The Harriers continued their great away form today with this humiliating win at old foes Rushden & Diamonds. On a lovely, warm sunny day in rural Northamptonshire - you could tell it was out in the sticks by the amount of butterflies fluttering on the breeze - the Harriers gave a shockingly poor Rushden a footballing lesson during a laid back first half when we could so easily have gone in three goals clear at the break.
As it was we had to make do with the one goal lead that Russ Penn had given to us just before halftime.
There were more changes to the starting line-up today with Brian Smikle handed his first start for a long time and Jake Sedgemore in at the back in place of Jeff Kenna and Jonny Harkness back in place of Glenn Wilson who was not allowed to play by his owners. Simon Russell was again on the bench for reasons known only to Mr Yates.
The two former Harriers at Nene Park didn't start. Wayne Hatswell was on the bench, making his comeback from injury, and Chris Beardsley was no where to be seen.
We should really have taken the lead in just under ten minutes when Brian Smikle spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring after he found himself clear on goal with just the former Hereford Utd keeper to beat. He only needed to dink the ball to the left or right quickly to wrong foot the keeper but he opted instead to fire it straight at him with the expected result. It just bounced back off his legs.
The Harriers were playing some slick, passing football and Rushden had no real answer to it apart from some ill thought tackles going in on Russ Penn. All these were being dished out by Gary Mills and although he got booked for the first off the ball offence the referee just admonished him for the second. Come the third bad tackle and the Rushden manager took him off for his own well being.
Jonny Harkness came close to scoring from one of his special free kicks on a couple of occasions. One particular one when the ball dipped suddenly and rebounded off the crossbar with Baker wondering where it had come from.
It was from another free kick on the edge of the area that we took the lead that we were to keep throughout the game. This time a bad tackle on Christie by Jason Goodliffe was punished with a yellow card and when Harkness stepped up to take the kick he played it back to Russ Penn who shot a powerful volley through a ruck of players and past the static keeper.
Goodliffe hobbled away down the touchline and was never seen again.