AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-3 Stourbridge

An explosive start to the second half by visitors Stourbridge turned this game around and they eventually ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.

Diamonds lead through an early Jack Connor goal and held lively Stourbridge at bay until half-time. Stourbridge scored twice in the first 3 minutes of the second half to kill Diamonds spirit and went on to dominate the game adding a 3rd 5 minutes from the end.

Richard Maxwell had to bring in Hamilton Bunga and Dante Grey in place of missing Evangelinos Empochontsif and Ryan Hughes and Luis Pinto-Leite in place of injured Miguel Ngwa. Pinto-Leite played fullback with Kartell Dawkins slotting into midfield.

Stourbridge started brightly pressing Diamonds back but it was Diamonds who had the first chance. Jack Connor latched onto a great through ball on 4 minutes to slide his effort past the goalkeeper but saw it dramatically cleared off the line by a retreating defender.

Just 3 minutes later he got the goal he had deserved. A brilliant run by Andy Kanga skipping past 4 defenders saw him lay a perfectly weighted pass to Connor Tee who crossed low for Connor to turn home.

Stourbridge continued to press Diamonds back for much of the half but initially struggled to create chances against a resolute Diamonds defence. Jason Cowley was the biggest threat and he sneaked in behind a retreating defender only to see his effort slide past the far post on 22 minutes.

The same player latched onto a cutback on 27 mins to fire across goal from 15 yards but again just wide. He then hit the crossbar with a snap shot on 36 minutes after good work down the left.

Diamonds were largely reduced to hitting back on the break.  Andy Kanga came close to flicking Connor Tee’s cross home, Connor Tee shot from 25 yards which was saved by the away keeper, and Jack Connor had a close range effort blocked at the end of another swift break.

Stourbridge came close twice on 39 minutes with Joe Hull powering a header over the bar when everyone expected the net to bulge and Jason Cowley bundling home only to see an offside flag.

Half-time: Diamonds 1 Stourbridge 0

Stourbridge took just 45 seconds of the second half to get the equaliser they felt they had deserved with Reece King climbing to head home at the far post.

It got better for the Glassboys just 2 minutes later when Alex Moore smashed home from close range after Diamonds had failed to clear a dangerous ball in from the right.

Diamonds struggled to respond against a now rampant Stourbridge side in the pouring rain and had to work hard to stop the Glassboys adding to their tally. Connor Tee saw a 25 yard effort deflected over for Diamonds but rarely threatened the Stourbridge box.

Richard Maxwell made 3 attacking substitutions to try and change the tide with Jenson Cooper, Peter Abimbola for his debut and Chris Manangu all coming on but Diamonds were unable to handle the Stourbridge press and struggled to gain much in the way of attacking momentum and possession in the final third.

Nathan Hicks fired a 30 yard effort over the bar for Diamonds but Stourbridge always looked more likely to add to their tally. And they duly did on 85 minutes as Dexter Walters drove the ball home after a goalmouth scramble to clinch the three points.

Full-time: Diamonds 1 Stourbridge 3

This was a disappointing result for Diamonds especially after taking such an early lead into half-time. Stourbridge pressed Diamonds impressively throughout and the home side were unable to pass through the Glassboys and get players into space as they had done against Kings Langley. Stourbridge were just about held off in the first half with Diamonds at times good on the break but the two goals early in the second half seemed to kill Diamonds spirit. There was no lack of effort but too many players dipped in performance from recent weeks and they never really looked like getting back into the game.

Next up the trip to Hitchin on Monday night.

Man of the Match: Hamilton Bunga

Attendance: TBC

Match Report: Paul Judd

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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