AFC Rushden & Diamonds finally overwhelmed hard working North Greenford United at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon with an 8-1 victory that sent them back to the top of the Southern League Central Division table.

Diamonds dominated the early stages and came close 3 times in the first 10 minutes through impressive debutant Jon Stevenson twice, Andy Hall and Shawn Richards who had a shot cleared off the line. It was Richards who would open the scoring on 27 after North Greenford had had their best spell of the game. His superb 25 yard free-kick beating keeper Josh Kensit low at the near post. Andy Hall then netted his second Diamonds goal on 35 with a brilliant dinked finish after a 1-2 with Tom Lorraine, before Lorraine added the third stabbing home Liam Dolman’s flicked header from a Shawn Richards free-kick.

Tom Lorraine really should have added a 4th just 2 minutes into the second half somehow screwing wide a loose ball with the goal at his mercy and it was Lorraine who was aggressively felled by Jessy Yoboue on 57 that lead to a sending off for the North Greenford Captain and bookings for Andy Hall and Connor Kennedy for their part in the aftermath. Hall added his second and Diamonds 4th on 65 with a neat low finish as a left wing cross-shot broke to him 15 yards out. Jon Stevenson then added Diamonds 5th on 76 and a deserved debut goal finishing off a great run with a low finish across Kensit. Hall completed his hat-trick on 83 seizing on another loose ball 10 yards out to fire home. Liam Dolman then got in on the action on 87 with a towering header from a Claudius Hoban cross, before a spirited North Greenford side got a goal they probably deserved through Sandra Costa nipping between Matt Finlay and a retreating defender to collect and turn the ball home. Diamonds would have the last word though as Lewis Leslie impressive as a second half substitute finished off after the ball had pinged around the North Greenford penalty area in the 93rd minute.

 

Manager Andy Peaks brought new signing Jon Stevenson straight into the side alongside Tom Lorraine up front with Tommy Berwick dropping to the bench. Claudiu Hoban also dropped to the bench for the return of Andy Hall. Connor Kennedy continued as Sam Brown’s replacement at right back before his suspension for the sending off at Northwood kicks in.

Diamonds started brightly on a sunny but chilly afternoon with debutant striker Jon Stevenson making an immediate impact. On just 3 minutes he ran clear of the North Greenford defence, into the right hand side of the area and from an angle fired a hard low shot that hit keeper Josh Kensit in the chest as he tried to close the striker down.

Stevenson was showing for the ball all across the front line and linking well with strike partner Tom Lorraine and wide players Shawn Richards and Andy Hall. He created a great chance for himself on 8 though as he ran right around the North Greenford defence to create space for a shot from 18 yards that was blocked by keeper Kensit, Andy Hall firing the rebound back at goal only for Kensit scramble clear again.

Just a minute later the first of a number of goal mouth scrambles during the afternoon saw North Greenford survive with Hall’s effort blocked allowing Richards to push the ball past prone keeper Kensit only see it cleared off the line.

North Greenford were always enterprising in possession belying their lowly league position and started to gain a hold on the game in the middle period of the half. Glen Yala was always dangerous and was prevented from getting onto a good looking through ball on 15 by Delroy Gordon who was promptly shown a yellow card. The resulting free-kick was fired just over the bar, and 3 minutes later Yala ran at the Diamonds back-four created space and fired a rasping effort from 25 yards just wide.

Diamonds had been kept fairly quite since that opening 10 minute salvo but came to life on 27 with the opening goal. Tom Lorraine was felled just outside the box after a great twisting run allowing Shawn Richards to hit a superb hard low curling effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner, his first for the club.

Diamonds were back in rampant form after that opening goal with another goal mouth scramble after a free-kick somehow seeing the ball cleared, and Brad Harris latching onto another goalmouth block to fire a low effort that was deflected wide.

The seemingly inevitable 2nd goal came on 35 minutes from some fantastic interplay on the edge of the box. Andy Hall chested Connor Kennedy’s deep pass to Tom Lorraine and immediately went for the 1-2. Lorraine read the move well and slid a perfectly weighted pass back into Hall’s path, the winger letting the ball run into space and dinking his effort over the advancing keeper for a superb 2nd goal for the club.

The 3rd came just 5 minutes later as Diamonds were starting to overrun their hard working opponents. Shawn Richards whipped in a free-kick from the left of the area to find a trademark Liam Dolman run across the front of the defence his glancing header heading towards the far post where Tom Lorraine touched it over the line.

One final goalmouth scramble nearly saw Jon Stevenson get a debut goal but his close range effort was blocked yet again along with Tom Lorraine’s follow-up meaning Diamonds went into half-time with a 3 0 lead.

North Greenford defender Seldyn Grant was substituted at half-time after an accidental collision with Tom Lorraine earlier in the half, and taken to hospital to be checked for a head injury.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 – North Greenford United 0

Diamonds should have added a 4th just a minute into the second half as Shawn Richards 25 yard free-kick totally beat keeper Kensit but crashed back off the left-hand post bouncing across the goal for onrushing Tom Lorraine to surely tap home…but the big striker who was having an excellent game went for power and sliced the ball wide.

