AFC Rushden & Diamonds slipped out of the Les Underwood NFA Junior Cup when they went down 3-1 to Wellingborough Whitworth after extra time in the at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon.
The Flourmen took an early lead through Matt Judge, and just when it looked like that would remain as the final score, Jake Gillingwater scored a dramatic late equaliser with an overhead kick that went in-off the post in the first minute of added time. A spectacular goal from Dan Thompson restored the visitors’ lead during extra time, and with a Diamonds penalty claim turned down, and an apparently good goal from Sam Brown ruled out due to offside, the Flourmen sealed the result with seconds left – only for their striker Judge to be sent off for dropping his shorts in front of the Diamonds fans.
Mark Starmer made eight changes to the team that started at Sergeants Lawn last weekend, and included U18 players Liam Bond and Alex McDonald in the starting line-up for their first taste of playing at senior level, with youngster Noah Bryant on the bench.
With such an unfamiliar line-up it was perhaps no surprise that they would take a while to settle, and a poor clearance from Foulger allowed the visitors to take the lead when Carvell Jarvis picked up the loose ball to set up Matt Judge to net after just 4 minutes.
As the Diamonds players sorted things out the match turned into a fairly even game, with neither keeper tested for long periods, although the visitors did have two short bursts of attacking play that saw Foulger make a series of smart saves including an excellent one from Hazell. The Diamonds crossbar was also grazed by a deflected cross that flicked off Liam Bond before the break.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Wellingborough Whitworth 1
In the second period there was a similar pattern for the first 15 minutes before the introduction of Joe Merrill gave the Diamonds new impetus, with a low diving header from Wisniewski testing keeper Foulser, before his counterpart Ashley Foulger saved well from Spraughton at the other end.
The Diamonds youngsters had been acquitting themselves well at this level, and it was a good run from Alex McDonald that was halted by a foul that led to Jake Gillingwater hitting the bar from the resultant free kick. Louis Smith then saw a shot pushed wide by the keeper and an attempted follow-up overhead kick by Jake Gillingwater was penalised. Ben Morgan then had his best moment of the game with a run down the left, leaving a defender in his wake before seeing his cross headed wide of goal.
The Diamonds were dominant at this point, but it looked like they had perhaps left it too late to equalise until a ball into the box was headed down by Chris Hope for Jake Gillingwater to flick over his head an in-off the post for the equaliser with one minute of added time played.
After 90 minutes: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Wellingborough Whitworth 1
After the Diamonds had dominated the final few minutes of the game it looked like they might keep up the pressure in extra-time, but a spectacular shot from visitors’ substitute Dan Thompson from just outside the right corner of the area gave Foulger no chance to restore their lead.
Adam Sharpe went close to increasing the lead after a cross went over the head of Jamie O’Grady, but at the other end Jack Wisniewski saw an effort cleared off the line, and Ben Morgan managed to beat keeper Foulser to the ball and slide it past him, only for a covering defender to get the ball clear. As well as a penalty claim in this period the Diamonds saw a goal disallowed when Sam Brown worked a smart 1-2 and fired the ball home, but he was adjudged offside.
The Diamonds now had Hope, Brown and Merrill all pushed forwards, and so it was no surprise to see the visitors hit Diamonds on the break as Judge squared for Bradshaw to slot home, although as Judge celebrated in front of the Diamonds’ fans the celebrations went too far as he received a straight red card for dropping his shorts. Wellingborough Whitworth FC have subsequently released a statement regarding this incident.
Full-Time (AET): AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Wellingborough Whitworth 3
The Diamonds can now prepare for their trip to Rushden to face Rushden & Higham United in the league next weekend. See here for a preview of that game, including important details of car parking arrangements.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match chosen by Match Sponsor Paul Judd: Jack Wisniewski
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Ashley Foulger
2. Jamie O’Grady
3. Liam Bond
4. Jamie Gilsenan
5.Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Jake Gillingwater
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Louis Smith
9. Ben Morgan
10. Peter Okechuckwu
11. Alex McDonald
12. Séan McBride
13. Quincy Shorunmu
14. Sam Brown (for Smith 105)
15. Noah Bryant (for Bond 80)
16. Joe Merrill (for Okechukwu 57)
1. Samuel Fousler
2. David Coales
3. Paul Smith
4. Matthew Harris
5. James Gorman
6. Dan Sproughton (Capt)
7. Luke Raftery
8. Dan Bendon
9. Carvell Jarvis
10. Matthew Judge
11. Jonny Hazell
12. Ashley Bradshaw (for Raftery 98)
14. Adam Sharpe (for Hazell 80)
15. Lee Purser
16. Dan Thompson (for Jarvis 71)
17. John Aldridge
Goal: Gillingwater (90+1)
Goals: Judge (4), Thompson (95), Bradshaw (120)
Yellow Cards : Gillingwater (72), Alex McDonald (90+3), Merrill (110)
Yellow Cards : Coales (73), Bendon (112), Judge (116)
Red Card: Judge (120)
Referee: Scott Millar
Click here for match highlights
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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