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Posted on 1 August 2007  - 12:00

Rushden and Diamonds handed our Spurs XI exactly the test Clive Allen expected on Tuesday night.

Rushden and Diamonds handed our Spurs XI exactly the test Clive Allen expected on Tuesday night.

Development coach Clive predicted that the Blue Square Premier (Conference) side would prove stiff opposition for a Spurs XI team with a blend of youth and experience, including Danny Murphy and Teemu Tainio making his first start of pre-season.

Diamonds did more than that - they ran out 3-2 winners in front of almost 3,000 fans at Nene Park, hanging on in our best spell either side of the break and recovering from going 2-1 down to win 3-2.

Curtis Osano capped a bright start from the home side with the opener on 19 minutes only for Lee Barnard to crack home a magnificent volley just before the break.

The same player doubled his tally to hand us the lead a minute into the second half and it looked like we were taking control as home keeper Paul Bastock saved well from Andy Barcham and Jamie O'Hara.

However, Diamonds turned it around with two goals in three minutes from Lee Tomlin and Jon Challinor and held onto that advantage. The nearest we came to an equaliser was when Barnard was denied a hat-trick by a linesman's flag, a very close call.

"It was certainly a step up from the teams we've faced this pre-season," reflected Clive at Nene Park.

"We've played against a Conference side who are building for a big season and it was a level that tested the lads.

"There were spells where we showed our quality but there were other parts of the game that were a bit of a wake-up call and we were disappointed with the nature of the goals we conceded.

"I think the lads probably felt it was game over when we scored the second goal but there are situations in games where you can get a shock and that's what happened.

"The feeling of losing any game isn't good, the lads certainly don't enjoy it and we'll look at the negatives and put them right. In terms of a work out, it was ideal at this stage."