AFC Rushden & Diamonds won a hard fought contest against fellow Southern League Central side Kings Langley 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.  A 56th minute strike by Dan Quigley won the contest and put Diamonds into the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the third successive season.

Manager Andy Peaks was forced into two changes to his starting line up with Jack Ashton replacing the unavailable Liam Dolman in central defence and Ollie Wilkinson coming in at full back in place of the similarly unavailable Claudio Hoban. Brad Harris move up into central midfield in a 4 3 3 formation with Steve Spriggs and Tommy Berwick either side of Tom Lorraine up front.

It was a fairly low key start at Gaywood Park with Diamonds pressing in the first few minutes but unable to fashion any real chances. Kings Langley grew into the game and began to shade possession but over hit final balls wasted a number of promising positions.

The first real chance fell to Diamonds on 13 minutes when Tom Lorraine won another good header from a long clearance flicking into the path of Tommy Berwick who got free of his marker just inside the box and fired just over.

It came in a quiet period of the game but Ollie Cox and Alex Campana were combining well in the Kings Langley midfield and did create opportunities for the home side. First Cox was found by Campana in space 30 yards from goal allowing him to work a shooting chance just outside the box that he dragged wide with Matt Finlay rooted.

Then on 29 Cox was the provider for Gary Connolly who burst towards the Diamonds box and fired a fierce effort that flashed just wide of the right hand upright.

Diamonds seemed to up the tempo around the half hour mark and it looked like Jack Ashton had given them the vital first goal on 31. He threw himself at Steve Spriggs right wing corner in typical fashion his header flying onto the bar sparking last ditch attempts to clear with ball coming off the bar a second time. Amid appeals that the ball had crossed the line it soon became clear that his effort had been disallowed for handball.

As the pace of the game improved Kings Langley went straight up the other end and fashioned the best chance of the half. The impressive Callum Adebiyi surged past Wilkinson and cut the ball back to Danny May who had what appeared to be a simple finish from 8 yards but somehow slid it wide.

Diamonds were starting to get some joy out wide at this point and fired in two dangerous crosses in quick succession that first Tommy Berwick and then Tom Lorraine were just unable to get the finishing touch to.

In an end to end finish to the half Ollie Cox was worked into a great position on the right hand side of the box and appeared to be about to finish when Jack Ashton came from nowhere to block his effort.

Dan Quigley then saw an excellent 18 yard header from a Steve Spriggs free-kick fly just over, and Delroy Gordon got firmly onto a Sam Brown throw planting his firm header just wide from 8 yards.

Half-time:  Kings Langley 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

Diamonds started the second half well with Steve Spriggs prominent down the right hand side. He played in Dan Quigley in the first minute whose shot was deflected over, and then played a short corner well to get in a cross that Jack Ashton headed over.

Kings Langley danger man Michael Weiss had been kept fairly quiet by the diamonds defence but he came close on 55 surging into the box and just being denied by a late block, the rebound falling to Connolly who had his effort blocked too by great last ditch Diamonds defending.

And they got an immediate reward with the opening goal just a minute later. A Steve Spriggs right wing run earned a throw-in which Sam Brown fired in to the near post. Delroy Gordon challenged for it the ball falling behind him into space and Dan Quigley was quickest to react firing a half-volley on the turn into the bottom corner. The number 11 shirt strikes again after three consecutive goals for Claudio Hoban it was Quigley wearing 11 with his first goal in a Diamonds shirt.

Kings Langley would have felt hard done by to be trailing at this point and they pressed Diamonds pretty solidly for the rest of the game in search of an equalizer. There were a series of corners, throw-ins and free-kicks fired into the box but the Diamonds back four repelled everything.

Courtney Herbert and then Scott Joseph came on for Diamonds to add real energy and drive and were regular out balls for the back four allowing Diamonds to break quickly. One such break produced a penalty appeal on 77 as Tommy Berwick tried to flick an excellent through ball over a retreating defender and was convinced a hand was used to block it but his claims were waived away.

As we went into the final minutes Kings Langley had virtually 5 up front including centre half Stuart Eaton who headed Callum Adebiyi’s cross back across goal the ball falling between two other forwards and falling just wide of the far post.

Herbert and Joseph so nearly combined to clinch the result on 90 minutes. Joseph controlling Herbert’s through ball, cutting back inside and firing in low and hard only to see Ladyman scramble a save at the near post.

After a final scramble in the Diamonds box which was eventually cleared the final whistle came to the delight of the travelling fans and saw Diamonds into the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the third successive year.

Final Score: Kings Langley 0 – AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1

It was a hard fought game of relatively few chances and Diamonds were on the back foot for much of it. The strength in depth of the squad will have pleased Andy Peaks as two changes to the back four didn’t impact another excellent defensive performance. Quality off the bench energised the side at a vital stage of the second half and Dan Quigley’s desire to get into the box was rewarded with a first goal for the club.

Next up is a local derby in the league on Monday with Bedford Town visitors to the Dog & Duck. Diamonds next cup opponents won’t be known until the outcome of a replay between Bedfont & Feltham and Hayes FC on Tuesday night.

Man of the Match: Jack Ashton

Attendance: 205

Match Report by Paul Judd

 

Kings Langley

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1.   Anthony Ladyman

2.   Jack Pattison

3.   Callum Adebiyi

4.   Connor Toomey

5.   Stuart Deaton

6.   Danny May

7.   Gary Connolly

8.   Ollie Cox

9.   Mitchell Weiss

10. Alex Campana

11. Danny Hutchins

Subs

12. Tom Carter (for Weiss 90)

13. Rob Partington

14. David Femiola

15. Jack Stevens (for Connolly 69)

16. Billy Stevens

17. Ollie Cole (for Cox 89)

18. Zak Howells

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Ollie Wilkinson

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Delroy Gordon

6.   Brad Harris

7.   Steve Spriggs

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Tommy Berwick

11. Dan Quigley

Subs

12.  Charlie Butt

14.  Scott Joseph (for Wilkinson 75)

15.  Sam Leeson

16.  Courtney Herbert (for Spriggs 69)

18.  James Harrison

19.  Elliott Lamb-Johnson (for Berwick 82)

Goals:

Goals: Quigley (56)

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Wayne Cartmel

Assistants: Ayrton Hursey, Paul-Valentin Mihalache

 

 

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

For video highlights and post-match interviews click here.

 Match Gallery courtesy of Stephanie Webb Photography Copyright Stephanie Webb Photography ©2015

 

 
 
 

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