AFC Rushden & Diamonds maintained a 100% record in UCL Prem games against ground share neighbours Welingborough Town with a 2-1 win at the Dog & Duck on New Years Day.

Diamonds dominated possession and chances in the first half as they had done on Boxing Day without really exciting the New Years Day crowd with Adam Confue (twice) Tom Lorraine and Scott Joseph coming close before yet another floodlight failure right on the stroke of half-time. The game re-started 20 minutes late once the lights re-booted and Diamonds took a grip on the game with goals from Scott Joseph and Tom Lorraine within 10 minutes of the the resumption. Michael Cirelli notched a consolation for the doughboys in the dying minutes.

Manager Andy Peaks made two changes to the Boxing Day line-up with Charlie Butt returning to the right full-back slot releasing Brad Harris to replace Richard Bunting in central midfield. Scott Joseph came into the starting line-up in place of Jason Turner who dropped to the bench.

There was energy and purpose about the way Diamonds started the game against a nervy looking Wellingborough back 4 struggling to deal with a strong wind in their faces. Adam Confue came close to the early goal on 6 minutes after Sam Brown retrieved a deep cross from Elliot Lamb-Johnson, fed it into the path of Confue whose first time placed volley from 15 yards just went wide of the far post.

It was the lively Elliot Lamb-Johnson who came close to adding to his impressive tally of assists for Diamonds with another surging run into the box and low ball into Tom Lorraine whose back heel attempt from close range was blocked by the busy Bellairs in the Wellingborough goal.

Scott Joseph then created a chance for himself on 19 minutes, closing down a defender then winning the rebound and firing a looping effort just over from 25 yards.

Wellingborough were becoming more comfortable defensively after this initial period and Diamonds were held to a series of dangerous crosses into the box from Lamb-Johnson, Charlie Butt and Sam Brown which the impressive Bellairs was dealing with well in the Wellingborough goal.

Former Diamond Jake Newman was fairly isolated for the home side up front but showing touches and movement that kept the Diamonds back four on their toes. But it was another former Diamond Rashid Koriya who had the best move of the half for the Doughboys on 33 minutes surging through the Diamonds midfield into the box and earning his side a corner. The corner fell to Bloomfield at the far post who fired in a shot that was scrambled clear by the Diamonds defence.

The pace slackened as the half progressed and the game became a midfield battle with little in the way of chances. Adam Confue had a lobbed effort from 25 yards which a back tracking Bellairs collected, Bloomfield had a difficult volley chance from a good position as a ball through by Wellingborough was caught up in the wind and fell awkwardly to him, and Scott Joseph really should have scored on 42 minutes when Fazel Koriya evaded the offside trap, squared to Joseph who slid the ball past Bellairs, but agonisingly past the post too.

As the game reached 45 minutes the floodlights went off for the second game running at the Dog & Duck, referee Danny O’Sullivan blowing his half-time whistle and taking the players off.

Half-time: Wellinborough Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

Unlike on Boxing Day there was confidence that the lights would successfully re-boot after the obligatory 15 or so minutes, and play was able to resume with second-half delayed by only 20 minutes.

Diamonds started the half with real intensity again and this time were rewarded with a series of really good chances and two goals to take control of the game.

After an Elliot Lamb-Johnson corner created a scramble in the box that was just cleared, a second corner was only half-cleared on 49 minutes to Jack Ashton who rolled the ball to Fazel Koriya on the edge of the box who fired in a rasping shot that clattered the post after taking a slight deflection. Scott Joseph reacted quickest and fired into the roof of the net in front of a delighted Peter De Banke terrace.

Just a minute later Joseph had a great chance to double the lead after good work by Tom Lorraine but he failed to make contact with Lorraine’s cross when well placed just 10 yards out.

Diamonds had to wait just another minute to see the decisive second goal added though. Tom Lorraine picked the ball up on the left hand side on 51 minutes cut back onto his right foot and fired in what used to be called a daisy cutter from 20 yards right into the bottom corner past a despairing Bellairs.

Elliott Lamb-Johnson was prominent again for Diamonds when firing a cross along the 6 yard line just evading Diamonds strikers just 2 minutes later, and then working a good position on the edge of the box but firing over when well placed.

