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21:44 5th March 2002

Rushden & Diamonds v Exeter City

The Grecians' start the game making just the one change from the team that beat Darlington on Saturday with Alex Watson coming back into the team to replace Neil Whitworth.  Once again the following of around about 100 Grecians' fans are in attendance at the impressive Nene Park. Switching back to the usual white football, City start the game attacking the Peter De Banke Terracing which is full of Diamonds fans.  City start the game playing some very attractive passing football on a superb surface at Nene Park. Geoff Breslan has the first strike when he was fed a ball on the right flank in the third minute, not quite catching it correctly it ended up to the right of the post and in with the Rushden supporters.  Richie Hanlon strikes Rushden's first effort from twenty yards only to see the ball hit Scott Partridge and roll out for a goal kick. Rushden created the best chance so far in the fourteenth minute when Van Heusden was forced into a superb save from a header from Lowe after the cross was whipped in from the left flank by Hanlon.  Seventeen minutes in and a free kick for City was played to Ampadu who tried a speculative effort from thirty yards, which dipped high over the bar. A very scary moment in the twenty third minute when Van Heusden rolled the ball out and was not aware of the oncoming Scott Partridge who very nearly closed him down to steal the ball.  Another long range effort from Partridge failed to trouble Van Heusden. Thirty one minutes and City go a goal behind, good work on the right from Paul Hall led to a cross that floated over the entire City defence to the unmarked Andy Burgess who half-volleyed the ball past Van Heusden. Two minutes later and a harsh penalty was awarded for a push on Onandi Lowe.  Chris Curran was booked for dissent before the penalty was taken.  Ritchie Hanlon stepped up and smashed the ball into the opposite corner to the diving Van Heusden. Thirty eight minutes and City give Rushden a warning as Geoff Breslan powered a superb header from ten yards towards Billy Turley who somehow managed to scoop the ball over the top of his post.  A confident Roscoe doesn't seem to quite have the midas touch tonight and he has so far seen several efforts go either wide or high. A disappointing first half but City start showing some of their better form and promise towards the end of the half. Half Time Rushden 2-0 Exeter City The second half starts with the Grecians' attacking the Airwair Stand where the small following of fans are situated.  Rushden start on the offensive winning a two corners in close succession in the first two minutes of the restart. Andy Tillson entered the book in the fiftieth minute for slicing down Sean McCarthy.  City still sluggish from the break concede yet another corner after a effort from Hall, Hanlon powered in a strike from the rebound which was claimed by Van Heusden. After fifty four minutes Corny decides to go on the offensive bringing off Geoff Breslan to be replaced by Steve Flack.  On sixty minutes another change as Kwame Ampadu was to be replaced by Paul Buckle. Roscoe forged out the best chance of the game as he broke on the left and rifled his shot into the legs of Turley for a corner.  From the resulting corner the big man Flack charged in and headed high over the bar. Finally the breakthrough in the sixty fifth, a long throw from Curran was met by a bit of head tennis in the Rushden box before Sean McCarthy left his mark on the game with a header that rattled around in the stanchion to pull a goal back. A new lease of life, City have their tails up and are finding their passing skills that were displayed in Saturdays performance.  All of a sudden after a blatant foul on Roberts' that was not given, McConnell was given a straight red!  The reason? One can only believe it was for a derogatory remark to the official.  Fifteen to go with a man down. Seventy seven minutes in and the game should have been dead and buried as far as City were concerned, Partridge in a one on one with Van Heusden and he managed to somehow put the ball into the side netting.  With their next attack Partridge was again our saviour as an empty net beckoned the shot hit Partridge in the face and bounced off target. Burgess then created the next attack as he chipped a ball in that deflected off Curran and was left by Van Heusden to bounce off of the crossbar.  Before the corner was taken Tomlinson replaced McCarthy (82). Into the eighty eighth minute and Watson became the next player to enter the book after pulling away at Lowe on his route to goal. Not a convincing victory but the same way not a convincing defeat.  Hopefully everyone will pick themselves up and we now have to look forward to Saturdays trip to the Aggbrough Stadium in Kidderminster.
    Data provided by Press Association