AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hanwell Town 0

AFC Rushden & Diamonds got back to winning ways with a hard fought 1 0 win against Hanwell Town on Saturday afternoon.

Without top scorer Tom Lorraine and losing key recent signing Eliot Sandy to a head injury after just 19 minutes Diamonds relied on pacey wing play from Andy Hall and Claudiu Hoban and willing running by Robbie Parsons, Jon Stevenson and Lewis Leslie. They started well and took a deserved lead on 19 minutes. Claudiu Hoban’s right wing corner came back to him and he hit a fierce shot that deflected high in the air. Liam Dolman made it his and he powered his header home from close range for his 20th Diamonds goal.

Sandy went off after the goal with head injury that saw paramedics called as a precaution but he was able to walk off under his own steam after excellent care from Diamonds physio’s.

Diamonds pressed early in the second half but struggled to create too many clear cut chances although a number of dangerous breaks by Hall, Parsons, Hoban and Leslie were repelled at full stretch by excellent Hanwell defending. It was the away side who played on Diamonds nerves given their recent run to mount a late challenge. They created some good shooting chances in and around the box that were repelled by solid Diamonds defensive challenges and headers by Ashton, Kennedy, Dolman and Jason Lee.

Diamonds held on to keep their play-off hopes alive and with defeats for Chalfont St. Peter, Aylesbury and Northwood below Diamonds and Royston above and a draw for St. Ives the play-off picture is looking a lot better for Diamonds tonight.


Manager Andy Peaks made two changes to his midweek starting eleven. Jon Stevenson came in for the injured Tom Lorraine, and Lewis Leslie replaced James Jepson who dropped to the bench. Tom Liversedge made his return to first team action with a place on the bench alongside Robbie Parsons. 

Diamonds started brightly on a breezy overcast afternoon as they looked to bounce back from the disappointment of midweek defeat at Arlesey Town. Lewis Leslie and Eliot Sandy were looking dangerous trying to get onto balls played into the left channel, and it was Sandy who found Claudiu Hoban on 5 for the first chance of the game. The winger jinked past one defender but was felled by a second earning a free-kick on the edge of the area. It was swung in deep and came so close to finding Jack Ashton with his trademark far post run.

Hanwell still looking for the points to keep them distanced from the relegation zone were also positive going forward and particularly dangerous from set-pieces. An early corner was just cleared by Brad Harris as a Hanwell defender closed in, and a free-kick was only half cleared to Sam Hurrell who shot first time from 30 yards but well over.

Diamonds built some momentum again around the 15 minute mark with Harris combining with Lewis Leslie to get the attacking midfielder through into the box, he managed to get the ball back to Eliot Sandy 10 yards out but he was crowded out.

And the opening goal Diamonds so desperately wanted came just 4 minutes later. A trademark Liam Dolman 50 yard pass to the overlapping Connor Kennedy was just headed behind by the Hanwell fullback. Claudiu Hoban’s corner came back allowing him to break into the box and fire an effort that deflected high in the air towards Liam Dolman who powered the ball into the bottom corner.

Eliot Sandy picked up a head injury in the build-up and left the field with a bloody nose to be replaced by Robbie Parsons. Paramedics were called as a precaution but after observation and treatment Sandy was able to walk off with his team mates at half-time.

Diamonds pressed for the remainder of the half without creating the clear cut chances that would help them clinch the game. Hall, Kennedy and Leslie combined well on 28 to find Parsons with back to goal deep in the area but he was muscled out with just a hint of a pulled shirt.

Connor Kennedy overlapping again on 33 earned a corner that found Lewis Leslie at the near post his flicked header just cleared away at the far post.