There was then panic in the Doughboys area after Bellairs slid to the edge of his box to tackle Confue, turning to try and collect the ball when sat outside the area, and then possibly impeding Confue trying to struggle to his feet. The ball eventually scrambled out for a corner.

Tom Lorraine then fired another fantastic dipping effort that crashed off the bar from 25 yards after Diamonds fans were still appealing for a penalty for the challenge on Fazel Koriya.

After this 20 minute surge of activity, pace slackened under the sparkling lights and substitutions for Wellingborough injected more control in their play. Liebscher and Cirelli were lively from their introduction, and the home side started to hold possession better and pressure the Diamonds back four for the first time, Cirelli winning a corner at the end of a good run on 65 minutes.

5 minutes later a dangerous free-kick for the home side was fired into the area and was flicked just wide off the head of hardworking Liam Dolman.

Jason Turner was introduced for Diamonds in place of the excellent but tiring Scott Joseph and was brought down by Randall right on the edge of the box on 78 minutes after a brilliant turn had wrong-footed the defender. A yellow card was shown when Turner had been arguably through on goal for clear goal scoring chance. The free kick was curled just over by Liam Dolman.

It was Wellingborough who sensed a chance to get back into the game in the closing stages though and a period of pressure around the box created an excellent half-volley chance for Spraughton that was blocked by a diving Diamonds defender.

Elliott Lamb-Johnson then received his 4th yellow card of the season for a poor challenge on the half-way line and manager Andy Peaks seized the chance to give returning Joel Gyasi a 10 minute run out.

Wellingborough got the goal their play in this final period deserved on 86 minutes after a great break by Jonathan Mitchell saw him running at a retreating Diamonds defence. He slid the ball to Michael Cirelli on the right hand edge of the box and he fired home high past Matt Finlay in the Diamonds goal.

Jake Newman almost immediately equalized with a stunning strike from 30 yards that had Finlay wrong footed but saw the ball fly just over the bar.

There was a final burst of action for Diamonds with Gyasi coming close only to be denied by the keepers legs, and then Bellairs twice blocking Turner and then Gyasi again from close range.

Wellingborough created pressure in the final stages that extended to 9 minutes added time and Liam Dolman picked up a booking for his reaction to a challenge when trying to shepherd the ball away to safety. The equalizer wouldn’t come though and at nearly 5.30 referee O’Sullivan blew the final whistle on a Diamonds victory.

Full-time: Wellingborough Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2

A hard fought win for Diamonds to keep up 100% record against their groundshare partners in the UCL Prem courtesy of that impressive burst of chances and goals on the resumption. Wellingborough proved difficult opponents in both games going over 90 minutes across the two games before Scott Joseph and Tom Lorraine broke through.

The second floodlight failure at the Dog & Duck has already had repercussions  for both sides with games to be 2pm kick-offs and no midweek games until further notice. This has led to Saturday’s game for Diamonds against Deeping being postponed as they could not accommodate the change of kick-off time at short notice.

Next action is the trip to Oadby on 10th January.

Man of the Match: Jack Ashton

Attendance: 649

Match report: Paul Judd

Wellingborough Town

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1.   Aaron Bellairs

2.   Joe Rich

3.   Rashid Koriya

4.   Stuart Goosey

5.   Lee Gotch

6.   Adam Randall

7.   Jonathan Mitchell

8.   Daniel Spraughton

9.   Jake Newman

10. Joe Bloomfield

11. Mark Pryor

Subs

12. Scott Liebscher (for Bloomfield 45)

14. Michael Cirelli (for Gotch 56)

15. Lewis Fisher (for Pryor 90)

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Charlie Butt

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Adam Confue

7.   Elliott Lamb-Johnson

8.   Brad Harris

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Scott Joseph

11. Fazel Koriya

Subs

12. Joel Gyasi (for Lamb-Johnson 82)

13. Rhys Redding

14. Jason Turner (for Joseph 72)

15. Arron Parkinson

16. Liam McInally (for Butt 85)

Goals: Cirelli (86)

Goals: Joseph (49), Lorraine (51)

Yellow Cards: Randall (78)

Yellow Cards: Lamb-Johnson (76), Dolman (90)

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Danny O’Sullivan

Assistants: Martin Reed, Robert Cusack 

 

  

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