Charlie Mitchell had been keen to get forward at every opportunity for the visitors and he latched onto a half cleared ball on the edge of the box but fired just over on 56 as North Greenford kept trying to break forward to release the pressure.

Just a minute later though any chance of visitors getting any kind of hold on the game were ended with the sending off of captain Jessy Yoboue. He aggressively felled Tom Lorraine on the edge of the box as the big striker turned away from him again. Diamonds players were very unhappy with the challenge and after a sizeable delay Connor Kennedy and Andy Hall were also shown yellow cards.

Diamonds inevitably dominated possession from that point and had to wait just 5 minutes for the 4th goal. Another great piece of interplay between midfield and forwards saw Brad Harris play a great one two with Tom Lorraine and then feed the ball on to Shawn Richards just inside the left side of the box. His volleyed effort flew across the box where Andy Hall fired a half-volley low into the centre of the goal.

The biggest cheer of the day then came 68 minutes as Jack Ashton made his much awaited return from injury as a replacement for Ollie Wilkinson who had had a very good game himself. Lewis Leslie also came on for Richard Bunting and Diamonds continued to pile forward.

Liam Dolman was keen to get in on the action and his surging run from midfield on 70 minutes created mayhem in the visitors defence, a neat one two and a shot on goal saw the ball blocked out to Tom Lorraine who fired against the post from close range and a tight angle.

The 5th wasn’t long coming and it was another great moment this time for debutant Jon Stevenson. He latched onto a ball into space midway into the visitors half, ran with a tracking defender before jinking to create space for a hard low shot back across Kensit into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Claudiu Hoban then joined the action to replace star man Shawn Richards and his deep cross after a short free-kick was headed firmly home by Liam Dolma for Diamonds 6th on 83.

After coming close just minutes earlier Andy Hall finally completed an excellent hat-trick to add Diamonds 7th on 87. A great move down the left by Hoban again saw the ball squared to Stevenson who brilliantly fed it onto Hall as he was falling where the winger smashed it into the top corner in front of a delighted Peter De Banke terrace.

North Greenford then got a reward for their continued attempts to get forward throughout the game on 89 when Sandro Costa nipped in between Matt Finlay and the Diamonds defence as confusion reigned to slide the ball into the empty net.

It wasn’t the final act though as Diamonds added an 8th for their biggest score line of the season in the 3rd minute of added on time. Another move carved through the North Greenford defence to give Tom Lorraine the chance to grab a deserved second but his close range effort was blocked and it was Lewis Leslie on hand to smash the ball home.

Full-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 8 – North Greenford United 1

This was a dominant performance by Diamonds from start to finish with brightness and attacking purpose throughout. Debutant Jon Stevenson was impressive, Tom Lorraine as good as he has been for some time, and Andy Hall clever and clinical to grab a tremendous hat-trick. Star player though was Shawn Richards a massive threat all afternoon, the young winger really growing into this Diamonds side and showing great ability from free-kicks with a stunning goal and a post struck.

North Greenford worked hard all afternoon and kept trying to attack when they had chance but they were simply overwhelmed.

This dominant win put Diamonds top of the Southern League Central table before two tricky away trips to complete January at Aylesbury and Beaconsfield.

Man of the Match:  Shawn Richards chosen by Members Poll

Attendance: 454

Match Report by Paul Judd

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

North Greenford United

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Ollie Wilkinson

3.   Conor Kennedy

4.   Delroy Gordon

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Brad Harris

7.   Shawn Richards

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Jon Stevenson

10. Tom Lorraine

11. Andy Hall

Subs

12.  Claudiu Hoban (for Richards 80)

13.  Alex Vitue

14.  Lewis Leslie (for Bunting 68)

15.  Jack Ashton (for Wilkinson 68)

16.  Tommy Berwick

1.   Josh Kensit

2.   Samuel Addae

3.   Alfie Cain

4.   Jessy Yoboue

5.   Danny Bennell

6.   Seldyn Grant

7.   Charlie Mitchell

8.   Luke Kanjor

9.   Glen Yala

10. Charles Corner

11. Matt Riggs

Subs

12. James McAlinden

14. Sandro Costa (for Riggs 80)

15. Gary James (for Grant 45)

16. Ike Nzuruba (for Yala 62)

Goals: Richards (27), Hall (35, 65, 87), Lorraine (40), Stevenson (76), Dolman (83), Leslie (90+3)

Goals: Costa (89)

Yellow Cards: Gordon (15), Hall (57), Kennedy (57)

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards: Yoboue (57)

Referee:  Darren Russell

Assistants:  Gary Lord, Naji Naji

 

 

Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.

The updated Match Stats, Player Stats and Attendance figures along with league stats are found in the First Team stats area on this website here. You can also find updated fixture lists in the main fixture and results grid.
 
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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 ©2016

 

 
 
 

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