A first half injury time goal was enough for AFC Rushden & Diamonds to return home with the points as the 9 match unbeaten for Cambridge City came to an end.
City boss Robbie Nightingale was unable to name top scorer Ryan Sharman in the starting line-up. The striker had not recovered from a knock that he received against Northwood in midweek. Sam Squire was in the starting line-up with fellow Cambridge United loanee, Stevan Shaw starting on the bench.
On a warm afternoon, the home side got off to a steady start and Jordan Gent did well to meet a cross but his header which went across goal didnt pick out a City shirt. Rushden then responded as Luke Fairlamb picked out Spencer Weir-Daley but his effort went wide of the target.
The lively Ebby Nelson-Addy then found his way into the area, and appeared to be bundled to the floor, but the referee waved away the penalty appeals from the home side.
The match was developing into a really tight encounter but the home side had a major let off in the next move of the game when Ryan Robbins hit a long range effort which was fumbled by Josh Bexon. With Spencer Weir-Daley about to capitalise on the error, the assistant referee spotted an offside.
City were then forced into a change with Ben Seymour-Shove replacing the injured Salim Relizani.
The home side then went close with a corner, but as the first half entered stoppage time, the visitors took the lead. A long range effort from Weir-Daley bounced out of the arms of Bexon and Joel Gyasi was on hand to fire home.
City boss Robbie Nightingale had to make a further change at half time with right back Ben Robinson not fit to continue and Stevan Shaw being introduced. However, it was the visitors who went close in the early stages of the second half when Gyasi hit an effort from distance wide of the target. Then, Fairlamb was unlucky to see his effort hit the side netting.
The Lilywhites were trying desperately to find their rhythm and get back into the game, but the visitors defence which was being expertly marshalled by skipper Liam Dolman were proving to be a tough nut to crack.
Jack Vasey was introduced in place of Nathan Olukanmi, but it was the visitors who always looked like they would increase their lead. This almost came when the two substitutes, Tom Lorraine and Ben Diamond combined well, with the latter hitting a fine curling effort that drew an equally good save from Bexon.
City battled to the end as they tried to replicate their last gasp point at Dunstable last weekend, but this time the Lilywhites fell short and it was Rushden who took the points knowing that they are now just one victory away from securing automatic promotion.
The Lilywhites now enter the final week of the season with games against Barton, Chalfont and Moneyfields and will be looking to win all 3 in their quest to obtain home advantage in what increasingly looks like an end of season play-off spot.
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