Today was an almost identical result to our opening day clash when we came away from a scorching hot Rushden after running them ragged for a goalless draw. Today we came away from an almost as hot Aggborough after not quite so much running but still ending up with the same scoreline.
Back in August the result didn't matter all that much because we were at the start of a new season that would hopefully end with us at the top or thereabouts. We now find ourselves at the end of that season of promise and both sides are at the wrong end.
Before the game Rushden were four points better of than us and ninety minutes later there was no difference. The difference was below us where Cambridge have now closed that gap back to two points following their win at home to Wycombe.
With Tom Bennett missing through suspension the Harriers manager, Stuart Watkiss, decided to draft the un-fit Lee Jenkins back into the side in place of him. Last week we had Reuben Hazell on the bench and this week it was the turn of the other one, Iyseden Christie. The reminder of the team was un-changed from last weeks win in Nottingham.
It was Rushden, confusingly wearing red and white, that looked the more dangerous side in the first period of the game with Billy Sharp living up to his name and looking very sharp. On three occasions early on he managed to beat our defence but failed the beat the offside trap. Working the offside trap can be effective as shown last week but all it needs is someone like Sharp to expose it and you're in trouble.
Luckily for us it worked and so did Drewe Broughton for his new team. Having left here last season for Southend he has now parked his black Beemer at Nene Park and he's looking a much better player than he was here. He still has a bit of a problem keeping his elbows down and he still can't shoot with his left foot but he looks a faster, more pacier player than he ever did at Aggborough.
After the first quarter we started to get back into the game once our opening jitters had calmed and it was Wayne Hatswell that came close when his shot looked to be going in but the Rushden keeper, Shearer, on loan from Coventry, somehow managed to get to it to push it just outside of his post.
We had another chance from Hats a bit later but our official forward line of Sturrock and Beardsley weren't getting much of a look in against an un-compromising Diamonds defence.