Rushden & Diamonds 0 Aldershot Town 1
Aldershot started well and on four minutes John Grant had a fierce shot comfortably saved by Scott Tynan. In the seventh minute Tynan was again called into action, making a fine save to deny Ryan Williams, who stole in from the left.
A minute later, Rushden almost went ahead when Paul Watson crossed from the left, finding skipper Chris Hope, whose strong header was inches wide.
On 17 minutes, Simeon Jackson was put through by Tyrone Berry, but Shots keeper Nikki Bull made a fine save and although the ball rebounded to Jackson, his weak shot was easily saved by the recovering Bull.
On 20 minutes, Aldershot's Ricky Newman made a strong run through the heart of the Rusden defence, but his fine ball to Grant was wasted by the striker's lack of control.
With both sides in bad form recently, the game lacked cohesion and they found it hard to create clear-cut chances.
On 35 minutes Aldershot put together a fine move down the left, but Tynan managed to cut out Mark Molesey's dangerous cross. Aldershot veteran defender Darren Barnard received a booking in the 39th minute for pulling back Berry, after the winger had raced passed him.
On the stroke of half-time Molesey shot well over from 20 yards out.
Rushden created the first chance of the second half when Lee Tomlin picked the ball up just inside his own half and outpaced the Aldershot defenders, but his strong shot went inches wide of the left-hand post.
On 56 minutes, Aldershot created a good opening which ended with Ben Harding shooting just over and three minutes later Rushden's Marcus Kelly prevented the visitors from going ahead when he cleared off the line from skipper Barnard.
Aldershot's Molesey, who was dangerous throughout the second half, made a fine run down the left, beating two defenders before shooting inches wide.
On 66 minutes, Jackson again picked the ball up inside his own half and raced clear and then saw his shot fly inches wide.
A minute later, Rushden substitute Michael Rankine hit a tremendous shot from 30 yards out which flew just wide with Bull helpless.
On 70 minutes, Berry was put through and was clear on goal, but the winger shot wide from just eight yards out when it looked easier to score. Chances were coming thick and fast and Molseley wasted a good chance shooting over although he came under severe pressure from Rushden full-back Glenn Wilson.
Rushden were pressing hard to grab a winner, but the Aldershot defence held firm, although they had a scare in the 80th minute when Newman almost put through his own goal, slicing his clearance into the side-netting following a cross from Berry.
Two minutes later Berry was again in the thick of the action when he was inches wide with his shot from the edge of the box.
The game looked as though it would end in stalemate, which would probably have been a fairer result on the reflection of the match, but Rushden's hopes were dashed in the 88th minute when they failed to clear their lines after an unfortunate clearance by Marcus Kelly and Williams picked the ball up on the left flank and crossed perfectly for Grant to fiercely volley home from six yards out.
Rushden carried on pressing to grab what would have been probably a deserved equaliser and they had strong appeals for a penalty turned down in injury time when Jackson appeared to be upended in the box.