Saturday 20 July 2013 (Pre-season Friendly)
Diamonds managed to gain a 1-1 draw against Conference North side Brackley Town as they continued their pre-season schedule. Having played several away games, this was the first of three home friendly games at the Dog & Duck.
Saints Assistant Manager Darren Collins took charge in the absence of Jon Brady, and several former RDFC players were on show including Brett Solkhon, Gary Mulligan and Marvin Robinson.
Mark Starmer made a few changes with trialists Ashley Deeney, Jamal Clarke and former Sileby centre-half Dan Chilton together in the back four with Jake Gillingwater at left back making his first start of the pre-season. Alfie Taylor and Russ Dunkley played up front, with Aaron King and Sean McBride played in central midfield, and Jack Wisniewski and Fazel Koriya on the flanks. Tom Cross continued in goal.
Brackley had the first couple of chances as Izak Reid caused some disquiet in the Diamonds defence. His early cross beat the keeper at the near post, but Dan Chilton cleared the danger. Eric Odhiambo and Brett Solkhon both had chances for the visitors, while Alfie Taylor had a good effort saved by Ben McNamara. Reid had a good chance blocked from an Eric Odhiambo corner, with Charlie Griffin flicking the loose ball onto the crossbar and back into the hands of Tom Cross.
On 26 minutes however, it was Diamonds who went in front as Aaron King played a searching ball into the area. Under a challenge form Wisniewski, the keeper lost the ball and it broke out to Fazel Koriya on the left, who slotted the ball home.
Brackley continued to attack and twice, Glenn Walker’s shots were blocked away. Then on 34 minutes, Reid’s cross from the right found Brett Solkhon in space to head the ball down past Cross.
Diamonds kept the same side for the start of the second half, with the Saints bringing on Gary Mulligan, Marvin Robinson and Elliot Sandy. Eddie Nisevic fired just wide as Brackley started to get on top and move the ball around. Sandy forced a great save from Cross, who tipped the ball over the bar as they continued to press for a winner. Diamonds defence managed to keep them out though and remained steadfast as Sandy and Steve Towers both had further chances.
As the half progressed, all six substitutes were given an outing and as the game entered the final minute, they had a chance to nick it at the death as Nat Liburd got around the Brackley defence, but no-one was able to connect with his dangerous cross.
It proved to be a good workout against a strong Brackley squad who were quick on the ball. Diamonds next pre-season game is against Ampthill Town of the South Midlands League Premier Division at Ampthill Park on Tuesday evening (7:45pm ko).
AFC Rushden & Diamonds:: 17/Tom Cross, 2/Ashley Deeney, 3/Jake Gillingwater, 4/Sean McBride, 5/Dan Chilton, 6/Jamal Clarke, 7/Jack Wisniewski, 8/Aaron King, 9/Russ Dunkley (c), 10/Alfie Taylor, 11/Fazel Koriya.
Subs: 15/Nat Liburd for Koriya 56, 12/Matt Gearing for Wisniewski 67, 18/Elliot Dent for Gillingwater 69, 14/Ben Morgan for Taylor 77, 17/Quincy Shorunmu for Cross 77, 16/Daniel Grainger for King 83.
Brackley Town: 1/Ben McNamara, 2/Neil Cartwright, 3/Eddie Nisevic, 4/Eddie Odhiambo (c), 5/Tom Sharpe, 6/Curtis McDonald, 7/Eric Odhiambo, 8/Brett Solkhon, 9/Izak Reid, 10/Charlie Griffin, 11/Glenn Walker.
Subs: 16/Gary Mulligan for Solkhon 46, 18/Elliot Sandy for Griffin 46, 20/Marvin Robinson for Reid 46, 14/Steve Towers for Cartwright 60, 15/James Sage for Sharpe 66, 12/Matthew Johnson for Walker 77.
Goals: Fazel Koriya 26 (1-0); Brett Solkhon 34 (1-1).