DCSIMG

Halifax Town 0 v Rushden and Diamonds 2 - Town's Trophy dreams are over

FAILURE To take advantage of long spells of possession cost Town their chance of taking another step towards Wembley in the FA Trophy. The Shaymen dominated the opening 20 minutes of each half but were unable to capitalise.

And they were eventually undone by two Rushden & Diamonds goals in the final three minutes of the tie.

Click here to see the slide show from the game.

They might have had legitimate claims for offside against Lee Tomlin when he went through to bag the 87th-minute opening goal.

And Michael Rankine also looked to be the furthest outfield player forward before he went on to add an injury time second.

But in essence, the Shaymen had only themselves to blame for missing a great opportunity and, from their reaction at the final whistle, they knew it.

Town had the ball in the net after three minutes, Lewis Killeen turning it home from an offside position after good work by Alex Bailey and Jon Shaw.

And Shaw was caught offside five minutes later after he had latched onto an Anthony Griffith pass.

Town were playing some good football, picking out accurate passes and working their way through the Rushden defence.

Shaw beat the visitors' keeper in the air after 12 minutes but Dale Roberts gathered at the second attempt.

And when Bailey played the ball inside for Simon Heslop a couple of minutes later he cracked a low shot goalwards only for the keeper to save.

Town continued to spray around the passes and forced a number of corners, from one of which - taken by Heslop - Craig Nelthorpe sliced a long range shot wide.

Having weathered the storm, Rushden started to get more adventurous and they had the two best chances of the opening 45 minutes.

The first fell to David Brown, who pounced on the ball after Adam Quinn's clearing header had struck Brian O'Callaghan's heels, but the former Hull City man pulled his shot wide.

And when Rankine beat O'Callaghan on the right he whipped in a cross which was met by Marcus Kelly, but he somehow managed to fire over from six yards on the half volley.

In between, Rankine was lucky to stay on the pitch after catching Quinn in the face with a stray arm - an incident almost identical to the one which had seen Nathan Joynes sent off at Northwich seven days earlier.

And Town continued to have chances themselves, the best of which fell to Nelthorpe who was unable to control a left footed volley after Shaw and Killeen had worked the opening.

The second half opened as the first had with Town in the ascendancy and they might have opened the scoring in the 49th minute.

Andy Campbell, on for first half injury victim Rob Scott, found Killeen who played the ball through for Shaw but his well struck shot was saved superbly by Roberts diving to his left.

Neither Quinn nor Shaw could get a touch on Heslop's left wing delivery and an audacious 35-yard free kick attempt from Heslop was deflected wide of the target.

Griffith surged forward three minutes later but was denied by the keeper who also saved well from Nelthorpe after he had cut in from the left.

As in the opening 45 minutes, Rushden started to get back into it and Town were indebted to Adam Legzdins with 12 minutes remaining when he saved a Tomlin effort with his left foot.

But Tomlin was not to be denied and with the minutes ticking away he bagged the crucial opener.

Dean Howell's long ball forward appeared to take a flick off a Rushden man before landing at Tomlin's feet, which would have made him offside.

The Town defenders certainly thought so as they raised their arms to a man but Tomlin continued his run and beat a stranded Legzdins.

The Town keeper saved from Andy Burgess moments later but was beaten for a second time in the third minute of added time when the Town defence was undone by another long ball and Rankine raced through to fire home.

STAR SHAYMAN

Anthony Griffith had not played for more than a month, but you would never have known.

He was straight back into his stride, tackling hard - but, importantly fair - in the centre of midfield.

And while the general criticism was that no one took the game by the scruff of its neck, he did at least have a run into the area which resulted in a saved shot.

While Town's defence never looked at its best, Adam Legzdins can count himself unlucky to have conceded two goals.

He stood no chance for either of the goals which were scored by Rushden players going through one on one.

But he also made two fine saves in the last 15 minutes, the first from Lee Tomlin keeping his side in the game.

When Town were dominant in the opening 20 minutes and carving the visitors' defence open, Lewis Killeen was always at the centre of things.

He ended up playing up front, on the right and the left as Town changed things round to try to get their noses in front.

Griffith takes the three points on offer in our season-long competition with Legzdins taking two and Killeen one

MATCH FACTS

Halifax Town: Legzdins, Scott (Campbell 42), Doughty, Quinn, O'Callaghan (Stamp 90), Griffith, Heslop, Nelthorpe (Gray 83), Bailey , Killeen, Shaw. Subs (not used): Mawson, Ainge.

Booked: None

Sent-off: None

Goals: None

Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Howell, Gulliver, Hope, Osano, Burgess, Challinor, Shaw, Kelly (Corcoran 90), Brown (Tomlin 75)m Rankine. Subs (not used): Bastock, Gooding, Hales.

Booked: Gulliver

Sent-off: None

Goals: Tomlin 85, Rankine 90.

Attendance: 1,052

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffs)

PLAYER POINTS

Jon Shaw 31, Simon Heslop 19, Tom Kearney 19, Anthony Griffith 15, Lewis Killeen 14, Andy Campbell 13, Steve Torpey 12, Steve Bushell 10, Jake Wright 10, Daryl Taylor 8, Rob Scott 7, Matt Doughty 6, Adam Legzdins 6, Cortez Belle 5, Danny Forrest 5, Craig Nelthorpe 4, Craig Mawson 3, Nathan Joynes 2, Adam Quinn 1, Darryn Stamp 2, Ryan Toulson 2, Greg Young 2, Peter Atherton 1.

YOU SAY

Inept managers change winning teams. Wilder never learns. The season is over and Wilder's reign should be too. The club needs a change - Ronnie Warren

Enough is enough Wilder. You now have the players you wanted. And you still can't deliver. Go now please. Morecambe offered money for Adam Quinn and you turned it down. Why? He is simply not good enough. Anthony Grifith was awsome today. Pity your teammates, apart from Legzdins, did not show the same desire. Go Wilder! JRA.

Even you must be wondering how you have kept your job Mr Wilder. I have just spent 15 of my hard earned money to watch rubbish. I will go again when you are gone - ANON

Too little pressure and too few chances in their penalty area. Rushden & Diamonds had to do very little to win the tie. philip

I have followed Halifax Town since 1983. I miss very few games at home but I will not be going again until Mr Wilder has gone - ANON

We were lucky. It could have been 6-0 because we were very poor at the back. The midfield sat too deep - ANON

 
 
 

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