Diamonds suffered a first defeat of the season at Hayden Road as Beaconsfield Town came from behind with two second half goals to secure a 2-1 victory.
A massive downpour pre-game made the pitch slick and it was Beaconsfield who took full advantage with a positive opening 25 minutes where they dominated possession and created some good shooting positions that should have earned early goals. Diamonds were just getting some forward momentum for the first time when they earned a penalty on 29. Nabil Shariff was bundled over deep inside the area but it was Liam Dolman who stepped up and crashed his well struck effort off the bottom of the right-hand post. Diamonds had their best spell of the game up to half-time and scored what we thought would be the vital opening goal on 37. Joe Curtis whipped a corner into the danger area where Darryl Smith got a firm header into the far corner. Other chances came for Nabil Shariff denied on a 1 on 1 with the keeper and Claudiu Hoban denied by a full length diving save by the away keeper.
The second half started as the first had with Diamonds struggling to maintain the momentum in their play with Beaconsfield better in passing and movement and closing down. Chances were still at a premium but the sense was that Beaconsfield were well in the game and they got the equaliser they deserved on 64. Possession was earnt in midfield and played out to the left where an early deep cross found Elliott Carey on the far post to head home. Diamonds weren’t able to change the momentum of the game despite substitutions and re-organisation and it felt no great surprise when Beaconsfield grabbed what would the winning goal on 84. Losasso was found in the left of the box, turned inside his man and struck under Ben Heath. Diamonds had lacked urgency and intensity and had become a little sloppy in their play in the second half and were unable to make any impression on an enterprising and impressive Beaconsfield side who thoroughly deserved their win.
Diamonds remain in the play-off places given other results but will be concentrating on an exciting FA Cup trip to Step 2 opposition in Alfreton Town next weekend.
Full Match Report
AFC Rushden’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Saturday as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Beaconsfield Town at Hayden Road. A first half header from winger Darryl Smith sent Diamonds into the lead at the break; despite being on the back foot for the majority of the game. However, two goals in the second half from striker Elliot Carey and winger Charlie Losasso ensured the Rams completed the comeback to doom Diamonds to defeat.
Andy Peaks was forced to make two changes from the side that beat Tividale in the FA Cup last weekend. Right back Callum Westwood – who went off with a hamstring injury against Tividale – missed out and was replaced by Blaize Punter, and Claudiu Hoban started at right wing in place of Joel Gyasi who was ruled out with a hip injury. Richard Bunting, Tom Lorraine and Luke Fairlamb all made returns to the squad as they recover from their respective injuries.
The first chance of the game came for Nabil Shariff two minutes in. Defender Sam Brown looped a long throw-in from the left, and after initially being flicked on by a defender, Shariff tried to loop his header over the keeper but headed too high. However, this was one of few chances for Diamonds as the visitors dominated much of the possession.
Losasso’s free kick from 20 yards was bent just past Ben Heath’s inside post on four minutes. Moments later, it was Losasso with the chance again asBeaconsfieldbroke on a counter attack but the winger’s 25-yard low hit flew inches wide.
Diamonds almost got a stroke of fortune on 13 minutes. Joe Curtis’s in-swinging corner from the right was missed by the defender and the ball hit Shariff in the chest before bouncing into the keeper’s arms.
Ben Heath pulled off a marvellous point-blank save on 19 minutes as a cross from the right wing was headed at the far post by Spencer Bellotti. A minute later, full back Omar Vassell pushed forward and dragged his left footed shot wide after cutting inside from the right.
There could have been two freak goals in the first half for Diamonds, this time from Ford’s cross from the left. The defender sliced the clearance and the ball looped behind him but the keeper held the ball to spare his colleague’s blushes.
Diamonds were awarded a penalty on 28 minutes as Shariff was bundled over in the area by Eccleston. However, Dolman’s low spot-kick hit the outside of the right hand post and bounced away to the right wing. Beaconsfieldmade a substitution in between the awarding and taking of the penalty, with Aaron Morgan replacing Bellotti who had picked up a knock.
Diamonds dominated the rest of the first half, and had a number of chances in quick succession just over half an hour into the game. Shariff was played through on goal before some good defending denied his shot. Moments later, Curtis’s corner from the left was headed over by Dolman.
The Diamonds pressure paid off on 37 minutes when they opened the scoring. Curtis swung another corner in from the right, and Smith rose to head past the goalkeeper; who came to meet the ball but was blocked by his own players.
