Rushden & D 5 Shrewsbury 1

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Rushden & Diamonds gained an emphatic win over Shrewsbury to maintain their challenge at the top of Division Three.

It was the visitors however who started the better of the two sides and on four minutes Ian Woan's free-kick caused problems for Rushden, but they managed to scramble the ball clear.

Rushden took the lead in the ninth minute when Ian Dunbavin failed to reach David Bell’s corner and Duane Darby headed home from three yards out.

On 24 minutes Rusden had a goal disallowed when Darby was adjudged to have pulled Peter Wilding before lobbing the ball over Dunbavin.

Rushden increased their lead in the 40th minute when Stuart Wardley fed Darby and the striker raced on to beat Dunbavin from six yards out.

Rushden went further ahead in the 41st minute when Onandi Lowe clashed with Dunbavin and the ball rebounded to Stuart Gray who lashed the ball in from just inside the penalty box.

Rushden striker Darby was replaced at half-time by Robert Duffy after suffering a suspected broken nose.

On 46 minutes Shrewsbury reduced the arrears when Billy Turley failed to hold Ryan Lowe's shot and Luke Rodgers followed up to shoot into the empty net.

In the 61st minute Rushden increased their lead when Lowe powered home Bell’s corner, but soon after sub Duffy received his marching orders for a second bookable offence after a clash with Dunbavin.

The ten men of Rushden increased their lead when on 70 minutes skipper Paul Underwood made a fine run down the left and crossed to the unmarked Paul Hall to score from close range.

Shrewsbury battled hard and in the 84th minute Turley made a fine save to deny Rodgers, tipping his shot on to the bar and Rodgers was unlucky in the 90th minute when he saw his fierce shot hit the post with Turley helpless.