Diamonds were edged out by local rivals on a hot and sunny Easter Monday at Hayden Road.

Rushden started the brighter as they pressed and harried their opponents high up the pitch, and this led to a really quick and energetic opening period. Moments after a Sam Brown long-throw bounced just up and over the bar, Jack Bowen almost got in behind the away defence only to be foiled by the keeper. Dan Holman responded for Kettering with a hooked effort that was easily held, and then Aaron O’Connor appeared to be released theough on goal only for the offside flag to be raised. The best chance of the half came in the 16th minute when a long ball over the top by Heath caused confusion between the Kettering keeper and defence, and Bowen nipped in to flick it over the keeper. It ran towards goal but came back off the post, and Bowen then collected the rebound before firing a low effort towards the near-post that was well tipped behind. Jack Ashton rose highest to meet the resultant corner, but his free header was powered wide of the target. Tom Lorraine, who had been announced as the Supporters Player of the Season  before kick-off, threatened moments later when he sprinted past one challenge and round another, but his effort flashed well over. The play then settled down after a swift start, and it appeared the game would be deadlocked heading into the interval. However, Kettering took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Full-back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner got down the left after a neat backheel by O’Connor, and he played a ball across that was blocked away. It broke again to the defender though, and he poked a shot past Heath and into the far corner of the net.

The second half was a quieter affair, with the visitors managing the game well and threatening on the counter-attack. Diamonds did press though, and within three minutes of the restart Bowen unleashed an effort from long-range that the keeper managed to parry away. Chances were then shared as firstly O’Connor broke down the left before cutting inside and hitting a shot that was straight at Heath, and Rushden responded with a Reynolds cross that Bowen rose highest to meet. However, his header was straight at the keeper. Ben Diamond was introduced for the industrious Joe Curtis, and a short time later Sam Johnson and Ben Acquaye were also brought on. Kettering did well to limit the threat though, and they threatened to kill the game when Lindon Meikle had a shot blocked and Rhys Hoenes glanced an inviting right-wing delivery wide. Diamonds almost had a leveller when Acquaye was released down the left before his shot towards the near-post was parried away, but Kettering then swept down the other end for Brett Solkhon to strike a powerful effort goalwards that Heath tipped over. Heath made another good save just before the end from Dion Kelly-Evans and, though Liam Dolman had an acrobatic effort saved and despite some late pressure, Kettering held out for the win.

Full Match Report to follow

Diamonds Man of the Match: Zack Reynolds

Attendance: 1165

 
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.
 
Match Gallery courtesy of Matt Hawkins. Copyright HawkinsImages ©2019
 
 
 

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