The Harriers completed only their second double of the season when they gained vengeance for the Setanta Shield defeat by Rushden a few weeks ago. That was a meaningless cup game though :( and the League means so much more to us. We had previously beaten them in the League at Nene Park in August and this result was just as sweet.
As expected Darryl Knights returned to the starting line up with Andy Ferrell dropping to the bench. It's a shame that it's always Fez that has to make way for him because sometimes we need a battler out there.
For Rushden Jon Challinor, who scored twice against us in the Shield game, was dropped to the bench alongside Lee Tomlin who seemed to have made a miraculous recovery from a life threatening injury that he had yesterday.
Right from the off it was the Harriers that took control of the game with Simon Russell having another good game probing the Rushden defence throughout the first half. He could have got himself on the scoresheet as early as the third minute of the game when his volley was deflected wide by a Diamonds defender.
Darryl Knights also fired wide just after and from the resulting corner Mark Creighton hammered a header against the bar. As the ball bounced down it was cleared off the line by El-Kholti and away to the safety of the middle of the park.
The Harriers kept pressing the visitors defence and the crowd were feeling that it was about time for a goal. That came with a header from Iyseden Christie that was destined for the back of the net but was superbly tipped over the bar by Dale Roberts. From the ensuing corner the ball was played to Simon Russell who then sent in a perfect cross for Christie to hammer home for his tenth goal of the season.
We seemed to sit back slightly for a while until almost the half hour mark when Christie sent in a cross for Matt Barnes-Homer. The young striker sent his shot in but the keeper was having a good game and somehow managed to keep it out.
After that brief rest the Harriers are back in charge now and Russell exchanged passes with Knights and then sent his shot just wide of the upright.
Just before halftime Gavin Hurren found his name going into the referees notebook after a slightly rash challenge on Rankine. Ironically the ref ignored calls for a foul from behind on Mark Creighton by Tom Shaw seconds earlier.
Both teams went in for the break with the Harriers one up. It could easily have been far more against a very mediocre Rushden side.