AFC Rushden & Diamonds defeated local rivals Wellingborough Whitworth 2-1 in the UCL Knock Out Cup at Victoria Mill on Tuesday evening. The winning goal came from Adam Confue just before half time after an own-goal from Jonny Hazell had cancelled out the Flourmen’s early Cavell Jarvis opener.

After the FA Vase defeat on Saturday, Andy Peaks chose a strong side, with Matt Finlay returning in goal behind a central-defensive partnership of Dolman and Ashton. After an impressive weekend cameo, Charlie Butt made his second start for the club at right-back and Sam Brown came in at left back following his suspension, becoming the first Diamonds player to make 100 competitive appearances. In midfield, Matt Gearing lined up on the left flank with Joel Gyasi starting on the right following his four goal heroics for the U21s on Saturday. In central midfield, Adam Confue was joined by debutant Liam McInally and Jason Turner continued up front in partnership with Scott Joseph, making his first start for Diamonds since returning to the club.

Pitch conditions at The Victoria Mill Ground were good, a credit to the hosts’ ground staff given the weather over the preceding days and as Rushden lined up shooting in the direction of the impressive new Whitworths club house, a gentle rain began to fall causing many of those in attendance to seek out shelter under one of the four small spectator stands which surround the pitch.

“The Flourmen”, who wore highly visible luminous orange shirts with gold numbering, started as brightly as their kit and could well have taken the lead on 2 minutes when a dangerous cross from Cavell Jarvis almost found two team-mates and then the resulting corner was headed just over. Diamonds, however, then began to take control of the early stages, with a great passing move finding Joseph with space to shoot wide of goal. As Diamonds continued to look to find an opening, an early ball from Charlie Butt found Joseph through one goal but he was unfortunate to put the ball just wide once again. Whitworths were not looking phased by their opposition and continued to press them hard whenever the ball was in the the home team’s half, whilst seemingly content to let Dolman and Ashton stroke the ball around in the heart of defence.

A third real chance for Diamonds came on 19 minutes when Gyasi picked the ball up wide and cut inside to slide a pass through to Gearing whose effort missed the right hand post by inches. Shortly after this and perhaps against the run of play, Whitworths took the leads as a good ball over the top found Cavell Jarvis in space and he composed himself well to fire inside Finlay’s near post. This heralded the start of an uneasy spell for Rushden, interspersed only by a third opportunity for Joseph, who did well to get onto the end of a well-executed ball from McInally, but couldn’t beat the onrushing ‘keeper. Joel Gyasi, whose pace had been causing the home team’s defence some problems then went clean through at the other end colliding with Lee Baxter who fell heavily, resulting in a long stoppage.

Away supporters would perhaps have commented at this point that what their team needed was a slice of luck and that is exactly what they got in the 37th minute as a Matt Gearing free kick was headed in off the underside of the underside of the bar by an unfortunate Jonny Hazel. Undeterred, Whitworths were straight onto the front foot from the restart and almost immediately created a goalmouth scramble at the other end of the field before the linesman’s flag halted their attack. Tow minutes later, they could once again count themselves unfortunate to hit the cross bar with a crashing drive. Soon after this, Diamonds had the lead as another Matt Gearing set piece, this time a corner from the right, was turned in at the back post by Adam Confue.

Half Time: Wellingborough Whitworth 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2

After the half-time oranges, Whitworths returned to the field without Baxter who had been declared unfit to continue, forcing Hazell to take over duties in-between the sticks. Perhaps buoyed by this, Diamonds started the second half the strongest, looking much more assured that they had in the first half. Both Gyasi and Gearing delivered balls in from the flanks for Joseph, who fired the latter centre against the bar. Minutes later Jason Turner was the provider, laying the ball out to Gyasi who once again found Joseph unable to convert the chance. A left wing corner from Gearing then looked as if it had been bundled over the line, but the officials ruled that no goal had been scored despite vociferous protests from Rushden players and supporters alike. The next opportunity came for the visitors from a deep Confue cross with what looked like a combination of goalkeeper and crossbar keeping the ball away.

On 70 minutes, Whitworths went down to 10 men when Joe Judge picked up a second yellow card for a trip on Gyasi but as the game entered the closing stages, the home side still looked to try and create the equaliser that they perhaps felt they deserved. However, it was the visitors who would continue to create chances which would elusively fail to find the back of the net. The first of these was a 35 yard effort from Confue which was shepherded just wide by Hazell and after a good double-save from the stand-in stopper at the feet of Joseph, Dunkley replaced Turner and immediately fired just over with the final real chance of the game. Deep into stoppage time Brad Harris replaced the impressive Confue before referee Mr Wilson called time on the tie.

Full Time: Wellingborough Whitworth 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2

With this return to winning ways, Diamonds progress into the quarter finals of the UCL KO Cup where they will face Yaxley, Huntingdon or Deeping some time in early 2015.

Next up for AFCR&D is a trip to Long Buckby in the United Counties League Premier Division on Saturday.

Man of the Match: Sam Brown

Attendance: 265

 

Wellingborough Whitworth

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1.Lee Baxter

2.Remy Brittain

3.Ryan Baxter

4.Joe Judge

5.Jake Hudson

6.James Gorman

7.Jonny Hazel

8.Matty Judge

9.Carvel Jarvis

10.Deven Ellwood

11.Ross Patrick

Subs

12.Luke Mcdonald

14.Luke Raftery

15.Jamie White

16.Lee Warman

17.Anthony Sharp

 

17. Matt Finlay

2. Charlie Butt

3. Sam Brown

4. Jack Ashton

5. Liam Dolman

6. Adam Confue

7. Matty Gearing

8. Liam McInally

9. Jason Turner

10. Scott Joseph

11. Joel Gyasi

Subs

12. Brad Harris (for Confue 96)

13. Josh Thomson

14. Arron Parkinson

15. Tom Lorraine

16. Russell Dunkley (for Turner 89)

Goals: Jarvis (20)

Goals: Hazell (og, 37), Confue (44)

Yellow Cards: Hudson, J Judge(2)

Yellow Cards: Confue, Ashton

Red Cards: J Judge

Red Cards:

Referee: Mr Ian Wilson

Assistants: Mr Peter Moore, Mr Joshua Crofts

 

 

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