AFC Rushden & Diamonds defeated Potton United 1-0 at the Dog and Duck on Tuesday evening. In a hugely forgettable game, Jack Wisniewski slid home the sole goal of the game after 31 minutes. The major concern arising from the game was the Diamonds injury list, with Sam Brown picking up a knock in the first half. Arron Parkinson picking up a nose injury, and Joe Merrill struggling at the end of the game.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer rang the changes in preparation for the loss of Séan McBride for the following 3 games. Aaron King took the number 4 shirt, with Brad Harris restored to the side after sitting out the game at the weekend. Joe Merrill returned to the starting line-up with Jake Gillimgwater absent, and up front the partnership of Taylor and Newman was reinstated.
This was a game of few chances, with Potton playing a solid 4-5-1 formation that contained much of the Diamonds attacking threat. After a very quiet opening 20 minutes, Aaron King livened the game up with a forceful run past three players before setting up Jake Newman, but the linesman’s flag was up before the Diamonds’ striker slotted home.
King was fouled towards the left corner of the penalty area, and Matt Gearing’s free kick produced one of the few saves of the evening from keeper Loney.
With 31 minutes on the clock the decisive goal came when a ball forward from Sam Brown found Jake Newman wide on the left, and he took the ball towards the byline before hitting a powerful low cross that keeper Loney could only deflect into the path of Jack Wisniewski who tapped the ball home.
Jake Newman was able to repeat his cross along the six-yard line a few minutes later, but this time Alfie Taylor could not make contact.
The only other action in the first half was a neat move started by Alfie Taylor with Aaron King setting up Matt Gearing whose effort was cleared.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Potton United 0
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the Diamonds main threat coming via the runs of Aaron King, and he found Jack Wisniewski in space to get in a cross which Alfie Taylor headed wide.
There was an expectation that Potton might start to throw more men forwards, leaving a bit more space for the Diamonds to exploit, but they kept the same discipline as in the first half.
Sam Brown had picked up a knock in the first half, and although he continued for 10 minutes in the second half, he had to be replaced by Chris Hope, who took the right back role, with Joe Merrill moving to the left. Merrill went close from a shot when he and Gearing linked up at a throw-in.
Alfie Taylor mishit a shot which ran to Jake Newman, but his effort went into the side netting, but Taylor then did well to get in a dangerous looking cross which Newman headed over without a great deal of pressure, and with Wisniewski ready to fire home if the ball reached him.
Arron Parkinson had produced another polished performance at centre-back, but he had to leave the field with a serious looking nose injury, and the Diamonds final change was to bring on Séan McBride, albeit after a delay when he discovered he only had a training top not a match shirt with him on the bench.
As the match limped to a conclusion there was more concern when Joe Merrill picked up a knock in a challenge for the ball, but with all three substitutes already used he struggled on until the final whistle signalled the end of a game that will only be remembered for the three points, and the fact the Diamonds winning run is now up to 10 games. They now have to tackle some tough looking games leading up to Easter that may define their season.
The Diamonds head to the west of the county on Saturday to face Bugbrooke St Michaels.
Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by James Anker: Arron Parkinson
The current UCL League Table can be found on the AFC Diamonds website here, and the Match Stats, Player Stats, Form Guide and Attendance figures are found in the summary stats area here. Individual player stats can be found in their profiles, which have also been updated.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Aaron King
5. Arron Parkinson
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor (Capt)
10. Jake Newman
11. Matt Gearing
12. Deven Ellwood
13. Ashley Foulger
14. Séan McBride (for Parkinson 86)
15. Lance Allen (for Taylor 72)
16. Chris Hope (for Brown 54)
1. Aaron Loney
2. Daniel Burgin
3. Shaun Faulkner
4. Sam Bonham
5. Stuart Gillies
6. Chris Reeves
7. Steve Muggridge (Capt)
8. Nick Cooper
9. Zac Rowe
10. Steve Thomas
11. Gary Ansell-Carter
12. Adam Dunville (for Muggridge 79)
14. Louis Green (for Rowe 53)
15. Sam King
16. Luke Redhead
17. Lewis Jarman-Webb (GK)
Goal: Wisniewski (31)
Cards : None
Cards: Thomas, Bonham
Referee: Simon Cheney
Assistants: Richard Armitage, Dale Abbott
For video highlights and interviews click here.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
Click on an image to use picture viewer