AFC Rushden & Diamonds ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in the derby day Bank Holiday fixture against Bedford Town this afternoon. Dan Quigley struck in the 21st minute for his second in two games, and Scott Joseph turned in Tommy Berwick’s cross in the 47th minute as Diamonds put in probably their best performance of the season particularly in the second half to go finish their first month of Southern League Central football second in the table.

Manager Andy Peaks made 4 changes to the side that earned a hard fought win at Kings Langley on Saturday afternoon. Liam Dolman came into the back four at the expense of Ollie Wilkinson with Delroy Gordon moving to right back, Claudio Hoban returned out wide, Courtney Herbert reclaimed his starting place at the expense of Steve Spriggs and Scott Joseph got his first start of the season with Tom Lorraine rested.

Diamonds started brightly on a slick surface with Claudio Hoban and Courtney Herbert running at the Bedford defence and Hoban nearly earned a penalty in just the third minute. Jinking each way on the edge of the box he was brought down for what looked a potential penalty but the free-kick was given right on the edge of the box. Referee Andrew Humphries had a further part to play in the resulting free-kick getting right in Richard Buntings way as he was about to unleash his effort when placed in space by Scott Joseph.

The game settled into a steady pattern with Diamonds probing going forward and putting in challenges and tackles when Bedford were in possession that proved they were definitely not suffering the effects of 2 games in 3 days in these early stages

Diamonds had a series of close efforts around the 15 minute mark which energised the crowd. First a quick ball from midfield into Tommy Berwick saw the striker test his defender and then hit a clever ball to the far post which Scott Joseph nearly turned in.

2 minutes later a brilliant 35 yard free-kick from the ever dangerous Claudio Hoban was just tipped over by Grant Beckwith in the Bedford goal.

From the resultant corner taken short Hoban fired in an exocet from an angle which Beckwith touched round the post, and from the next corner Dolman had two efforts from close range repelled before Berwick fired wide from the edge of the box.

The pressure told on 21 as Dan Quigley notched his second goal in two games. A Sam Brown long throw was fired at goal but spilled by the hard working Beckwith and Dan Quigley challenged him on the ground and eventually poked the ball home as the keeper couldn’t gather.

Bedford rallied with some probes forward but were restricted to a couple of dangerous free-kicks cleared by the Diamonds back-four and a corner that produced a short on the turn that was well blocked.

The final 5 minutes of the half produced another flurry of chances with Hoban running from the centre circle right into the box eventually crossing as he fell to Scott Joseph who hooked his volley just over the bar. Tommy Berwick then repeated the dangerous run into the left side of the box only to see his flicked finish blocked by a last ditch defensive challenge, and then Hoban again fired in a skiddy daisy cutter of a shot that Beckwith touched round the post at full stretch.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 – Bedford Town 0

Diamonds had been pressing hard for a deserved 2nd at the end of the first half and started the 2nd half in perfect fashion. Just 2 minutes in Liam Dolman hit a superb long ball to put Tommy Berwick away down the right, he surged past his defender and crossed for Scott Joseph to direct the ball firmly past Beckwith from 8 yards to double Diamonds lead.

After Elliott Lamb-Johnson replaced Courtney Herbert who looked to be struggling they almost put the game to bed in the next few minutes with some scintillating play. First Claudio Hoban fed Lamb-Johnson after a great run, the young winger cutting inside and firing straight at the keeper from 20 yards.

Next Tommy Berwick got away again down the left, cut inside and hit a curling effort against the far post, with Richard Bunting firing the follow-up also against the same post. And then in a repeat of the move which brought the second Berwick got away down the right and fired in a low cross that just evaded Scott Joseph on the far post.

Scott Joseph was really enjoying his first start and went for a spectacular volley after great work from Elliott Lamb-Johnson saw him with a hanging volley on the edge of the box but it ballooned well over. And with Tommy Berwick also on great form they were terrorising the Bedford back four, Berwick only denied by keeper Beckwith and full-back Lincoln deep in the area.

Bedford manager Dan Kennoy made three changes in the 61st minute to try and improve his sides’ retention of possession and young winger Dillon Gittens did threaten down the left only to see his low effort held by Matt Finlay.

But Diamonds continued to dominate with Elliot Lamb-Johnson giving the Bedford defence a torrid time. He fed in Tommy Berwick at the end of a great run with the striker seeing his shot deflected wide and he really should have scored himself on 80 minutes firing wide from 18 yards when put in space after a half-cleared corner.

Tom Lorraine who had joined the fray on 71 showed his skill and pace in the last minute to first beat his defender out wide then surge into the box and under pressure just fire into the side netting.

There was still time for Elliott Lamb-Johnson to turn his full-back inside out and fire onto the left-hand post as the Peter De Banke acknowledged the young wingers impact on Diamonds second half display.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 – Bedford Town 0

This was probably Diamonds best performance of the season, particularly the second half when they played some scintillating stuff and really should have run out more comfortable winners. All the forward players were a real danger especially Scott Joseph and Tommy Berwick and including Elliot Lamb-Johnson and Tom Lorraine coming off the bench. The changed defence was a solid as ever, and they completed their first month of Southern League action unbeaten with 3 wins and 3 draws to sit firmly in the play-off places.

Next up for Diamonds is a trip to North Greenford United who sit in the relegation zone and lost today’s scheduled away game at fellow strugglers Hanwell Town to the weather. All eyes will be on the FA Cup replay Tuesday night between Step 5 sides AFC Hayes and Bedfont & Feltham, the winners hosting Diamonds in the 1st Qualifying Round on September 12th.

Man of the Match: Scott Joseph

Attendance: 545

Match Report by Paul Judd

 

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Bedford Town

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Delroy Gordon

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Dan Quigley

7.   Courtney Herbert

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Scott Joseph

10. Tommy Berwick

11. Claudio Hoban

Subs

12.  Ollie Wilkinson

13.  Rhys Redding

14.  Elliott Lamb-Johnson (for Herbert 49)

15.  Brad Harris (for Berwick 79)

16.  Tom Lorraine (for Joseph 71)

1.   Grant Beckwith

2.   Jack Jones

3.   Kyle Lincoln

4.   Tommy Hull

5.   Peter Gatti

6.   Dan Crowie

7.   Mat Clifford

8.   James Peters

9.   Joel Mason

10. Joel Norris

11. Ricky Case

Subs

12. Dillon Gittens (for Clifford 61))

14. Luke Rowland

15. Josh Bamford

16. Christian Lester (for Case 61)

17. Stefan Powell (for Peters 61)

Goals: Quigley (21), Joseph (47)

Goals:

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards: Gatti (54) Hull (65)

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee:  Andrew Humphries

Assistants: Sam Anderson, Gavin McFarlane

 

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