AFC Rushden & Diamonds – Background and Squad Details

AFC Rushden & Diamonds was formed in 2011 following the demise of Rushden & Diamonds FC as a supporter-owned, supporter-run football club. After a season in youth football in 2011-12 they were allocated a place in the United Counties League Division One for 2012-13 (Step 6 of Non-League Football). They gained promotion in second spot in that league at the end of their first season, and followed that with third place in the UCL Premier Division before winning the title in the 2014-15 season, backed up with the League Cup. This meant they won promotion to the Southern Football League Division One Central. In 2015-16 they finished fifth in the SL1C, reaching the playoff final and winning their County Cup. They were transferred to the Northern Premier League First Division South for the 2016-17 season where they again reached the end of season playoffs. For 2017-18 they returned to the Southern League to play in Division One East, known as EVO-Stik League South, East, winning promotion at the end of that season to Step 3 of Non-League Football. They are now playing in their second season in the Southern League Premier Division Central.

After five seasons playing at the Dog & Duck in Wellingborough, they have moved to Hayden Road, Rushden, where they share facilities with Rushden & Higham United. The ground is the former home of Rushden Town. They have adopted a “Community Benefit Society” constitution accredited by the FSA. This reinforces the principles of One Fan, One Vote and ensures that the club and its assets are protected on behalf of the community in the long term. With 750 club members, today the club has 30 teams of all ages including Academy, Development, Ladies / Girls and Community teams not forgetting the much respected multi disability team; all wearing the traditional Diamonds white shirt.

Being a community members club means that to succeed and achieve long term plans, the club aims to sustain a strong youth and community football base, whilst engaging and gaining the support from the local community. 

For a more detailed Club History see here.

 

Management Team and First Team Squad Profiles 2019-20

The AFC Rushden & Diamonds Management Team and First Team Squad for the 2018/19 season are detailed below. Further squad members will be linked to the AFC R&D Elite Squad for developing players in the 18-21 age bracket. For further details including game and competition stats see here. Player ages correct as of 1/8/19.

 

Management Team

First Team Manager – Andy Peaks. Andy had joined Mark Starmer’s management team in May 2012, bringing a wealth of UCL experience as well as his notable career history with Rushden & Diamonds FC where he was eighth in their all-time appearance list, having played 205 times for R&DFC between 1992 and 1997. He holds a UEFA B coaching license. He took over control of first-team affairs in a caretaker role following Mark Starmer’s resignation on 19th March 2014, and was installed on a permanent basis a month later. In his first full season at the helm he took the club to a League and Cup Double in the United Counties League. He has since led to the end of season playoffs twice before winning promotion to Step 3 at the end of the 2017-18 season.

First Team Coach – Scott Carlin. Scott joined the club in the summer of 2012, after leaving his post as Assistant Manager at Northampton Spencer. Scott, or Biff as he’s more commonly known, brought a wealth of experience having worked with AFC R&D Manager Andy Peaks over the previous few seasons. He is also head of the Club’s Football Academy.

 

Goalkeepers

Niall Cooper is a 28 year-old goalkeeper who joined the club prior to the 2019/20 season. During the pre-season campaign he was man of the match in the Maunsell Cup Final. He has previously played at Bedford Town, Stratford Town, Rugby Town, Leamington, Redditch Utd and Kettering Town.

Ben Heath is a 23-year-old goalkeeper who joined the club at the end of October 2016, after a spell with Rugby Town, having also played at Step 4 level for Daventry Town. He made his Diamonds debut the following day in a dramatic game at Spalding, then continued to impress when deputising for the club’s regular stopper Matt Finlay during the 2016/17 season. He assumed first-choice keeper status for the 2017-18 season, and had an impressive campaign as the club conceded only 25 league goals and he recorded 22 clean sheets in the 42 league games. He was an “ever-present” in the Diamonds side during their first League season at Step 3 in 2018-19. During that season he reached his century of appearances for the club.

