AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Burton Park Wanderers 1
AFC Rushden & Diamonds shared the spoils with Burton Park Wanderers at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon. Jack Wisniewski had given the Diamonds the lead on the stroke of half-time before an equaliser from Kevin Fox and some excellent goalkeeping by Liam Fox meant that afternoon ended in disappointment.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer was able to name the side that defeated Yaxley in the FA Vase, with youngster Liam Bond being added to the substitutes. This meant that Alfie Taylor was missing his first league game, having scored in all the league games to date.
The Diamonds had the best of the early action, with Joe Merrill getting in a dangerous cross from the left after he had taken a corner, with Deven Ellwood setting up Chris Hope for a shot that only narrowly missed the target.
The first attack from the visitors saw Leigh Chapman mishit an effort that almost seemed to fool Quincy Shorunmu, but it bobbled past the left post. Quincy needed lengthy attention from Colin Hodsden, and without a keeper on the bench Jake Gillingwater was about to be prepared to take over between the sticks before the signal was given that the Diamonds keeper could continue despite the pain.
Jamie Gilsenan is a constant threat from just outside the opponents area, and after 16 minutes his shot looked goalbound before hitting Tolton on the backside. For the Diamonds Ben Morgan had a chance to convert a cross from the right, but appeared to get an unlucky bobble before he struck the shot.
With 30 minutes on the clock there were strong penalty claims when Jack Wisniewski appeared to be pushed in the area, but if the Diamonds were unlucky there, they had a couple of slices of luck shortly afterwards as their opponents hit the crossbar from a Chapman chip and then Whiteman hit the post.
Visiting keeper Liam Fox was starting to frustrate the Diamonds saving from Ellwood and Morgan, with the latter save following a powerful run from Morgan down the right. Morgan then broke clear as Chris Hope headed a goalkick from Fox back up field, but his effort was wide.
Just as it looked like the first half would end without a goal the Diamonds got the breakthrough when Morgan found Jack Wisniewski on the left side of the area, and the ex-Wanderers player was able to slide the ball home.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Burton Park Wanderers 0
The Diamonds started the second-half with much more attacking intent, and Deven Ellwood fired narrowly wide before Jake Gillingwater forced an excellent fingertip save from Liam Fox.
However, the visitors were allowed respite from this pressure when Chris Hope was left lying dazed at the edge of the visitors area after contending a high ball, but after lengthy treatment from Colin Hodsden he was able to continue.
Shortly afterwards the Wanderers scored an equalising goal after winning a free-kick and seeing an effort from Kevin Fox loop over Shorunmu and into the net.
Much of the remainder of the game seemed to be the Diamonds failing to find a way past Liam Fox, with a combination of good saves and shots that were hit straight at the visiting keeper. It was Chris Hope who came the closest when neat work from Ellwood on the right saw Hope’s effort loop and spin over Fox’s head onto the far post.
Jake Newman joined the action for the Diamonds, and seemed to take a while to adjust to the visitor’s off-side trap, with the linesman’s flag disallowing one effort and halting other moves. Chris Hope also found the net with a header, but the linesman’s flag was raised before the ball crossed the line. Newman was able to force a great save from Fox when he got on the end of a Ben Morgan cross from the right after excellent work from Jake Gillingwater to win the ball near the touchline. At the other end the Diamonds survived a goal-mouth scramble as Shorunmu came to the edge of his area to attempt a clearance and ended up making two further stops as the defence struggled to get the ball under their control.
With the Diamonds having gone to three at the back, Deven Ellwood had to race 50 yards to get in a tackle when Chapman broke forwards and threatened to get a winner for the visitors.
Liam Fox also saved from Wisniewski and Ben Morgan fired wide after being set up by Chris Hope, then, as the game neared the fifth minute of added time, Jake Newman did really well to beat a defender near the by-line, but rather than hitting the low cross the situation demanded he fired high and wide.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Burton Park Wanderers 1
The Diamonds have further UCL action at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday when they host high-flying Bugbrooke St Michaels.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Deven Ellwood
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Burton Park Wanderers
13. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
6. Aynsley McDonald (Capt)
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Jamie Gilsenan
9. Ben Morgan
10. Deven Ellwood
11. Joe Merrill
12. Alex Deakin (for Ellwood 90+2)
14. George Cox (for Gilsenan 76)
15. Louis Smith
16. Jake Newman (for Brown 65)
17. Liam Bond
1. Liam Fox
2. Andy Dobbs
3. Jake Wesby
4. Chris Davies
5. Mick Tolton
6. Duncan Charles
7. Jedd Whiteman
8. Liam Hanley
9. Leigh Chapman
10. Kevin Fox
11. Danny Hockridge
12. Wayne Brown (for Whiteman 83)
14. Sam Northern (for Wesby 63)
15. Nathan Chapman
16. Will Asenso
17. Steffan Baillie (for K Fox 74)
Goal: Wisniewski (45+2)
Goals: K Fox (52)
Cards : None
Yellow Card: K Fox
Referee: Robert Porter
Assistants: Charlie Ross, Russell Sykes
See here for video highlights.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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