Diamonds were held to a 1-1 draw in an entertaining encounter with Rushall Olympic on Tuesday evening.
Ravi Shamsi opened the scoring on 9 minutes after a great combination with Tom Lorraine. Rushall responded quickly with an excellent 12th minute finish by the impressive Rackeem Reid. Rushall went on to shade the first half in terms of chances with Dean Snedker on top form to deny them. Diamonds shaded the second half with Tom Lorraine, Will Jones and Ravi Shamsi in added time all coming close to winning it but Rushall spurned great chances too striking the bar on one occasion and seeing Dean Snedker make more great saves.
Manager Andy Peaks picked an unchanged lineup and saw Rushall start brightly and push his side back in the opening stages. Diamonds did break dangerously in what would be the pattern of the first half and got the vital first goal on 9 minutes. Ravi Shamsi picked the ball up just over halfway ran at Rushall and threaded a great ball out left to Tom Lorraine who was forced wide but pulled the ball back rather than shooting and Shamsi tapped home.
Rushall responded quickly through the already dangerous Rackeem Reid who latched onto a defence splitting pass and finished superbly under Dean Snedker.
Reid went on to terrorise the Diamonds defence as Rushall dominated possession. He hit the side netting in one dangerous move and set up Mitchell for a strike just over and Alex Moore for a curled effort that produced a stunning save by Dean Snedker.
Diamonds did threaten on the break with some incisive play that created shooting chances for Ravi Shamsi and Ryan Hughes.
Half-time: Diamonds 1 Rushall Olympic 1
Diamonds were quick out of the block in the second half pressing Rushall much better and struck the bar with a cross shot from Ravi Shamsi on 47 minutes. Rushall still played some excellent passing football and struck the bar themselves on 54 minutes through Owen Parry.
Diamonds were starting to create regular chances now and Tom Lorraine came close twice around the hour mark challenging the away keeper to a loose ball in the box when played through by Ravi Shamsi and striking a fierce volley just over from inside the box.
Two more chances came in quick succession with Ben Diamond and then Alex Collard seeing headers cleared off the line.
Will Jones came on and ran the Rushall back line ragged seeing a great chance from a superb Jesse Akubuine through ball impressively saved by Thomas Palmer in the away goal.
Rushall were still dangerous with their passing and movement and created good late chances which forced Dean Snedker into fantastic saves. The second saw him save low then bounce up quickly to deny Rushall what would have been a tap in.
There was still chance for maybe the best chance of the half as Ravi Shamsi brilliantly dived between defenders and struck really well towards the far corner only for Palmer to get a trailing hand to it to deny what looked like a certain winner.
Full-Time: Diamonds 1 Rushall Olympic 1
This was an entertaining, high quality attacking game that saw both keepers brilliantly keep the score down. Andy Peaks tweaked things at half-time that saw his side much more on the front foot against a good Rushall side and substitutions further energised the side. Any one of a number of late chances could have won the game but Dean Snedker also ensured Rushall didn’t nick it.
Next up is the visit of Alvechurch on Saturday afternoon.
Reporters Man of the Match: Dean Snedker
Match Report: Paul Judd
AFC Rushden and Diamonds
13. Dean Snedker
2. Patrick Casey
3. Ryan Hughes
4. Jay Williams
5. Liam Dolman
6. Alex Collard
7. Ben Diamond
8. Jesse Akubuine
9. Tom Lorraine
10. Ravi Shamsi
11. Connor Furlong
12. Fernando Bell-Toxtle
14. Sam Warburton
15. Nathan Tshikuna (for Furlong 88)
16. Will Jones (for Lorraine 62)
17. Claudia Dias
8 mins – Diamonds 1 Rushall 0 – Ravi Shamsi
12 mins – Diamonds 1 Rushall 1 – Rackeem Reid