AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Shaw Lane AFC 1

Diamonds were held by a dominant Shaw Lane AFC at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon after a deserved late equaliser earned the away side a share of the spoils.

Matt Finlay was forced into a great early block to deny Rob Bordman and Diamonds came close themselves on 4 minutes as Tom Lorraine saw his close range header from a Robbie Parsons cross cleared off the line by Alex Byrne. The away side then settled into a pattern of dominating possession that would last most of the game and forced Finally into two more flying saves. But it was Diamonds who took the lead on 22 as a Nick Evangelinos deep corner found Liam Dolman unmarked on the far post to head forcefully home. Diamonds should have added a second minutes later as first Tom Lorraine saw his close range header incredibly saved on the line, and Nic Evangelinos saw his follow up effort crash back off the bar. But Shaw Lane got straight back onto the front foot to dominate possession again without really troubling the Diamonds hard working defence bar a deep corner that curved towards goal where Jack Ashton cleared off the line.

The second half continued as the first with Shaw Lane neat in possession in the middle third and testing in the final third but finding the Diamonds defence in commanding form. Rob Bordman was at the heart of much of the away sides good play with full-back Alex Byrne whipping in some excellent crosses but Liam Dolman, Jack Ashton and home debutant Rory Winters on as a sub clearing everything along with Brad Harris and the two full-backs who had a challenging afternoon. Diamonds were unable to string periods of pressure together bar the odd break and rarely threatened.

The deserved equaliser finally came on 80 as a driven left wing cross found Alex Byrne closing in on the far post to head firmly home. Despite the introduction of Chris Wreh the home side struggled to mount a meaningful comeback although Liam Dolman forced an injury time cross home at the far post only to hear the whistle given for a foul from Tom Lorraine’s header to him.


Shaw Lane played from the start with the confidence of a side that is unbeaten in 8. They were neat in possession and probing in the final third with Rob Bordman at the heart of so much good play around the box.

In just the second minute he surged onto a great pass just inside the left side of the Diamonds area and fired in first time only to see a Matt Finlay raised hand bat the ball away.

Diamonds were lively in the opening stages too off the back of their own 7 game unbeaten run and Robbie Parsons looked energetic and dangerous. He created the home side’s first chance in the 4th minute with a pacey run and inviting cross that Tom Lorraine flicked past the keeper only to see full-back Alex Byrne hook off the line.

But it was the away side who started to dominate possession as Diamonds struggled to maintain attacking momentum. It was Bordman who created the next close effort with a 25 yard drive that Matt Finlay had to tip over the bar at full stretch. Istead then went close as he latched onto a half-clearance from a long throw and fired a half-volley just wide.

It was slightly against the run of play then that Diamonds took the lead on 22. After a dangerous ball into the box was headed over keeper and bar by a retreating defender for a corner. A second corner was hit deep to the far post by Nic Evangelinos where Liam Dolman forcefully headed home.

After Tuohy had drawn another tip over save from Matt Finlay Diamonds should have added a second in their best spell in the game. A great run from Sam Brown saw him dig a brilliant cross out from the left hand-side which found Tom Lorraine who saw his close range header somehow blocked by away keeper John Stewart. The ball broke towards the penalty spot where Nic Evangelinos thought he had scored only to see his effort crash back off the underside of the bar.

The dominance off this period didn’t last however and Shaw Lane got back into a period of midfield possession and probing wide play. Both sides picked up yellow cards for dissent as each side worked hard to close down the other but chances were limited.

Bordman swung in a number of dangerous corners and free-kicks for Shaw Lane that Diamonds mostly dealt with although one corner on 38 made its way to the far post where Jack Ashton cleared off the line.

Half time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Shaw Lane AFC 0

The second-half began as the first had ended with the visitors dominating possession and pressing the home side back.

Bordman had a good chance on 54 as he found space on the edge of the box but took an extra touch when an early shot looked on, his final effort scuffed slightly wide. He then set up Wafula a minute later with a weighted ball that the wide man fired in low and hard only for Matt Finlay to smother just wide.

As Diamonds struggled to retain possession Shaw lane again came close as chipped ball into the box was headed up and onto the roof of the net. Diamonds were defending well and denying the away side much in the way of clear chances. Left-back Oscar Radfield cut inside to hit a curling effort just wide from 20 yards, and centre-half Ryan Qualter hit a half-volley over from just inside the box as a deep cross was laid back to him.

Diamonds did break dangerously as the game went into its final 15 minutes. Nic Evangelinos involved in one swift move down the left-hand side linking with Nabil Shariff and surging into the box only to be blocked away for a corner.

But it was the seemingly inevitable equaliser that came for the away side on 80 minutes. A good move down the left saw a driven cross the far post where right-back Alex Byrne closed in to power his header past Matt Finlay.

Diamonds tried to respond with the introduction of Chris Wreh but found Shaw Lane as impressive defensively as they had been themselves. After the late equaliser the game then drifted towards the draw that both sides would be fairly happy with given the pattern of the game although Liam Dolman had the ball in the net on 91 after Tom Lorraine’s knock back fell to him 6 yards out, but the whistle had gone for a foul by Lorraine.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Shaw Lane AFC 1

This was a proper game of football. Away side powerful and good in possession, home side working hard defensively and looking to impose themselves on the game when they could. The early goal gave Diamonds hope of a 2nd home league win, but a late deserved equaliser meant the spoils were shared. A point against an impressive Shaw Lane will be seen as a good point as the season unfolds and Diamonds can take a 7 game unbeaten run into their next home game on Tuesday night.

Next up is Romulus on Tuesday at the Dog & Duck before the big FA Cup tie at Hendon FC next Saturday.

Man of the Match: Liam Dolman

Attendance: 397

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Shaw Lane AFC

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Kyal McNulty

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Brad Harris

7.   Nabil Shariff

8.   Robbie Parsons

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Taylor Orosz

11. Nic Evangelinos


12.  Aiden Bradshaw

13.  Joe Haynes

14.  Jon Stevenson (for Parsons 59)

15.  Rory Winters (for Ashton 87)

16.  Chris Wreh (for Stevenson 83)

1.   John Stewart

2.   Alex Byrne

3.   Oscar Radfield

4.   Steve Istead

5.   Kelvin Lugsden

6.   Ryan Qualter

7.   Spencer Harris

8.   Jono Wafula

9.   Rob Bordman

10. Jack Tuohy

11. Kieran Lugsden


12. Joe Thornton

13. Mateusz Zaniewski

14. Jason Yates

15. Ben Algar

16. Joel Purkiss (for Tuohy 78)

Goals: Dolman (22)


Goals: Byrne (80)

Yellow Card: Parsons

Yellow Cards: Byrne

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee:  Daniel Hanna

Assistants: Daniel Johnstone, Lee Hartley



 Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.

For video highlights and post-match interviews see here.