With six minutes left of the first half, Diamonds had a great chance for a second. Shariff found himself one-on-one with James Norris in goal but the onrushing keeper managed to get down well to meet Shariff’s effort.
And Norris once again denied Diamonds from furthering their lead three minutes later, as a lovely one-two between Hoban and Shariff gave the former space to try curl one into the far corner but the keeper pulled off a wonderful diving save to deny the Romanian his second goal of the season.
Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-0Beaconsfield Town
A minute into the second half, Diamonds had their first effort. Chris Dillon played Shariff into the box who then laid back to Ford to cross in. The full back’s cross was headed as far as Hoban who hit the ball first time which flew inches wide.
Three minutes later, Losasso had another good long range effort from 25 yards, but his dipping shot narrowly flew over the bar. On 59 minutes, substitute Morgan toe poked a powerful standing effort from 18 yards which was well saved by Heath.
Just after the hour mark, right winger Andre Costa cut inside before firing over from the edge of the area. Two minutes later, Morgan was played through again but he could only fire past the near post.
The visitor’s pressure finally paid off on 64 minutes. Losasso’s cross from the left found Carey a couple of yards out by the back post to bundle the ball across the line to bring the game level.
Diamonds made their first changes on 69 minutes. Luke Fairlamb and Fernando Bell-Toxtle came on for Hoban and Brown; who seemed to have picked up a knock. Brown’s departure meant that Punter replaced him at centre back, with Ben Farrell moving to right back and Bell-Toxtle filling in for Farrell in centre midfield.
On 74 minutes, Dillon managed to play Shariff into the box, who managed to get a shot away under pressure from a tight angle which was saved and held by Norris.
With ten minutes remaining, Bell-Toxtle conceded a free kick in a dangerous area after Punter had given the ball away in the hosts half. The resulting free kick bounced off the wall before being headed back into the box, but the Diamonds defence froze as the ball bounced, giving Eccleston a free half-volley which flew just wide.
Bell-Toxtle fired wide from 20 yards after Smith managed to make up for an error before passing to Shariff who laid off for the young midfielder to set his sights.
Diamonds made their final change with seven minutes remaining, withLorrainecoming on for Dillon. The visitors also brought on Kofi Lockhart-Adams for Costa.
However, moments later, Beaconsfieldtook the lead. Losasso worked his way into the box before calmly slotting past Heath with just six minutes until the final whistle.
Diamonds had a free kick on the edge of the area with five minutes to go. Curtis poked the ball to Dolman to fire a shot which deflected off the wall and out to the channel.
As the game fizzled out, tempers were raised going into stoppage time. The referee had words with numerous players and members of coaching staff from both sides. Ben Ford picked up a booking in the process.
Once play had resumed, five minutes into stoppage time the visitors made their final change of the game. Morgan – who had already come on himself as a substitute – was replaced by Jordan Ajanlekoko, minutes before the referee called a halt to proceedings to ensure Diamonds first defeat of the season.
Full-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-2 Beaconsfield Town
Match Report by Adam Benney
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
13. Ben Heath
2. Blaize Punter
3. Ben Ford
4. Sam Brown
5. Liam Dolman (c)
6. Ben Farrell
7. Claudiu Hoban
8. Joe Curtis
9. Chris Dillon
10. Nabil Shariff
11. Darryl Smith
12. Richard Bunting
14. Tom Lorraine (on for Dillon, 84)
15. Luke Fairlamb (on for Hoban, 70)
16. Fernando Bell-Toxtle (on for Brown, 70)
17. Matt Finlay
1. James Norris
2. Omar Vassell
3. Scott Cousins
4. Jerome Eccleston
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly
7. Andre Costa
8. Stefan Powell
9. Spencer Bellotti
10. Elliot Carey
11. Charlie Losasso
12. Jordan Ajanlekoko (on for Morgan, 90+5)
14. Callum Mapley
15. Aaron Minhas
16. Aaron Morgan (on for Bellotti, 29)
17. Kofi Lockhart-Adams (on for Costa, 84)
Goals: Smith (37)
Goals: Carey (64), Losasso (84)
Yellow cards: Smith (54), Ford (90)
Referee: Mr Oliver Mackey
Assistants: Mr James Watkins
Mr Naji Naji
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