AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered their first defeat of pre-season after a 2-1 loss at home to St. Ives Town on Saturday. Goals either side of half time for striker Jimmy Hartley and midfielder Peter Clark for the visitors and a consolation just before full time from striker Joel Gyasi doomed the Diamonds to defeat by the Southern League Premier side.
The first chance of the game came from the visiting side after nine minutes. Winger Phil Draycott fired a 35 yard free kick over the bar. A minute later, Hartley set up striker James Hall but he also sent his shot over.
The Diamonds’ first effort came after some good work on the left between winger Ollie Brown-Hill and full back Sam Brown before the latter crossed in to the box, but striker Nabil Shariff could only send his header over. Moments later the home fans thought they’d taken the lead after striker Chris Dillon poked the ball in at the back post, however he was ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.
Winger Luke Fairlamb showed impressive skill to work a shot after cutting inside from the right wing, but his low effort was saved by goalkeeper Conor Barton.
St. Ives almost took the lead on 25 minutes; Draycott’s powerful effort was deflected off a Rushden defender but goalkeeper Matt Finlay was quick to react. However, a minute later, the away side managed to open the scoring after Hartley caught defender Blaze Punter dwelling on the ball before calmly stroking the ball past Finlay.
The rest of the half fizzled out as neither side managed to create any other opportunities in the last 17 minutes of the half.
Half time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0-1 St. Ives Town
Diamonds made just one change at half time, with Ben Heath replacing Finlay between the sticks.
The away side doubled their lead on 51 minutes. The Diamonds defence failed to deal with a cross from the left, and Clark pounced to give The Saints a 2-0 lead.
Manager Andy Peaks decided to make a number of changes moments later. Defender Adam Pyke, midfielders John Dean, Harry Hembury and Lewis Leslie and Gyasi came on for full back Ben Ford, Punter, Fairlamb, Shariff and Brown-Hill.
Rushden had a penalty appeal turned down on 62 minutes as Gyasi was seemingly pulled down by defender Charlie De’Ath. A couple of minutes later, Dean showed good skill on the right wing before cutting inside but his weak effort was gathered easily by Barton.
St. Ives had a good effort on 65 minutes. Draycott’s 20 yard effort was pushed away by Heath.
More substitutions came for both sides. Fairlamb came back on to play up front, replacing Dillon on 70 minutes. St. Ives made their first change two minutes later, with Lee Chaffey coming on for David Femicla. They made more changes with 15 minutes remaining. Jamie Short, Gordon Torkornoo, Grant Robins and Matty Wright came on for Brett Langdon, Tom McGowan, Ben Seymour-Shove and Clark. Seymour-Shove came back five minutes later, replacing Draycott.
The game was all but over but not before Gyasi could pull one back for the Diamonds. Fairlamb managed to work some space after cutting inside from the right before teeing up Gyasi who set his sights to place a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Full time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-2 St. Ives Town
Match Report by Adam Benney
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
St. Ives Town
17. Matt Finlay
2. Ben Ford
3. Sam Brown
4. Blaze Punter
5. Liam Dolman
6. Ben Farrell
7. Ollie Brown-Hill
8. Richard Bunting (C)
9. Chris Dillon
10. Nabil Shariff
11. Luke Fairlamb (on for Dillon, 70)
12. Adam Pyke (on for Punter, 52)
13. Ben Heath (on for Finlay, 45)
14. John Dean (on for Ford, 52)
18. Harry Hembury (on for Fairlamb, 52)
19. Joel Gyasi (on for Shariff, 52)
20. Lewis Leslie (on for Brown-Hill, 52)
1. Conor Barton
2. Brett Langdon
3. Charlie De’Ath
4. David Femicla
5. Lewis Ferrell
6. Tom McGowan
7. Ben Seymour-Shove (on for Draycott, 80)
8. Peter Clark
9. James Hall
10. Jimmy Hartley
11. Phil Draycott
12. Jamie Short (on for Langdon, 75)
13. Tim Trebes (on for Barton, 56)
14. Lee Chaffey (on for Femicla, 72)
15. Gordon Torkornoo (on for McGowan, 75)
16. Grant Robins (on for Seymour-Shove, 75)
17. Matty Wright (on for Clark, 75)
Goals: Gyasi (89)
Goals: Hartley (28), Clark (51)
Referee: Mr Matt Law
Assistants: Mr Alec Simpson and Mr Lewis Smith