner, which Abbey collected this time.
Robinson hit a left wing cross towards goal on 58 which Alcock didn't seem troubled by, until it dropped just over the bar and ended up disentangling himself from the netting.
Sheridan picked up a booking on 60 following a challenge on Corcoran and as Rushen pushed forward from the free kick Alcock saved at the feet of Osano following a low ball from the left by Robinson.
Tomlin took a tumble on the edge of the area on 66 and Gaughran earned a yellow card for what seemed no more than a tap but it allowed Terry to line up a freekick which he rolled into the area and when the same Lambs defender was floored in the ensuing play, Stuart was also booked.
Gary Mills made his first change with 20 minutes remaining, bringing Andrew on for Russell, but Rushden almost extended their lead when Tomlin turned provider for Robinson who slotted his shot from the left of the area beneath all the legs of the defenders and the arms of Alcock, but watched in agony as it rolled out past the right hand upright.
O'Connor hit a hopeful shot high of the target on 73 and on 74 Osana became another to enter the referee's notebook following a challenge on Sheridan. Blackwood's freekick was headed behind for a corner on the left with a quarter of an hour to go but Diamonds cleared the danger initially. The Lambs kept looking for a way through but Pritchard's cross from the left was cut out and when the ball went out of play, Wylde came on for Shaw.
Tomlin then set up O'Connor to hit the home side's third goal on 78 with a run into the left of the box, a low cross which was only stopped from rolling by a combination of Alcock and his defenders and allowed O'Connor to fire home from 3 yards. (1-3, 78 mins)
Another run by Tomlin down the left was halted by a combination of Lyttle and Tait and Gaughran with 7 to go, and he got all the way to the by-line a minute later but floated his chip with the outside of his right boot too hard for his teammates to attack.
Briscoe picked up a booking for a late challenge on Tomlin over the half way line with 4 to go and Andrew picked up a yellow for a push on Pattison on the other side of the centre circle which saw the Rushden player end up in the dugouts.
Lyttle was penalised for a blocking tackle on Tomlin as the minutes ticked down into 5 minutes added time, caused mainly by the bookings adding to the five substitutions.
In the 93rd minute Tait followed up a close range shot off the bar by Wright to reduce the arrears (2-3, 90+ mins) but Wright couldn't keep his shot down as the 95th minutes mark passed and it proved to be too little too late for The Lambs.
Alcock, Tait, Blackwood, Wright, Pritchard, Sheridan, Shaw (Wylde 76), Lyttle (capt), Briscoe, Russell (Andrew 70), Gaughran
Subs: Mills, Bruce, Looker
Rushden and Diamonds Team:
Abbey, Osano, Robinson, Porter, Stuart (capt), Farrell, Tomlin, Cousins (Byrne 59), Corcoran, Terry (Pattison 80), Akurang (O'Connor 53)
Subs: Roberts, Smith
Referee: D. Coote