AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Beaconsfield SYCOB 1

AFC Rushden & Diamonds conceded a late equaliser as they drew 1-1 with Beaconsfield SYCOB at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon. Tommy Berwick had scored a fine goal towards the end of a lacklustre first half where the visitors had the better chances, but the Diamonds were made to pay for spurning a number of chances to make the game safe in the second period.

 

Diamonds Manager Andy Peaks fielded the same side that recorded a 4-0 victory in midweek, with new signing Edi Appleton joined on the bench by the returning Courtney Herbert. After tremendous work by the AFCRD and WTFC volunteers the game was able to go ahead despite the extensive damage following the recent fire.

The first half was a dour affair, with Matt Finlay being the busier keeper in the first 30 minutes. With the Diamonds attacking threat being very limited at this stage, the decision was made to allow Sam Brown to take a couple of throw-ins from the right-hand side, and these caused problems for the visiting defence, with a headed flick-ons from Tom Lorraine almost beating keeper Hazlett, and a rebound falling to Brad Harris whose efforts were blocked.

Three minutes before the break the Diamonds opened the scoring. After a free kick from Andy Hall had initially been cleared, the ball found the feet of Hall in the left channel, and his pinpoint cross-field ball was skilfully controlled by Tommy Berwick, who had made a neat break to beat the otherwise effective offside trap. Berwick then fired the ball low into the net through Hazlett’s legs. Berwick’s initial control was described as “Bergkamp-like” on the Diamonds’ Twitter feed, and few who witnessed it would disagree.

Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Beaconsfield SYCOB 0

The second period proved to be a more open game, with the Diamonds pressure creating a number of half-chances, notably resulting in flick-ons from Tom Lorraine that couldn’t quite find a white shirt in the penalty area. Claudiu Hoban was also able to find the by-line on several occasions before hitting crosses that again didn’t quite fall to a Diamonds attacker.

The visitors were also creating a number of chances, with Liam Dolman leading by example in blocking a goal-bound effort as well as marshalling fellow defenders and midfield support. Matt Finlay was forced into a number of saves and punched clearances as Beaconsfield threatened to get the goal that had eluded them during the first half. However, there was a major stroke of luck for the Diamonds defence after 70 minutes, when a ball into the area was sliced onto the Diamonds crossbar and away for a corner.

The Diamonds sole change of the game came after 75 minutes. Tommy Berwick was getting frustrated with the visitors’ efficient off-side trap, picking up a yellow card after showing this frustration by kicking the ball away. He was replaced by Courtney Herbert shortly afterwards, and Herbert then became involved in a series of link-up plays with his fellow forwards, helping to generate a chance for Lorraine which drew a save from Hazlett, with Hoban thwarted on the rebound. Although looking very lively, Herbert will have been disappointed he did not convert a chance where he broke clear but allowed Hazlett to close him down, forcing him to turn away from goal.

With other chances falling to Hall and Lorraine, there was a growing feeling the Diamonds might regret not making the game safe – and so it proved.

With just two minutes of normal time remaining the visitors won a corner which was not cleared by the home defence, falling to Aaron Berry who fired home.

There was still time for at least two good chances of a late winner, but both Herbert and Lorraine were unable to convert them.

Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Beaconsfield SYCOB 1

This was certainly a game where both managers might claim their side had the better of the chances over the 90 minutes, with the visitors certainly not showing any effects of a short-warm up due to several of their players being delayed on their way to the Dog & Duck.

There will be a chance for the Diamonds to narrow the gap to league leaders St Ives to a single point on Tuesday evening, when Leighton Town are the visitors. They then travel to Petersfield next weekend.

Diamonds Man of the Match Chosen by Match Sponsors Tec Trailers Ltd: Matt Finlay

Attendance: 445

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Beaconsfield SYCOB

17. Matt Finlay

2. Ollie Wilkinson

3. Sam Brown

4. Delroy Gordon

5. Liam Dolman

6. Brad Harris

7. Andy Hall

8. Richard Bunting (C)

9. Tom Lorraine

10. Tommy Berwick

11. Claudiu Hoban

Substitutes:

12. Lynval Da Costa

13. Alex Vitue

14. Courtney Herbert (for Berwick 75)

15. Edi Appleton

16. Joe Ackroyd

1. Brendan Hazlett

2. Tom Gant

3. Andy Dean

4. Tom Togwell (C)

5. Alex Murray

6. Gun Demuria

7. Aaron Minhas

8. Ash Artwell

9. Callum Bunting

10. Tris Campbell

11. Omari Patrick

Substitutes

12. Nathan Minhas

14. Jack Read (for Artwell 57)

15. Topz Fowodu (for Patrick 75)

16. Aaron Berry (for Bunting 68)

Goals: Berwick (42)

Goals: Berry (88)

Yellow Cards: Harris, Dolman, Berwick, Hall

Yellow Cards: Bunting

Red Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Referee: Scott Postin

Assistants: Jamie Tiff, Joe Clarke

 

 

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