 

Defenders

Liam Dolman is a 31-year-old defender, who joined the club from Daventry Town during June 2014. He is from Northamptonshire, and started his career with Northampton Town, progressing from youth level to the first team, making his league debut at the end of the 2006/07 season and making over 50 appearances in League and FA Cup games for the Cobblers in the next two seasons. He then had a short spell playing Conference Football for Kidderminster Harriers in 2009/10 before joining Banbury United before moving to Daventry Town. After joining the Diamonds he had a successful first campaign, picking up the Manager’s Player of the Season award in 2014/15, as well as a Player of the Month award for February 2015 when he scored 6 goals from 4 games from his centre-back role. His goal at Long Buckby was also chosen as goal of the season. He was a mainstay of the side in the 2015/16 season, picking up a player of the month award for his memorable contribution to the Diamonds record run in the FA Cup. The 2016/17 season was also a successful one as he took awards as the fans’ and players’ player of the season, as well as the manager’s player of the season award. He also reached a century of appearances for the club during that campaign, and has now scored 30 goals for the club. He won the Manager’s player of the season award again in 2017/18. He signed a contract with the club for the 2019/20 season during the summer of 2019.

Jack Ashton is a 29-year old defender, who joined the Diamonds on a dual registration basis with Stamford AFC in March 2014. He joined the Daniels in 2013 from Banbury United, with whom he had two spells either side of playing for Oxford City. He originally joined Banbury from Cogenhoe United, having previously had a spell at Long Buckby. He appeared in the final six games of the season in 2013-14, and won the April 2014 Player of the Month award. He picked up two further Player of the Month Awards in 2014/15, and also won the Fans Player of the Season award as well as the Players’ Player of the Season trophy. Despite injury problems during 2015/16 he won two further player of the month awards as well as picking up the goal of the season award for his late winner that clinched the Hillier Senior Cup. After a promising start to the 2016/17 campaign a further knee injury ended his season in November after just 13 appearances that campaign. After a long lay-off, missing almost all of 2017, he returned to the Diamonds starting line-up at the start of 2018, reaching his century of Diamonds appearances during February 2018.

Sam Brown is a 26-year-old defender who was a junior at the Centre of Excellence at Rushden & Diamonds FC. He joined AFC Kempston Rovers in 2009, aged 16, and helped them to reach the UCL Premier in 2010. Sam made 35(1) appearances during 2012-13, scoring two goals towards the end of the season, and winning the club Player of the Month award in January and April 2013. He also won the Manager’s Player of the Season award in 2012-13. He made 48 appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14. In 2014/15 he reached his century of appearances for the Diamonds. After being a key part of the Diamonds setup at all three levels they have played he finished the 2015-16 season early in order to travel abroad. He returned for the 2016/17 season, when he appeared in 49 matches. A further impressive season in 2017/18 meant he reached over 250 appearances for the club.

Zack Reynolds is a 25-year-old full back who can also play in wide midfield. He joined the club from Chesham United prior to the start of the 2018/19 season. He started as a junior with Rushden & Diamonds, and completed his scholarship with Crawley Town. He then played for Aylesbury United before a number of short-term deals prior to joining Dunstable Town, from when he move to Chesham at the start of last season. In a successful 2018-19 season he appeared in 40 league and cup games, winning the Players’ Player of the Season award as well as a Player of the Month award. He signed a contract with the club for the 2019/20 season during the summer of 2019.

Alex Collard is a centre-back who joined the Diamonds at the end of November 2018 having recently left Kempston Rovers. He had previously played for a number of clubs in the Aylesbury area, including over 50 appearances for Aylesbury United, as well as at Chichester City whilst he was a student in that area. He is 24 years-of-age, and joined Kempston in December 2017. In an impressive first season with the Diamonds he picked up two Player of the Month Awards during the 2018/19 campaign. He signed a contract with the club for the 2019/20 season during the summer of 2019.

Patrick Casey is a young defender who graduated to the first team squad after impressing at Academy level and in pre-season games. Spent time with Northampton Town Academy as well as in the Diamonds Youth Set-up. Made his first team debut aged 17 in a Hillier Senior Cup Game in September 2018, following that up with a Man of the Match appearance in the following round. He also signed for Bugbrooke St Michaels on dual registration during the 2018/19 season, playing for them in the UCL. Now aged 18, he signed senior forms ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Midfielders

Ben Farrell is a 33-year-old midfielder who joined the club from Bedford Town in December 2016. Ben has had several spells with Bedford Town, and earlier in his career made the step up from the Eagles to play Conference football with Cambridge United. He then had spells with Weymouth, Cambridge City and St Neots Town along with Arlesey Town before rejoining the Eagles. He impressed in the Diamonds midfield in the 2016/17 season, appearing 30 times as well as scoring the club’s goal of the season. His successes with the club continued in the 2017/18 season, winning three Player of the Month awards as well as Supporters’ Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season award. He was the club’s top goalscorer in the 2017-18 season, scoring 19 goals. During 2018/19 season he reached his century of appearances for the club, playing at the Step 3 level of Non-League Football.

