Table toppers to strong for Rovers
Top of the table Rushden & Diamonds were the visitors to Sharpenhoe last Saturday with Rovers hoping to build on a convincing home victory the previous week. The overnight rain had left its impact on the playing surface which had the consistency of a pudding and looking likely to make flowing football a tall order. Diamonds were by far the better of the sides during the opening half with Matt Finlay the Rovers keeper kept busy particularly by Ben Farrell who looked a class act in this Diamonds side. Farrell's header after 16 minutes was well held by Finlay and again Farrell should have opened the scoring after 24 minutes when a right wing cross found him in space but Finlay saved well low at his right hand post. Rovers simply could not command any spells of possession and Andrew Phillips, playing up front on his own, was fighting a lone and often fruitless battle against a very assured and faultless Diamonds back four. Finlay made further saves from both Tom Lorraine and Farrell and the game reached half-time with the score level at 0-0.
Rovers made a change at half-time with Michael Gyasi being replaced by Ike Nzuruba but, before the sub could get into the action, Diamonds took the lead that their superiority merited when a flowing move initiated by that man Farrell ended with their centre-forward Lorraine headed home just 4 minutes into the second half. In a rare Rovers attack Ben Sawyer crossed in low from the right, Ben Heath the Diamonds keeper fumbled the cross but, under no direct pressure by any Rovers attacker, quickly recovered and the danger passed. On 65 minutes Ronayne Marsh-Brown cleared off Rovers goal-line to keep Rovers in this match and this was quickly followed by another excellent Finlay save from a Farrell header. However, the second and decisive goal was only momentarily delayed when, on 72minutes another header by Diamonds' Jack Ashton found the far corner to put the game beyond Rovers. Three further points to Diamonds then in their quest for promotion whilst this was a stuffy and very defensive show by Rovers but, in the end, certainly no disgrace to lose out to a very polished Diamonds team.