AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered their first pre-season defeat on Tuesday evening to Corby Town, falling 1-0 at The Dog and Duck.

Diamonds Manager Andy Peaks made five changes to the side that previously beat Bedford Town on Saturday. Rashid Koriya, Dolman, Confue, Dunkley and Fazel Koriya all returned to the starting XI. Ashton moved into centre half alongside Dolman, allowing Rashid Koriya to slot into left back. Ling and Gearing dropped to the bench which meant starts for Confue and Fazel Koriya. Up front, Dunkley and Turner started together for the first time in pre-season.

In a match of few chances, it was Diamonds who started the brighter. Two minutes in, Dunkley flicked a long ball into the path of Turner but he was adjudged to have fouled his marker. Then just two minutes later, Diamonds had a clear penalty shout turned down. Lamb-Johnson used his trickery down the Diamonds’ right to skip pass his marker and crossed to Fazel Koriya at the back post. As Koriya brought the ball down with his chest, full back Kennedy barged into the back of him to loud appeals from players and supporters. The referee waved away all protests immediately.

Just one minute later, Corby had the ball in the back of the Diamonds’ net, only to see the assistant’s flag raised. Striker Afolabi drove at the Diamonds’ back four for the first time and found winger Monticchio in space, who earnt the Steelmen their first corner. A goal mouth scramble occurred from the resulting corner and the ball ended up in the net, but the offside flag was raised to Diamonds’ relief.

After the first few minutes of action, the game petered out into Corby possession. Diamonds remained disciplined and worked hard by pressing high up the pitch to win the ball back.

On 17 minutes, May picked up the ball for Corby and he whipped in a dangerous cross from the right, but Finlay managed to smother it. The game opened out more and became end to end counter attacking football. A minute later it was Diamonds turn to attack and they were getting most of the joy from the right hand side. Good build up once more by 18-year-old Lamb-Johnson found the head of Dunkley, but he couldn’t get his header on target.

The next notable shot at goal came in the 31st minute. Lamb-Johnson was fouled in the middle of the pitch after darting inside. Henderson floated a diagonal free-kick aiming for Dunkley. His header found strike partner Turner free at the far post, but he could only force a great save from Farrell with his legs. From the resulting corner, Confue’s header was cleared off the line.

As the interval loomed, it was evident that Dunkley and Turner’s link up play had clicked. Harris broke from midfield to find Dunkley, who was once again provider for Turner but his header went over Farrell’s net. Diamonds wouldn’t have wanted the half-time whistle as they were getting on top but just needed that final execution.

Half Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0-0 Corby Town.

After the restart, both teams were trying to get a foot hold in the game and force the issue, resulting in a lot of petty free-kicks.

As Diamonds got more into the second half, Elliot Lamb-Johnson became more influential. On 48 minutes, Henderson over-lapped the winger, who then drove infield and played a neat one-two with Rashid Koriya and unselfishly found striker Turner, however his shot was deflected away for a throw-in.

Unsurprisingly, it would be that Corby scored their goal on the counter attack. On 52 minutes, following a Diamonds break, left-back Hartley played a sublime cross-field pass to the pacey Harry May. His early floated cross found Wright and he successfully converted a header into the top corner. 

Then just a minute later, Ashton’s miss-control allowed Wright to steal possession from him and to burst through on goal. But Dolman was on hand to save Ashton’s blushes.

As the substitutions started to take place, the game failed to fall into any sort of rhythm. Diamonds became inpatient with the stubborn Corby defence and resulted to two long shots from fullbacks Rashid Koriya and Henderson.

Diamonds kept pressing and knocking on the door of the Town defence but were unable to force their way through. They almost did so 22 minutes into the second half. Henderson’s cross was put behind for a corner by Anton. Then Lamb-Johnson’s inswinging corner looked to be creeping into the near post, however it was cleared onto the post from a defender and behind for another. 

When Fazel Koriya moved up front alongside Lorraine, in place of Turner and Dunkley, suddenly Diamonds had a new dimension. Koriya’s pace troubled the defence and this almost allowed Koriya chances at goal. But there wasn’t any substantial attacks that would force the Corby stopper into saves.

However it wasn’t to be. Andy Peaks will be certainly impressed with the way his team hassled and closed down the opponents, however the final ball and finishing still needs some pre-season training.

 

Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Corby Town 1

 

Diamonds Man of the Match: Joe Henderson

 

Attendance: 278

Match Report by Hayden Pott

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Corby Town

17. Matt Finlay

2. Joe Henderson

3. Rashid Koriya

4. Brad Harris

5. Liam Dolam (c)

6. Jack Ashton

7. Elliot Lamb-Johnson

8. Adam Confue

9. Russ Dunkley

10. Jason Turner

11. Fazel Koriya

Subs

12. Mark Hewitt (Ashton 70)

13. Rhys Redding GK

14. Richard Bunting (Harris 70)

15. Sean McBride (Confue 70)

16. Tom Lorraine (Turner 59)

18. Greg Ling (Lamb- Johnson 76)

19. Arron Parkinson (Dolman 59)

20. Matt Gearing (Dunkley 76)

1. Dan Farrell

2. Connor Kennedy (c)

3. Curtis Hartley

4. Tom Haynes

5. Jamie Anton

6. Sebastion Dziosa

7. Harry May

8. Liam McInally

9. Bidemi Afolabi

10. Tommy Wright

11. Michael Monticchio

Subs

12. Elliot Bowtley (Kennedy 63)

13. David Clarke GK

14. Dino Tuksar (Haynes 75)

15. Jordan Crawford (Monticchio 63)

16. Victor Kemjika (Afolabi 63)

17. Jordan Neil (Dziosa 82)

18. Eric Yeboah (May 75)

Goals: None

Goals: Wright (52)

Yellow Cards: None

Yellow Cards: None

 
 
Match Gallery courtesy of Malcolm Swinden Photography (click on the link to access the Diamonds Photo Gallery for more images from this game and ecommerce options). Copyright Mal Swinden ©2014

 

 
 
 

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