AFC Rushden bounced back to winning ways after defeating AFC Dunstable 3-0 at Creasey Park on Wednesday evening. Full back Sam Brown opened the scoring just before half time with a thunderbolt of an effort, and goals from captain Richard Bunting and winger Joel Gyasi in the second half sealed the three points for the Diamonds.
Manager Andy Peaks made one change from the side that drew against Arlesey Town at the weekend, with Gyasi coming back into the side replacing striker Chris Dillon who dropped to the bench. Claudiu Hoban deputised in the number 10 role, starting behind striker Nabil Shariff.
The hosts had the first effort of the game five minutes in. The ball fell to striker BJ Christie on the left corner of the area who arrowed a fierce shot just over the near post. The OD’s had another chance five minutes later. Lee Close broke down the left before cutting back to Jermaine Hall who turned and fired wide.
It was all AFC Dunstable in the opening periods of the game, and a free kick whipped in from the right on 20 minutes gave the Diamonds a scare as the striker missed the flick and the ball hit Heath unexpectedly but there was no striker around to pounce.
The next ten minutes were extremely quiet. Gyasi blazed a long effort over on 33 minutes, and a free kick from just outside the area was laid off by Hoban for Joe Curtis to hit but the ball was blocked by a defender and Shariff couldn’t quite poke the ball as it squirmed away from him.
As the half closed out, Diamonds took the lead in spectacular fashion. The ball from the right was cleared to the edge of the area to Sam Brown who ran and hit the ball on the half volley which flew into the roof of the net.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 0-1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds
The start of the second half was relatively quiet, and it wasn’t until 57 minutes when Diamonds had a real chance to double their lead. Luke Fairlamb won a free kick on the right wing, which was crossed in by Curtis to Brown for a free header but he couldn’t get his effort on target.
However, it was just after the hour mark when Diamonds did double their lead. A cross from the right from Fairlamb somehow squirmed through Shariff’s legs to Bunting who was waiting in acres of space to place a shot past the keeper.
The hosts made all three of their changes before Diamonds had made any; the first being on 68 minutes when captain Moses Olaleye was replaced by Christian Tevernier.
On 71 minutes, Shariff worked his way well down the left flank before breaking into the box, and after a couple of step-overs he flashed a dangerous ball across the face of the goal but there was no one running in to poke home. A minute later, Adiel Mannion replaced Close for AFC Dunstable.
With 12 minutes remaining, Diamonds extended their lead further after a fantastic piece of team play. Bunting played the ball out wide to Westwood, who played it into Fairlamb. The winger turned before passing to Shariff in the area who teed up Gyasi to place into the bottom corner to round off a brilliant team goal to kill off the game.
AFC Dunstable made their last substitution a minute later, with Marcus Campbell coming on for James Bishop.
Into the last ten minutes, Diamonds wanted more. Fairlamb had a great solo effort, cutting inside before firing inches wide following a deflection.
Diamonds made all three of their changes within five minutes. The first, on 82, saw Dillon coming on for Shariff. Then on 85, goal scorer Bunting came off for Ben Ford. Finally, on 87, Fairlamb was replaced by Darryl Smith.
These substitutions were the final talking points of the game, ending in Diamonds’ first league win of September; the last coming against Fleet Town on 26 August with an emphatic 7-1 victory. Andy Peaks will also be happy to have had two clean sheets in a row, after previously conceding nine goals in four games.
Full-time: AFC Dunstable 0-3 AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
Diamonds Man of the Match: Blaize Punter
Match Report by Adam Benny
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Jamie Head
2. Courtney Massay
3. Danny Murphy
4. Ryan Frater
5. Newman Carney
6. Lee Close
7. James Bishop
8. Moses Olaleye (c)
9. BJ Christie
10. Jermaine Hall
11. Nathan Frater
12. Christian Tavernier (on for Olaleye, 68)
14. Adiel Mannion (on for Close, 72)
15. Marcus Campbell (on for Bishop, 79)
16. Terry Griffiths
13. Ben Heath
2. Callum Westwood
3. Sam Brown
4. Blaize Punter
5. Liam Dolman
6. Richard Bunting (c)
7. Joel Gyasi
8. Joe Curtis
9. Claudiu Hoban
10. Nabil Shariff
11. Luke Fairlamb
12. Tom Lorraine
14. Darryl Smith (on for Fairlamb, 87)
15. Ben Ford (on for Bunting, 85)
16. Chris Dillon (on for Shariff, 82)
17. Matt Finlay
Goals: Brown (45), Bunting (62), Gyasi (78)
Yellow cards: Bishop
Yellow cards: Curtis
Referee: Mr Jeff Aldous
Assistants: Mr Matt Ball
Mr Alphie Ibrahim
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.
Video post-match interviews are available here.