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Rushden & Diamonds 0 Harriers 1


Date: 15-11-08gif Venue: Nene Parkgif att: 1391gif away fans: 235
A less than Diamond performance
It wasn't the best Harriers performance ever seen but it also wasn't the worst either.  It was quite possibly the worst Rushden side that I have ever seen though.

We did enough to get all three points after Justin Richards put away his second penalty in seven days and we should really have gone on to put the game out of sight by the end of the first half.  In the second half we seemed to lose our way slightly - a lot - and a better side than Rushden would have punished us.

With the Harriers fans in extremely good voice once more we kicked off without any changes to the starting eleven from the Cambridge game.  Luke Jones, returning from a three match ban, was on the bench.

Mark Creighton had won the toss and elected to play towards the Harriers fans in the first half and so forcing Rushden to play into the low sun that was setting behind the sparsely populated home terrace.

Richards could have put the Harriers a goal up within the first minute of the game when he had a shot blocked by the Rushden centre half Chris Hope.  He could also have gone on to score a hat trick within the next five minutes but poor finishing and some half decent goalkeeping from Dale Roberts was spoiling all the good build up play.

Rushdens only attempt at scoring came from Michael Corcoran when he headed over and Darryl Clare spent more time on his bum than trying to score.

The goal came when Brian Smikle tried to cross the ball from the edge of the area while only a few feet from Curtis Osano.  The ball struck his hand and the referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot.  It was a bit of a harsh decision because Osano couldn't really avoid the ball hitting him but we're not going to turn away a chance of a goal are we?  It happens to us enough.

Justin stepped up to take it and calmly waited while the ref readied himself and then, with Roberts dancing on the line trying to put him off, he coolly placed the ball just inside the left hand post and then wheeled away to celebrate.

That was about the last action of the half and five minutes later both teams trooped off with the Harriers looking more confident and good value for their slender lead.
HT: 0 - 1
The jubilant Harriers fans were expecting the Reds to go on and build on their lead in the second half but it was a great disappointment when we failed to do so.  We just seemed to be in second gear throughout the half and just content to sit on the 1-0 lead knowing that Rushden were never going to score.

Rushden were being given the opportunity to attack more but most of their shots were way off target or their crosses were missing the intended target and going out of play.  When they did try we had a couple of nervous moments.

One came from a cross from Rob Wolleaston that seemed to be going out but then turned into a shot on goal as it dipped just below the crossbar and forced the England keeper to flip it over for a corner.

Their only other real chance fell to Michael Rankine when he found himself in front of an open goal but somehow managed to put the ball on to the top of the Airwair stand from ten yards out.

We were coping ok and following a couple of substitutions by the home side Mark Yates sent on Dean Bennett for the under performing Brittain.  Within minutes Deano had picked up his first yellow card of the season when he bought down a Rushden player even though he had reached the ball cleanly.

Good defending gained us all of the points in the end but sometimes it would be nice to kill these poor teams off properly.

As with Cambridge last week we seem to be playing ok without being brilliant.  It's just enough to win but will it be enough in the long run?

We have Wrexham at Aggborough next week and that should be a harder challenge than today was.  Will one goal be enough?
FT: 0 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Richards 42 (pen)

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Rushden & Diamonds  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Roberts     Bartlett  
Osano     Lowe  
Corcoran gif     Baker  
Moloney   Ferrell  
Hope     Creighton  
Boden gif     Riley  
Wolleaston     Brittain gif  
Woodhouse     Smikle  
Rankine     Barnes-Homer gif  
Clare     Penn gif  
Kelly gif     Richards  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Day     Coleman  
Phillips gif     Jones gif  
Burgess gif   Moore  
Fortune     Bennett gif
Tomlin gif     Knights gif  

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