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Page last updated at 21:21 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 22:21 UK

Rushden & Diamonds 1-1 Oxford Utd


Highlights - Rushden 1-1 Oxford United

Rushden & Diamonds came from behind to snatch a draw with Oxford at Nene Park in the first leg of their Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final.

Oxford went ahead midway through the first half when James Constable volleyed home from 12 yards.

Mark Byrne collected Paul Terry's pass and fired high into the net shortly after half-time to level things up.

Constable nearly won it for Oxford late on, but he could only head Anthony Tonkin's free-kick over the bar.

Byrne went close to opening the scoring early on but was denied by visiting goalkeeper Ryan Clarke, while Oxford's Jack Midson missed the target with an ambitious overhead kick.

The hosts then went close through Craig Farrell's header, but soon after that they were behind through Constable's 24th goal of the season.

Aaron O'Connor could have equalised within two minutes, but he headed over from Byrne's cross.

O'Connor spurned a further opportunity immediately after the interval, but Rushden did get back on level terms in the 51st minute when Byrne, fed by Terry, thumped a powerful shot past Clarke.

Diamonds substitute Jefferson Louis forced Clarke into a reflex stop from a header and Constable missed the target late on to ensure the two teams go into Monday's second leg at the Kassam Stadium on level terms.

Rushden manager Justin Edinburgh told BBC Radio Northampton:
"It was everything I thought the game would be - fast, competitive and end-to-end.

"They started very brightly, pinned us back and were in the control of the game in the first half.

"I had some harsh words at half-time and I thought we got a grip and certainly had more than the lion's share of possession.

"Overall we were worthy of a draw."

Rushden: Roberts, Osano, Downer (Huke 89), Stuart, Robinson, Porter, Terry, Byrne, O'Connor, Farrell (Louis 60), Tomlin (Akurang 74).
Subs not used: Day, Pattison.

Bookings: Downer, Terry, Tomlin.

Goals: Byrne 51.

Oxford: Clarke, Batt, Creighton, Wright, Tonkin, Chapman, Bulman, Clist, Green (Potter 67), Constable, Midson (Sandwith 90).
Subs not used: Turley, Day, Deering.

Goals: Constable 29.

Att: 4,535.

Ref: David Coote.

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see also
Robinson not worried by U's duo
29 Apr 10 |  Rushden & Diamonds
Ex-League quartet chase return
27 Apr 10 |  Non League

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