Second half goals from Diamonds heroes Tom Lorraine and Jack Ashton saw the away side pick up a vital 2-0 win and yet another clean sheet on Saturday afternoon.

Diamonds had to work hard for this win in tricky conditions against a spirited home defence just as it should be. A goal less first half saw Diamonds create the better of the chances only to be denied by ex-Diamonds hero Matt Finlay in the Barton goal. The vital break-through came 4 minutes into the second with all-time leading scorer Tom Lorraine heading home Luke Fairlamb’s cross. Jack Ashton added a cool second as Diamonds earned yet another clean sheet denying their opponents a single chance.

——

Manager Andy Peaks was able to name an unchanged starting line-up from the impressive return to action 6-0 win against Thame United on Tuesday night. Ben Ford was added to a very good looking bench alongside Cameron Gilchrist, John Dean, Ross Oulton and Blaize Punter. They met some familiar faces in the opposition with Robbie Parsons leading the Barton line and Diamonds favourite Matt Finlay wearing an unfamiliar number 1 shirt in the Barton goal.

The Barton ground staff did a tremendous job to ensure the pitch was playable and although it was on the soft side it was a massive relief to get a Saturday game on.

These sides shared the distinction of being losing play-off finalists in Southern League East for the last three seasons, but Barton have dropped away massively since their two play-off final appearances in 3 seasons. They sit second bottom with just 5 wins with only one of those being at home.

Diamonds started the game on the front foot against a hard working Barton defence with an early Sam Brown throw creating danger, Ben Farrell just failing to find Ryan Robbins in space and Luke Fairlamb firing a superb cross that forced Matt Finlay into a hurried clearance.

Balls into the box were putting Barton under pressure with Ben Curtis, Luke Fairlamb and Joel Gyasi all testing the home defence. Gyasi’s free-kick on 17 minutes found Jack Westbrook who forced a fine save at the near post by Matt Finlay.

Diamonds had the ball in the net on 22 minutes after Ben Farrell played a superb through-ball to Ryan Robbins who struck into the bottom corner but was ruled offside. Just 3 minutes later Tom Lorraine thought he had a penalty but it was waved away and he managed to get up and squared the ball to Ben Farrell who swept it towards goal only to see it just cleared off the line.

As the rain started falling again around the half-hour mark Tom Lorraine forced another good save from his old colleague Matt Finlay. Luke Fairlamb found Lorraine 6 yards out but his effort went fairly centrally allowing Finlay to get a strong hand on it to force it away.

As the pitch started to influence the flow of the ball Sam Brown fed an aerial ball through to Tom Lorraine to flick on to Ben Farrell but he struggled to make a solid contact and Finlay saved comfortably again.

The Gyasi brothers were very much involved in the last few minutes of the half. Michael picked up a yellow card for Barton for another poor challenge on Luke Fairlamb and put himself in danger as he then kicked the ball away. Brother Joel stepped up for the free kick but couldn’t pressure the home keeper.

Half-time: Barton Rovers 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

After Diamonds had broadly dominated the first half without too many clear chances inducing the occasional yawn from the media team (!!) they started the second half on fire and got the vital first goal on 47 minutes. Luke Fairlamb got away out wide and his looped cross fell to the onrushing Tom Lorraine to head home yet another vital goal from just 4 yards.

Diamonds sensed blood at this stage and Luke Fairlamb continued his impressive display winning a free-kick from a Robbie Parsons challenge (!) and firing the ball into the 6 yard box forcing another Matt Finlay clearance. Liam Dolman then raided down the right lifting a delicate cross that so nearly found Tom Lorraine.

Barton managed to dampen that Diamonds period of all out pressure but on 60 minutes Jack Ashton raided through midfield to set up Luke Fairlamb to cut inside and shoot just wide.

As Diamonds built the pressure again a corner earned on another good break was drifted to the far post where Jack Ashton got a foot on it but saw it cleared off the line, Ben Farrell saw a header from a Sam Brown throw-in tipped over the bar, and a series of corners resulted in Tom Lorraine seeing another header cleared off the line.

The pressure finally tolled on 72 minutes as another dangerous corner was re-cycled by Joe Curtis, his cross turned home by all action Ashton!! Jack Ashton heading home as he got ahead of the last man to his absolute delight and the same for the travelling faithful.

That second goal seemed to have understandably defeated the hard working spirited Barton resistance and the away side were able to see through the remainder of the game in some comfort at last.

Ross Oulton, a second half sub along with John Dean and Ben Ford, took a great touch on 85 minutes and set Ryan Robbins away only for Matt Finlay to smother. Diamonds moved the ball around well in the final stages on the difficult pitch probing around the box with some efforts fired in but were content to hold the 2 goal advantage and another clean sheet.

The final action saw the confrontation between Ronayne Marsh-Brown and Ryan Robbins come to a head with the agitated Marsh-Brown receiving a yellow card for his repeated infringements.

Full time: Barton Rovers 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2

Diamonds had to work hard for this win in tricky conditions against a spirited home defence just as it should be. A goal less first half saw Diamonds create the better of the chances only to be denied by ex-Diamonds hero Matt Finlay in the Barton goal. The vital break-through came 4 minutes into the second with all-time leading scorer Tom Lorraine heading home Luke Fairlamb’s cross. Jack Ashton added a cool second as Diamonds earned yet another clean sheet denying their opponents a single chance.

Next up is a run of 3 home games in 8 days including 2 of the potential promotion contenders AFC Dunstable and Hayes & Yeading. That will be followed by a further 3 games before the end of the month including 2 away games against the other promotion contenders Hartley Wintney and Beaconsfield. It looks like March will be a pivotal month.

Man of the match: Jack Westbrook

Attendance: 276

Match Report by Paul Judd

Barton Rovers

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1.   Matt Finlay

2.   Dan Jarvis

3.   Kyle Lincoln

4.   Ronayne Marsh-Brown

5.   Dan Newton

6.   Lee Close

7.   Michael Gyasi

8.   Hugh Alban-Jones

9.   Andrew Parsons

10. Robbie Parsons  

11. Ben Sawyer

 

Subs

12. Ike Nzuruba (for Gyasi 45)

14. Omar Nazurri (for Sawyer 83)

15. Charlie Payne

16. Charlie Hayford (for Parsons 78)

17. Dan Gould

 

13. Ben Heath

2.   Joe Curtis

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Jack Westbrook

5.   Liam Dolman (c)

6.   Jack Ashton

7.   Joel Gyasi

8.   Ben Farrell

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Ryan Robbins

11. Luke Fairlamb

 

Subs

12. Ben Ford (for Curtis 83)

14. John Dean (for Lorraine 78)

15. Ross Oulton (for Gyasi 75)

16. Blaize Punter

18. Cameron Gilchrist

 

 

Goals:

Goals: Lorraine (49), Ashton (72)

Yellow cards: Gyasi, Marsh-Brown

Yellow cards:

Red cards:

Red cards:

Referee: Ivan Gelov

Assistants: Jonathan Livingston, Daniel Frizzell

                   

 

 

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

Video highlights and post-match interviews are available here.
 
 
 

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