Rushden produced a shock win over Blackpool last night to put the qualification-to-the-next-round-ball firmly in their court. Anything other than victory would have seen the Diamonds eliminated during the first game, so the 4-2 win on penalties was a welcome surprise.
The cup’s unorthodox points system…
- Losing teams receive one point if they lose without scoring, and two if they lose but score.
- There are no draws; if teams are all square at full-time the game goes straight to a penalty shootout to determine the winner.
- Also during the group stage matches, each half lasts 40 minutes, before reverting to the standard 45 minutes for the knockout stages.
… means that, despite their loss Blackpool are still two points clear of Rushden. Rushden only need a win over Barnstaple Town (who play in the 10th tier of English football, and lost their opening game to Blackpool 5-0). A score draw would put RDFC and Blackpool on level points – if the tie-breaker is decided by the head-to-head record between the two sides Rushden would go through. If it is decided by GD, Blackpool would progress. Simple?! Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Below, RDFC and Blackpool take a break from the action last night.
In a keenly contested affair it was Rushden who were using their possession better…The [first] half started with the Diamonds looking far the most committed side, with some excellent closing down of the opponents, close interchanges of passes, and good movement off the ball.
Rushden & Diamonds started the game brightly and forced the Seasiders into giving away a few free-kicks in quick succession. It was clear that the opposition were going to give the team a sterner test than on Monday.
The opposition [Rushden] were continuing to dominate position…
Aaron O’Connor was really causing some problems for the defence with most of the ball remaining in the Seasiders own half.
The Diamonds trip to Devon to play in the Errea South West Challenge started on a high note, as an excellent battling team performance earned them a 1-1 draw against Championship team Blackpool.
The Diamonds work rate and speed of closing down their opponents gave them the edge throughout the game, and the victory was well deserved.
If they do progress to the semis, Rushden will face either Grimsby Town or Yeovil – the winner, in otherwords, of the game between the two sides on the 17th.