STAGS DRAW 0-0 WITH RUSHDEN
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Rushden & Diamonds
Attendance: 2028 (56 from Rushden)
Date: 27 January 2009
Report from Northants Evening Telegraph:
Diamonds and Stags in stalemate
By Mark Lea
Goalkeepers Dale Roberts and Alan Marriott shared the honours in this Blue Square Premier bore draw.
The goalkeepers were never really tested at Field Mill with both defences coming out on top under limited pressure.
Rushden & Diamonds recorded their first clean sheet in 11 games while Marriott – who started this season as the number one at Nene ADVERTISEMENTPark – also enjoyed a quiet evening for Mansfield Town.
Roberts returned to Nene Park when Marriott was injured and the former
Nottingham Forest youngster's performances convinced Diamonds that he should become their first choice.
However, there was nothing to choose between them in a game which should be forgotten pretty quickly with a lack of clear-cut chances at either end.
With in-form winger Lee Tomlin ruled out through suspension, Diamonds boss Garry Hill changed things around in midfield and used Michael Rankine as a lone striker.
However, that wasn't a defensive ploy as Neil Cousins, Rob Wolleaston and Marcus Kelly offered some support while Jake Beecroft and Andy Burgess stayed in deeper roles.
It took only three minutes to create something when Kurt Robinson's cross found Cousins on the edge of the six-yard box.
But the weak effort was gathered by Marriott on his line.
Diamonds wasted a golden opportunity following Scott Garner's trip on Cousins just outside the penalty area.
Burgess hit the free-kick into the wall and Chris Hope fired wide.
Mansfield offered no threat until the half-hour mark when midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea nodded off target from eight yards.
Soon afterwards the Stags skipper sent a long-range effort fractionally beyond the top corner while in between, Kelly tested Marriott from similar range.
Marriott raced out to deny Michael Rankine from Wolleaston's clever through-ball and within seconds Roberts cut out a left-wing cross aimed towards Louis Briscoe at the far post.
At the start of the second half Burgess failed to connect cleanly from 20 yards with Diamonds continuing to spend slightly more time on the attack.
However, it remained a comfortable evening for both goalkeepers who were grateful for plenty of protection directly in front of them.
Cousins volleyed wide but Diamonds were happy to settle for a point.
Report from thediamondsfc.com
Mansfield Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0
Rushden & Diamonds won a hard earned point against Mansfield Town with an impressive defensive display in a poor game at Field Mill. The Diamonds saw more of the possession during the first-half, but failed to capitalise, with a series of wasted corners and free kicks. The Stags had the better of the second half, with two efforts narrowly missing the goal, and an Aaron O'Connor shot blocked, but neither goalkeeper was really tested during the entire game.
Garry Hill had brought back Jake Beecroft in place of Justine Cochrane, and Rob Wolleaston started in place of the suspended Lee Tomlin. Neil Cousins was awarded his first league start alongside Michael Rankine. The back 4 was unchanged with Michael Corcoran having been passed fit. Gareth Jelleyman was able to take a place on the bench on his return from injury.
With so many changes in personnel for the home team, David Holdsworth gave a home debut to Paul Mayo as well as naming recent arrivals Anthony Howell and Curtis Shaw on the bench for the first time at Field Mill. Ex Diamonds Alan Marriott and Rob Duffy were in the starting XI, as was ex-Diamonds triallist Aaron O'Connor. Michael Blackwood returned to the side in place of Curtis Woodhouse.
The Diamonds formation was either 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1, with Andy Burgess and Jake Beecroft playing behind Neil Cousins on the right, Marcus Kelly on the left, with Rob Wolleaston having a free role behind lone striker Michael Rankine.
In the first half Dale Roberts was the busier keeper as he had to field the better hit dead ball kicks from the home team, as well as shepherding a powerful attempt by Jonathan D'Laryea wide.
The Diamonds however had more of the play, and their best move of the half came when Marcus Kelly fed the ball to Rob Wolleaston in midfield who then threaded a ball through the home defence for Neil Cousins to run onto. The Diamonds striker was pulled down by Scott Garner on the edge of the box, but Andy Burgess wasted the free kick - although the Diamonds bench were appealing that a penalty kick should have been awarded - either way it was surprising that Garner did not see a yellow card, especially when Curtis Osano was punished for a lesser challenge a few minutes later..
Cousins had come close as early as the third minute when he latched on to a low Kelly cross, but Adie Moses managed to take the sting out of the shot allowing Marriott to gather. Marcus Kelly also made Marriott gather up a shot hit from the edge of the box as the visitors dominated the first half.
The other good chance of the half came when Chris Hope flicked on a long free kick to Michael Rankine, but he had his back to goal, and could only win a corner. Like the other two Diamonds corners, Marcus Kelly could not beat the first man and the position was wasted.
A further chance from a dead-ball situation came when Gary Silk handled on the edge of the box, but this time it was Kelly who wasted the free-kick.
Half-Time : Mansfield Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0
The Diamonds attacking attempts in the second half were few and far between, with Rob Wolleaston doing well to get in a cross from the left of the box that eluded everyone, and Neil Cousins having a shot that was well wide. The only other attempt was when Marcus Kelly put in a cross with his right foot that was only cleared as far as Andy Burgess, but his attempt with his right foot was well wide.
After theit poor showing from set pieces in the first half, the Diamonds failed to win a corner or a free kick in a dangerous position for the entire seconf half.
The impressive Kurt Robinson was booked for a challenge on Aaron O'connor despite clearly winning the ball - perhaps refereeHalliday (who otherwise had a good game) thought the tackle could have been dangerous had he not connected with the ball.
The home side had a number of chances to open the scoring during the half, but none really tested Roberts as the Diamonds defence was looking very impressive. Curtis Osano made the most crucial block of an Aaron O'Connor shot after he had been set up by substitute Ameobi.
Michaal Blackwood was the home side's most impressive player, and his free kick looked like it might be heading over the Diamonds defence towards Scott Garner at the far post, but Chris Hope did enough to thwart the attempt on goal.
The Diamonds will be happy with an away point, although the lack of second-half firepower will be a concern, as will the failure to create any sort of danger from free-kicks and corners. Lee Tomlin will be available on Sunday when Cambridge United are the visitors to Nene Park.
Full-Time : Mansfield Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0
Mansfield Town : Alan Marriott, Gary Silk, Paul Mayo (Tomi Ameobi 52), Jonathan D'Laryea, Adie Moses, Matt Somner, Michael Blackwood, Louis Briscoe (Anthony Howell 86), Scott Garner, Aaron O'Connor (Neil MacKenzie), Robert Duffy
Subs : Dan Whatsize, Curtis Shaw
Rushden & Diamonds : Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Kurt Robinson, Chris Hope, Michael Corcoran, Rob Wolleaston (Sam Smith 68), Andy Burgess (Capt), Jake Beecroft, Marcus Kelly, Michael Rankine, Neil Cousins (Jamie McGuinness 85)
Subs Not Used : Joe Day, Daniel Broadbent, Gareth Jelleyman
Yellow Cards : Curtis Osano (foul), Kurt Robinson (foul)
Diamonds Man of the Match : Michael Corcoran
Attendance 2028 (away 56)
Latest | January 2009