AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Holbeach United 1

Diamonds extend unbeaten league run to eight matches!

Despite taking the lead as early as the eighth minute with a thunderous shot from Liam Dolman Diamonds were made to pay for not taking their chances when Holbeach United converted a penalty kick in added on time in the first half to prevent Diamonds from taking all three points in the top of the table clash at the Dog and Duck on Saturday.

Diamonds are still shining brightly at the top of the table by a goal difference of six goals but supporters will have left the match disappointed that all three points had not been won. October has been a good month for Diamonds with five home victories and a draw, sixteen valuable points, twenty six goals scored with only four conceded! Diamonds have now gone eight league matches undefeated and are still to lose at home this season!

Manager Andy Peaks made two changes from the side which had beaten AFC Kempston Rovers by 5 – 1 on Tuesday replacing Adam Confue  for Jamal Clarke with Brad Harris switching to right back and Joel Gyasi for Elliott – Lamb Johnson who had suffered an accident at work. Jason Turner, Scott Joseph, Jamal Clarke, Sam Brown and keeper Josh Thomson made up the impressive Diamonds bench. Thomson was stepping up from the Diamonds U21 side, with Quincy Shorunmu having played for the U21s in their earlier victory.

Diamonds started brightly, a quick break down  the right from Joel Gyasi found Fazel Koriya whose corner forced `Tigers` keeper Nick Conroy to punch away under pressure from Tom Lorraine. A free kick on the edge of the area gave Diamonds their early lead, Richard Bunting tapped the ball sideways to Liam Dolman who thumped the ball past the helpless keeper with a slight deflection off the `Tigers` wall, giving Diamonds the lead they could have expected to build upon.

Russell Dunkley was getting on the end of a lot of crosses particularly from the right hand side of Joel Gyasi and minutes after the goal he flicked on another cross to Tom Lorraine whose fearsome shot was blocked for a corner from which Captain Arron Parkinson forced a desperate clearance from an anxious` Tigers` defender. Holbeach threatened after Parkinson headed out a corner straight to Jamie Clarke whose shot was fortunately hit wide and Jake Duffy followed suit minutes later, hitting another promising opportunity well wide for Holbeach.

A dangerous ball from Adam Confue across the goal threatened but no Diamonds were close enough to get boot on it then minutes later loud appeals from the Diamonds bench were waved away by the referee after it had appeared as though Tom Lorraine had been upended in the area. Joel Gyasi was causing all sorts lots of problems down the right for Holbeach with his pace and crosses with Dunkley and Lorraine having a number of headed efforts either saved or going wide of the goal courtesy of Joel’s crosses.

Dunkley smashed another free kick into the wall moments before the persistence of Joel Gyasi forced a mistake from `Tigers` defender Ollie Pinner, losing the wall on the edge of his area and forcing a desperate clearance form keeper Conroy to clear the danger. Soon after Joel Gyasi broke free of his marker once again and hit a sweet shot which unfortunately came back off the keeper’s right hand post bouncing safely to the boot of a Holbeach defender, much to the dismay of the Diamonds faithful!

Tom Lorraine forced an excellent one handed save from Conroy on 42 but then Holbeach began to put some late pressure on the Diamonds goal. A quick break on the left found Lee Beeson whose shot was scrambled off the line and far post by a desperate Jack Ashton. Desperate defending resulted in the ball being pumped back  into the area where Liam Dolman was judged to have fouled Beeson.

Matt Finlay made a terrific attempt at saving the penalty but was unlucky to push the ball back out to penalty taker Lee Beeson who was able to knock the ball past a prostrate Finlay giving `Tigers` a fortunate equaliser at the interval.

Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1  Holbeach United 1 

Holbeach looked a much more confident team in the second half, an early cross form the right produced a shot from `Tigers`Jamie Clarke which came back off the post having beaten Finlay in the Diamonds goal.

A couple of headed efforts from Russell Dunkley and Arron Parkinson over the crossbar and another past the keeper`s far post promised more goals but it was not to be! Richard Bunting was sandwiched between two `Tigers` and the Koriya free kick found the head of Parkinson whose header was fumbled by the keeper then collected safely!

A fantastic run from Gyasi provided a perfect cross for Russell Dunkley whose header went narrowly past the post and the striker was unlucky minutes later when a cross from partner Lorraine had Dunkley diving fall length to put his header past the post as Diamonds looked for the winning goal. `Tigers` Adeji was presented with another clear opportunity on goal but hit a strong shot wide of the post after the close attention of Brad Harris.

Fazel Koriya found himself with a one on one with keeper Conroy but his attempted chip over the keeper was just a little too short, enough for the keeper to block and punch away. Another  attempted Joel Gyasi cross was deflected for a corner from which Liam Dolman forced a save low to the ground from a weak header.

Adam Confue provided Russell Dunkley with the chance to chest down a pass for Fazel Koriya whose first time effort went narrowly wide of the post as both teams looked for a winner. Holbeach almost snatched the game but both Parkinson and keeper Finlay blocked a fearsome shot from Livo Dube.

`Tigers` Daniel Spencer was given a yellow card right at the end of the game after an unsavoury assorted melee of players and management officials threatened to undermine what had been a highly competitive and entertaining game of football.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1  Holbeach United 1

Having won all of their previous six league games at home scoring an average of four goals a game there was a huge expectancy on Diamonds to complete a similar victory over their nearest rivals but Holbeach had only lost two games themselves this season and were on top of the table until last weekend!

A goal from Liam Dolman early in the game was expected to open the floodgates but Holbeach proved to be a very organised team thwarting Diamonds at every opportunity, making the home side work for every ball. Diamonds had some clear cut goal scoring opportunities, hitting the post from a Joel Gyasi shot and a number of fine saves from Holbeach keeper Nick Conroy, from the head of Russell Dunkley on at least four occasions, Arron Parkinson, Fazel Koriya and Tom Lorraine. Holbeach also tested the Diamonds defence on a number of occasions and will feel they played well enough to earn their point.

It was wonderful to see Max Griggs and Steven Griggs watching the match at the invitation of AFC Rushden & Diamonds. It was the first time Max and his family had been to watch AFC Rushden & Diamonds. We hope that the Griggs family enjoyed the game and we look forward to seeing them again sometime in the near future.

Attendance: 729

Man of the Match (courtesy of match sponsors Hampton and Johnson Ltd) Adam Confue

Match Report By: Jim Davis


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Holbeach United

17.Matt Finlay

2. Brad Harris

3. Jack Ashton

4. Adam Confue

5. Liam Dolman

6. Arron Parkinson (Captain)

7. Joel Gyasi

8. Richard Bunting

9. Russell Dunkley

10. Tom Lorraine

11. Fazel Koriya


12. Jason Turner (for Lorraine 77)

13. Josh Thomson (GK)

14. Jamal Clarke

15. Sam Brown

16. Scott Joseph

1. Nick Conroy

2. David Deeney

3. Craig Parker

4. Ollie Pinner

5. Jonathan Allen

6. Daniel Spencer (Captain)

7. Lee Beeson

8. Jake Duffy

9. Aaron Preston

10. Jamie Clarke

11. Edward Adeji


12. Stacey Cartwright (for Ollie Pinner 44mins)

14. Cory King

15. Daniel Steadman

16. Jake Gibson (for Lee Beeson 74mins)

17. Livo Dube (for Aaron Preston 64mins)

Goals: Liam Dolman 8mins

Goals: Lee Beeson 45mins

Yellow Cards: Dolman 74mins

Yellow Cards: Daniel Spencer 93mins

Red Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Referee: Kevin Saunby

Assistants: Peter Wilson, Mark Connolly



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