Rushden and Diamond 2 Halifax Town 2: Town denied by late strike

BACK in September, Rushden & Diamonds scored a dubious injury time penalty to deny Town victory in a Blue Square Premier encounter at the Shay.

On Saturday - seven days after late goals knocked the Shaymen out of the FA Trophy - the Diamonds were at it again with a stoppage time equaliser to prevent Chris Wilder's side from bagging a third away win of the season.

See the slide show from the game.

The manager - unhappy with both of the home side's goals - has every right to be sick of the sight of Gary Hill's side.

The penalty the Diamonds were awarded three minutes before the break was given by a linesman 50 yards from the incident when the referee, just 10 yards from the action, had already decided he was not going to give it.

And the Town bench were adamant that the second equaliser came after a foul throw with Michael Rankine's feet clearly over the line when he launched the ball into the box.

It was a real blow for the Halifax players who produced the kind of response Wilder had been looking for following their FA Trophy exit.

They passed the ball well, pressed Rushden when they were in possession and created chances.

But this was an away draw that felt like a defeat.

Town suffered a blow before kick off when Alex Bailey pulled up lame at the end of the warm-up and had to be replaced in the starting line-up by Thomas Harban, who did exceptionally well given the short notice of his inclusion.

But they got off to a flying start when they went ahead after just three minutes when Diamonds keeper Dale Roberts failed to control former Shayman Dean Howell's injudicious square pass and Craig Nelthorpe nipped in to bag his third goal since arriving on loan from Doncaster.

Anthony Griffith was denied by Roberts five minutes later after good work by Jon Shaw and Simon Heslop and Shaw forced another great save from the home keeper as he looked to capitalise on Phil Gulliver's mis-placed 19th-minute header.

Rushden had a couple of great chances just past the midway point of the first half, both of which fell to Rankine.

But he failed to hit the target with a header from Curtis Osano's cross then pulled a shot across the face of goal and wide after Jon Challinor's initial effort had been blocked.

Simon Ainge did well to deny Rankine a run on goal in the 35th minute, and was extremely unlucky to be penalised for handball three minutes before the break.

The Bradford loanee was battling with David Brown when the ball struck him, and the referee decided there had been no infringement.

The linesman on the far side had other ideas and put his flag across his chest to indicate a spot kick which was dispatched by Tom Shaw.

Rankine narrowly failed to connect with a Brown cross early in the second half while Adam Quinn glanced a Tom Kearney corner wide as both sides looked to gain an advantage.

Both Shaws also had chances, Rushden's Tom firing wide from 25 yards and Town's Jon just unable to get the direction he was looking for on a Lewis Killeen cross.

Andy Burgess tried his luck from distance as well for the home side but was also off target.

Darryn Stamp's 80th-minute shot lacked the power to trouble Roberts, but Andy Campbell made no mistake a minute later when he latched onto Kearney's inch perfect through ball.

Campbell raced through, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball over the line before celebrating his first ever away goal for Town with the travelling fans.

Rankine blazed a shot over the bar from a Shaw cross with three minutes remaining and that looked like being the home side's last chance to level.

But when Rankine's long throw from the left bounced around inside the Town area, it was Gulliver who got there first and he forced it home from close range.


Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Osano, Gulliver, Hope, Howell, Burgess, Shaw, Challinor, Kelly (Tomlin 61), Brown (Gooding 82), Rankine. Subs (not used): Bastock, Woodhouse, Corcoran.

Booked: Osano.

Sent-off: None

Goals: Shaw 42 pen, Gulliver 90.

Halifax Town: Legzdins, Harban, Ainge (Stamp 69), Quinn, Doughty, Heslop, Griffith, Kearney, Nelthorpe (Campbell 58), Killeen, Shaw.Subs (not used): Sharpe, Torpey, Gray.

Booked: Quinn, Harban.

Goals: Nelthorpe 3, Campbell 81.

Sent off: None

Attendance: 1,472

Ref: M Bull (Essex).


Town attacked as a team and defended as a team as they looked to bounce back from the disappointment of their exit from the FA Trophy.

And Jon Shaw did both equally impressively.

He would have had a goal in the first half - it would have put the Shaymen two-up - but was denied by a fine save from home keeper Dale Roberts.

And when he was called on to play alongside Adam Quinn at the back, he kept the Rushden strike force quiet.

You get the feeling that Anthony Griffith is still easing himself back into action following his return from a five match suspension.

But he was a dominant figure in midfield and showed what the Shaymen had been missing while he was out of the side.

Skipper Tom Kearney hammered the ball into the Nene Park sky when the final whistle blew, frustrated that Town had conceded a late equaliser.

He had looked back to his best over the 90 minutes and his pass to release Andy Campbell for Town's second goal was magnificent.

Shaw takes the three points on offer in our season-long competition with Griffith two and Kearney one.


Jon Shaw 34, Tom Kearney 20, Simon Heslop 19, Anthony Griffith 17, 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.


Excellent away point-proof yet again that wilder is the best manager in this league and in towns history - the taxman

There comes a time when disappointment gives way to amusement! Anon

Town deserve better - Wilder

Both Shaws also had chances, Rushden’s Tom firing wide from 25 yards and Town’s Jon just unable to get the direction he was looking for on a Lewis Killeen cross.

Andy Burgess tried his