After picking up their first point of 2011 against Histon on Saturday, Eastbourne Borough were brought back down to earth at Nene Park on Tuesday night.
A goal mid-way through the first half and another shortly before full time was enough to hand the hosts three points and condemn Boro’ to their 19th league match without a win.
It keeps Garry Wilson’s men rooted to the foot of the Blue Square Bet Premier, eight points from safety.
Wilson said, “I thought we battled well, we put in a really determined performance, general play was quite good at times, but we conceded a sloppy goal in the first half.
“I spoke to (Rushden manager) Justin Edinburgh afterwards, he felt we passed the ball better than them and that there wasn’t much between the teams.
“There was definitely that spirit there, we kept fighting until the last minute.”
There is no doubting the Boro’ team’s effort, but once again individual mistakes and an inability to get the ball in the net led to another frustrating night for the travelling supporters.
Eddie Hutchinson, Ethan Strevett and George Purcell were restored to the starting line-up, with Matt Crabb and Gary Elphick on the bench, and the re-organised XI pushed forward in the opening stages, but were unable to cash in on their enterprising approach work.
Then, as in so many previous outings, the side found itself a goal down after a brief, but damaging, loss of concentration.
Hutchinson failed to reach a long clearance from home ‘keeper Joe Day - the ball bounced over his head and Paris Cowan-Hall pounced to control on his chest before lobbing over the advancing Tommy Forecast, to hand Diamonds a 23rd-minute lead.
Boro’ hit back swiftly, carving out two good opportunities, with Strevett shooting straight at Day, and a Ben Austin header forcing the goalkeeper to make a scrambling save. Richard Pacquette also went close, when he turned and controlled in one movement before shooting wide of the far post.
Boro’ were dealt another blow before the break, when Steve Brinkhurst, who had impressed fleetingly against Histon three days earlier, was forced off through injury, to be replaced by Jamie Taylor.
After the interval Wilson’s men matched Diamonds’ endeavour, but too often potentially good moves were spoilt by over-hit final balls.
And the Northamptonshire side increased the lead in the 89th minute when the Sports defenders failed to clear a corner and Eddie Oshodi bundled the ball over the line.
Boro’s was a good, lively performance but one marred by defensive lapses which, now more than ever, they can ill afford.
Rushden & Diamonds: Joe Day, Osano, Oshodi, Huke, Jamie Day, Porter, Mills, Power (Johnson 68), Cowan-Hall, Gash (Farrell 81), O’Connor.
Subs Not Used: Evans, Miller, Corcoran. Booked: Cowan-Hall, Porter, Osano.
Eastbourne Borough: Forecast 6, Baker 6, Jenkins 7, Austin 8, Strevett 6, Smart 5, Hutchinson 6, Johnson 5 (M Crabb sub 73, 5), Brinkhurst 5 (Taylor sub 34, 6), Purcell 6, Pacquette 7. Subs Not Used: Banks, Elphick, Demetriou.
MOM: Austin Att: 905
Referee: Stephen Ross (Lincs)