AFC Rushden & Diamonds shared the spoils with Bugbrooke St Michaels at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening needing a late equaliser from Ben Morgan to preserve their unbeaten record in the ChromaSport and Trophies United Counties League Division One. Although the performance was improved over the performance on Saturday that yielded the same scoreline, with better finishing the Diamonds could have won the game.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer made a single change to the side that drew at the weekend, with Jake Newman starting up front at the expense of Jake Gillingwater. Ben Morgan started in a wide-right role, with Joe Merrill restored to the right-back position.
As on Saturday there was an early injury scare for Quincy Shorunmu, with lengthy treatment from Colin Hodsden after he took a heavy fall. Once again it looked like the effect of the knock might have affected his ability to challenge a Pete Smith corner hit into the area after six minutes, and Craig Hyde was allowed space and time to head home.
Ben Morgan settled quickly into his wide role, and he saw a dangerous ball towards goal headed away by the impressive Jamie Jollards.
Jake Newman was looking a handful for the Badgers defence, but he blazed over a good chance after a free-kick was cleared to his feet. Deven Ellwood and Jamie Gilsenan both had a chance to convert as the visitors struggled to clear a Newman effort, and then a good turn from Newman saw his effort blocked.
Badgers’ keeper Antonio Aguilar-Rohan saved well from Jack Wisniewski as the Diamonds battled for an equaliser, and then Wisniewski set up a chance for Newman that was fired wide. Ben Morgan also might have done better with a chance that he dragged wide, but it was not all one-way traffic and Hyde missed a chance for his second goal that looked easier to score than miss as the Diamonds defence once again failed to deal with a deal-ball situation allowing a corner from the right to be headed back across goal.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Bugbrooke St Michaels 1
The early stages of the second half were dominated by the Diamonds, with Ellwood going close after a fine turn and then seeing an overhead kick tipped over the bar. At the other end a slip by Aynsley McDonald saw Quincy Shorunmu rescue his team with a double save from Will Briscoe, and then a cross from Smith went over McDonald’s head to leave Lance Allen with an open goal, but he glanced his header wide.
Ellwood and Newman were continuing to harrass the Badgers’ defence, but with 10 minutes left it was Ben Morgan who fired the Diamonds level when his initial shot from a Sam Brown corner on the right was blocked, but latched onto the loose ball and fired low into the left-hand side of goal.
There was time for both sides to have a chance to win the game, with the impressive and hard-working Séan McBride firing wide and then Deven Ellwood seeing a shot deflected at close range, but it went straight into the keeper’s arms.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Bugbrooke St Michaels 1
The Diamonds travel to face Eynesbury Rovers in the UCL on Saturday.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match chosen by Match Sponsor Redwell and Waendel Leisure Centres: Sam Brown
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Bugbrooke St Michaels
13. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
6. Aynsley McDonald (Capt)
7. Ben Morgan
8. Jamie Gilsenan
9. Jake Newman
10. Deven Ellwood
11. Jack Wisniewski
12. Louis Smith
14. Jake Gillingwater (for Wisniewski 84)
15. Alex Deakin
16. Peter Okechukwu
17. Alex McDonald
1. Antonio Aguilar-Rohan
2. Ryan Nash
3. Jamie Jollands
4. Jimmy Moore
5. Jack Lee
6. Craig Hyde
7. Pete Smith (Capt)
8. Brad Janes
9. Will Briscoe
10. Lance Allen
11. Ryan Waldock.
12. Lee Wilson
14. Dan Carter
15. Josh Dawson (for Allen 90+4)
16. Thomas Murfitt (for Janes 88)
17. Damon Black (for Waldock 84)
Goal: Morgan (80)
Goal: Hyde (6)
Cards : None
Yellow Cards: Waldock, Hyde
Referee: Peter Moore
Assistants: Christopher Rath, John Fowler
For video highlights click here.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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