Nathan Hicks joined the club shortly before the start of the 2018/19 season. Nathan is a 27-year-old attacking central midfielder who played at Step 3 level for Biggleswade Town during the 2017/18 season scoring five times, after starting the campaign with Kettering Town at the same level. His previous clubs also include Histon, Leamington and Alfreton Town. After a successful campaign in 2018-19 when he made 47 league and cup appearances he was awarded the Manager’s Player of the Season Award to go with a Player of the Month award for April 2019.

Sam Johnson joined the club at the end of November 2018, having had a short spell with Kempston Rovers following his return from time playing and coaching in New Zealand. A wide-midfielder in his mid-twenties. he spent his junior career in East Anglia before an initial spell with Kempston Rovers. helping them to gain promotion. He made 20 appearances for the Diamonds during the remainder of the 2018/19 season.

Nat Gosnal-Taylor is a winger who joined the club from Rushden and Higham United having impressed in the series of friendlies prior to the 2019/20 season. He is 25 years of age.

Jesse Akubuine is a midfielder who signed for the Diamonds following some impressive performances during pre season for the 2019/20 campaign. 21 year old Jesse came through the Brentford academy, and before joining the Diamonds had a couple of years in Scotland with Queen of the South and Cumbernauld Colts.

Ben Acquaye joined the club from Kempston Rovers at the end of December 2018. Ben is an attacking midfielder who had just celebrated his 19th birthday when he joined the club. He had made 24 appearances for Rovers in the 2018/19 season, scoring 7 goals, as well as picking up a number of assists. Prior to joining Kempston in February, Ben was with Buckingham Athletic. After patiently waiting for his first team chance, and following a number of cameo appearances as substitute, he was rewarded with a first-team start in April 2019.

Matthew Slinn is a young midfielder who joined the club in summer 2019 having been released from the Northampton Town Academy. He turned 18 earlier in 2019.

Strikers

Tom Lorraine is a 29-year-old striker who joined the club from Cogenhoe United at the end of March 2014, where he was registered with Daventry Town on a “dual-registration” basis. He had appeared for Woodford United, Banbury and Bedworth United earlier in his career. He was the club’s top scorer in their promotion winning 2014/15 campaign scoring 19 goals, but showed his flexibility by playing in midfield towards the end of the season to provide much-needed cover in that position. He was also the top scorer in 2015/16 with 15 goals as the club played their first season at Step 4, picking up the Manager’s player of the season award. He became the club’s overall top scorer during the 2016/17 season, passing his half-century of goals during his Diamonds’ career. During that campaign he also picked up two player of the month awards, scoring a further 18 goals. In 2017/18 he repeated that feat as he helped the club to gain promotion to Step 3, scoring 16 goals from 32 starts and being awarded two Player of the Month awards. In 2018/19 he continued his goalscoring form, winning the “Golden Boot” as well as the Supporters’ Player of the Season award.

Massiah Mcdonald is a 28 year-old striker who is a Montserrat international and who joined the club prior to the 2019/20 season. He had spell at Coalville Town and Barwell FC at the same Step 4 level during the 2018/19 season. He  has also had spells with Corby Town, Alfreton Town, Kings Lynn, Matlock Town and Bradford Park Avenue.

Ryan Dove is a 26 year-old atriker who joined the club prior to the 2019/20 season. During the 2018/19  season he was at Cogenhoe United in the UCL Premier, scoring 28 goals in 29 games, having previously scored 28 goals in 45 games during the 2017/18 season.

Jack Bowen is a 25-year-old striker who joined the club on a dual registration basis with Cogenhoe United in March 2016 after scoring 29 goals in 47 games for the Cooks during the 2015/16 season. He made an immediate impact in the Diamonds side during the end of season run-in, including a major role in the first play-off game at St Ives. He moved to Brackley Town at the end of the season, making the move to Step 2 football. He scored 3 goals in his 5 appearances for the club. He started a loan spell back with the Diamonds in March 2017 and made a further 13 appearances before the loan period ended at the end of that season, bringing his goals total to 6 for the club. He joined Biggleswade Town prior to the start of the 2017/18 season. He rejoined the Diamonds prior to the start of the 2018/19 season.

 

 

 

 
 
 

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