Clinical finishing by Desborough striker Michael Byrne with two second half headed goals gave Desborough Town a 2-1 victory over AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening. The Diamonds had taken a first-half lead when Alfie Taylor slotted home his 50th goal for the club, but although they had the better of play in the first period they could not extend their lead and were made to pay for their missed chances.

Diamonds manager Mark Starmer was still unable to bring Russ Dunkley back into his starting XI, and with Séan McBride also still unavailable, he named a similar line-up to the team that had lost to Deeping Rangers a week previously. Joe Henderson lined up at centre back, with Brad Harris partnering Richard Bunting in central midfield.

The Diamonds started the game brightly, with Desborough struggling to get out of their own half in the first ten minutes. Early chances fell to Brad Harris and Alfie Taylor, with Fazel Koriya threading a pass to Taylor to run clear on goal but keeper Lavin was able to gather the ball. Koriya and Richard Bunting both left a low cross to each other, and Greg Ling forced a good save from Lavin as he shot from a narrow angle before the Diamonds finally took the lead. Fazel Koriya broke down the left flank and threaded a pass into the path of Alfie Taylor who coolly slotted home his 50th goal for the club after 33 minutes.

Although the visitors produced little in the first half the Diamonds defence did make a couple of mistakes that could have been punished.

Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Desborough Town 0

The visitors made several changes early in the second period, and after early chances for Henderson and Ling the game became rather a stalemate with misplaced passes from both sides. The Diamonds were unable to win anything played in the air into the opposition box, and their earlier threat down the flanks had diminished.

After 66 minutes the visitors scored an equaliser when an early ball from Redding saw Michael Byrne make space to get a header that went in-off the left-hand post with Finlay stranded.

The goal inspired the visitors, and Byrne went close with a shot from the right that just missed going into the top right-hand corner of goal. After Alfie Taylor had missed a chance at the other end Michael Byrne scored the winner, which came in similar fashion to his first. This time it was Ben Sunderland who got in the early cross from the right, and again Byrne’s header left Finlay helpless with 84 minutes gone.

The Diamonds produced little in reply, and the visitors might have extended their lead when Luke Cummins broke clear but his effort was saved by Finlay.

Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Desborough Town 2

Attendance: 331

Diamonds Man of the Match chosen by Radio Diamonds: Alfie Taylor

The Diamonds host Wisbech Town on Saturday.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Desborough Town

17. Matt Finlay

2. Joe Merrill

3. Sam Brown

4. Brad Harris

5. Joe Henderson

6. Arron Parkinson (c)

7. Matt Gearing

8. Richard Bunting

9. Alfie Taylor

10. Fazel Koriya

11. Greg Ling



12. Jake Gillingwater (for Merrill 67)

13. Adam Whybrow (GK)

14. Noah Bryant

15. Ben Morgan (for Parkinson 79)

16. Russ Dunkley

1. Richard Lavin

2. Aidan Bradshaw

3. David Glass (c)

4. Ben Sunderland

5. Michael Keall

6. Connor Kennedy

7. Mark Redding

8. Luke Cummins

9. Michael Byrne

10. Danny Wells

11. Will Arnold



12. Shaun Goodall (for Arnold 61)

14. Dan Grainger (for Wells H/T)

15. Liam Boath (for Keall 50)

16. Jordan Crawford

Goals: Taylor (33)

Goals: Byrne (66,84)

Yellow Cards: None

Yellow Cards: Glass

Referee: Mark Wardell

Assistants: Terry Whenham & Simon Trusler


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