Further corners won by the pace of Andy Hall and Robbie Parsons and Connor Kennedy all looked dangerous without the ball falling for that killer chance. The best saw Jack Ashton head back towards the penalty spot on 43 where Jason Lee hooked his effort goal ward but it curled just wide.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 – Hanwell Town – 0

With the loss of Tom Lorraine pre-match and Eliot Sandy in the first half Diamonds had no target man and had to rely on pacey wing play from Andy Hall and Claudiu Hoban and willing running from Robbie Parsons, Jon Stevenson and Lewis Leslie.

They came close to breaking down a resolute defence a number of times in the early period of the second half but again were unable to quite create the killer chances.

Jon Stevenson put Robbie Parsons away on 48 with a great touch and through ball, the young striker just muscled out. And Parsons created his own opening on 53 with a lovely touch and turn into the box great cover defence again seeing the danger away for Hanwell.

Andy Hall got in on the act on 55 surging away down the right his ball in towards Jon Stevenson just claimed by Hanwell keeper Martin Herdman.

Hanwell were increasingly growing into the game though as Diamonds started to sit a little deeper. Hurrell had a good chance on 62 after a lovely patient build-up creating space for himself in the box he fired hard and low from an angle but Matt Finlay held well.

Diamonds responded with a Claudiu Hoban break which produced a dangerous cross again well held by Herdman, and another break by Robbie Parsons which produced a corner that just evaded the leap of Jason Lee at the far post. Shawn Richards introduced in place of Andy Hall also broke well onto a Stevenson through ball on 72 his turn and attempted return ball just blocked

But it was Hanwell who started to dominate possession in midfield in the latter stages creating a number of good shooting chances around the box but they were unable to penetrate the area thanks to excellent blocking defence from by Ashton, Dolman, Kennedy and one great defensive header from Jason Lee.

Claudiu Hoban again relieved the pressure with a quick break earning a free-kick which taken quickly found him in space but he was flagged off-side. And Shawn Richards showed great trickery to get away down the right eventually earning a free-kick that was cleared by Hanwell at full stretch as Jon Stevenson closed in.

The final moments were breathless and nervous for the home faithful as Diamonds closed in on that first home win in 3. Corners and long throw-ins making the nerves jangle but great blocks by Jack Ashton and Connor Kennedy repelled Hanwell at the death.

Full-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 – Hanwell Town 0

This was a vital win for Diamonds earned off the back of good first half performance that produce the deserved opening goal. The loss of Lorraine and Sandy meant Diamonds had to play the second half without a target man which limited their chances despite good pacey play by Robbie Parsons, Andy Hall and Claudiu Hoban. The win was cemented by a solid defensive performance against an enterprising Hanwell Town who have been beaten by the odd goal in two competitive close games by Diamonds this season.

Defeats for Chalfont St. Peter, Aylesbury and Northwood below Diamonds and Royston above and a draw for St. Ives means this win has vastly improved the play-off picture for Diamonds.

Next up is the visit of Barton Rovers on Tuesday night before the almost certainly crucial trip to league leaders Egham Town next Saturday.

Man of the Match: Connor Kennedy

Attendance: 532

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Hanwell Town

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Connor Kennedy

3.   Jason Lee

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Brad Harris

7.   Andy Hall

8.   Lewis Leslie

9.   Eliot Sandy

10. Jon Stevenson

11. Claudiu Hoban


12.  Shawn Richards (for Hall 69)

13.  Alex Vitue

14.  Robbie Parsons (for Sandy 23)

15.  James Jepson

16.  Tom Liversedge (for Parsons 88)

1.   Martin Herdman

2.   Ryan Kinnane

3.   Joe Chandiram

4.   Tom Duffy

5.   Calum Duffy

6.   Michael Buckley

7.   Sam Hurrell

8.   Oliver Duffy

9.   Danilson Vicente

10. Connor Duffy

11. Bradley Simmonds


12. Ryan Egan (for Vicente 58)

14. Ahmed Mohammed

15. Gavin Hinds-Cadette

Goals: Dolman (19)


Yellow Card: Leslie (82)

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee:  Akil Howson

Assistants:  Stuart Wade, Keith Smith


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