AFC Rushden & Diamonds saw Huntingdon Town become the first team to inflict a league double over them as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening. It was a familiar story for the Diamonds, as they had enough chances to have won the game, hitting the post and bar as well as having two efforts ruled out for offside. The visitors were far more clinical with their finishing, with their two second half goals from Hyem and Rogers sealing the points, although Aaron King did net a consolation goal for the Diamonds with the last meaningful kick of the game.
Manager Mark Starmer sent out the same side that had drawn at Peterborough Northern Star, with Louis Smith joining the quartet on the bench.
The Diamonds could easily have been ahead after 3 minutes, when a low cross for Joe Merrill on the right was met by Alfie Taylor but his effort rebounded back off the bar. An early foul by Croms captain Hyem on Aaron King might have earned him an early booking, but referee Goode played advantage and then chose to take no further action. At the other end there were claims for handball by Jamal Clarke that fell into the “I’ve seen them given” category. Clarke saw his centre-back partner Alex Deakin have to leave the field 10 minutes before the break with a similar looking knock to the one he took on Saturday.
A move involving King and Koriya down the left saw the ball worked to Dunkley who netted, but was adjudged offside. Koriya also had an effort saved before he blazed over after a Brown throw was flicked into his path, and then on the half-hour mark he had another effort ruled out for offside, although the reaction of the Croms defenders suggested that they thought the goal would be given. Koriya and Dunkley linked up a few minutes later, with a Dunkley flick into the path of Koriya, who tried to execute a lob whilst at full pace, and saw the ball go over the bar. Koriya also made a run across the face of the area where he shrugged off a tackle that, had he gone down, might have seen a spot-kick awarded.
Chances were increasingly rare for the visitors with an effort from Hyem going wide just before the break.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Huntingdon Town 0
The second half started with more Diamonds pressure, with a Dunkley effort from a King pass tipped wide via a low diving save by Trebes, who then caught a powerful shot from Merrill.
It was thus against the run of play that the visitors took the lead after 52 minutes as they broke down the right and a ball into the box from Bexfield was volleyed home by Micky Hyem. Declan Rogers had a goal disallowed after he handled in the build up.
The Diamonds continued to press without success, and Russ Dunkley appeared to be pushed as he ran into the area. Dunkley then found space on the left of the area, but his low cross was cleared. Alfie Taylor was having a quiet game, with defenders moving quickly to block his efforts, although he saw a Gearing cross narrowly elude him. When Sam Brown hit the post with an angled shot it began to look certain it wasn’t to be the Diamonds day, and this was confirmed a couple of minutes later when confusion in the Diamonds defence, when either Brown or Cross might have put the ball into the hotel car park, allowed Declan Rogers a simple chance with Cross out of position.
Aaron King saw a close range shot tipped wide after good work from Dunkley and Taylor, but in the fifth minute of added time the Diamonds finally saw that executing a quick shot would pay dividends, as Aaron King chested down and fired home a consolation goal after Dunkley headed on a long ball from Sam Brown. That goal also meant that the Diamonds preserved their record of scoring in every senior game they have played at the Dog & Duck.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Huntingdon Town 2
The Diamonds host Cogenhoe United on Saturday.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Tom Cross
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Jamal Clarke
6. Alex Deakin
7. Matt Gearing
8. Aaron King
9. Russ Dunkley
10. Alfie Taylor
11. Fazel Koriya
12. Arron Parkinson (for Deakin 35)
13. Adam Whybrow
14. Louis Smith
15. Brad Harris (for Clarke 65)
16. Ben Morgan (for Koriya 83)
1. Tim Trebes
2. Pat Bexfield
3. Miles Smith
4. Victor Caturla Torres
5. Charlie De’ath
6. Billy Oliver
7. Declan Rogers
8. Micky Hyem (c)
9. Niks Savalnieks
10. Ben Seymour-Shove
11. Curtis Fulcher
12. Stuart Eason (for Savalnieks 62)
14. Jamie Graham
15. Ashley Yeomans
16. Ollie Medwynter
Goals: King (90+5)
Goals: Hyem(52), Rogers(79)
Yellow Cards: Merrill
Yellow Cards: Bexfield, Smith, Oliver, Trebes.
Referee: Mr Chris Goode
Assistant Referees: Mr Peter Wilson & Mr Paul Jackson