Rushden play Forest Green Rovers on Saturday with the league, for both teams, ultimately over. Despite being play-off contenders for a large part of the season, FGR have fallen away from the pack of late, and are currently 7 points off 5th. Rushden will be looking to end an un-victorious run now extending to 6 games.
A crowd of over 2000 (just under half of which sat in the away end) watched Rushden fall at the hands of Cambridge. A Micael Rankine goal was not enough to earn any points as United went away 2-1 winners thanks to a Bessley double. Wayne Hatswell received a warm reception, while fellow ex-Diamond Mark Albrington also enjyoed his trip to NP.
(Below: Cambridge fans queue up pre-game)
(Above: the large crowd of Cambridge fans, a total of 1176 heads that came within a half-dozen of outnumbering the home support)
“I thought Woodhouse, Shaw, Howell, and especially Tomlin had good games last night.”
“Cambridge were nothing special last night”
“Last night the difference between us and Cambridge were that we had a few spectators on the pitch”
“We played some good football at times, though not as good as some games we’ve had recently. We gave the ball away too cheaply, and didn’t keep possession, and also our final finishing wasn’t quite there again. We often attack way too slowly, giving defences time to regroup. “
“I thought we maybe deserved a draw, but their finishing was more clinical.”
(Above: Another ex-Diamond, Daniel Chillingworth, talks to one of our current crop, El Kholti)
A Lee Tomlin strike that would have evened the scores was questionably dissalowed, soon after Tomlin had set up a Michael Rankine strike, similar to last Thursday’s equaliser.
(Above: “You’ll never beat the Hatswell”, sings the PDB and, below, Hatswell leaves the field at full-time)
Sam Smith was brought on for his debut with not long remaining.
(Above: Cambridge fans applaud their fans at full-time)
(Above: the players warm down)
Rushden slipped down to 16th given the result, a point (but with two games in hand) behind 15th placed Crawley. A top-half finish now seems unlikely, with 11 points the gap.
Cambridge are now 5 points ahead of 6th place, and their play-off finish seems certain.
While the result in itself was dissapointing, there were much sadder scenes in Staffordshire and the Greater London area, as both Stafford and Droylsden were relegated last night. For Droylsden, who have lost just twice in 7 games, it is an unlucky affair as, despite winning last night, they went down. The two teams they would have to catch, Alty and Weymouth, are due to play each other and, thus, relegation is ensured.