AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Halesowen Town 0

Two excellent second half strikes in 10 minutes from Ben Farrell and Tom Lorraine won this tight contest at a wet Hayden Road on Tuesday night.

Two enforced changes to the starting line-up saw Blaize Punter come in for the injured Liam Dolman and Ben Farrell for suspended Jack Westbrook. Kick off was delayed half-an-hour due to a power outage but got off to a lively start with Diamonds finding space down the sides of a hard working Halesowen side. A number of dangerous crosses were fired in that just failed to connect and Zack Reynolds hit a superb effort from the edge of the box that just dipped over the bar.

Halesowen grew into the game and created two great chances on the break in the middle period of the half. Lewis Reilly got onto a great flowing move inside the box but swept his effort just wide, and the same player found himself through on goal after Diamonds failed to clear a long ball over the top but his effort beat the far post as well as the diving Ben Heath.

Diamonds were equally bright at the start of the second-half and got the vital opening goal on 55 minutes after some excellent build-up play. Ben Diamond swept the ball out to the dangerous Albie Hopkins on the right. He controlled well, stepped inside his three markers and slid a perfect ball across to Ben Farrell to make a superb strike on the ball from 20 yards that flew into the bottom corner via a deflection.

Tom Lorraine was working the channels and the wide areas really well and got his reward on 65 minutes after more good work by Albie Hopkins. The youngster picked up a loose ball in the centre circle, swept forward at the retreating Halesowen defence and slid a perfect ball into Lorraine down the left side of the box for an excellent finish in off the far post as he was falling to the wet turf.

Diamonds looked to have seized solid control of the game but suffered a real blow on 68 minutes as Ben Diamond was shown a second yellow card for what seemed an innocuous challenge on half-way. He’d been penalised for a misjudged challenge in the first-half but everyone in the ground seemed a little taken aback by the second yellow only spotting what had happened as Diamond trudged away down the tunnel.

Halesowen tried to muster a response but Diamonds were solid defensively and if anything even more dangerous with 10 men as they had been recently against Banbury. Ben Farrell came close a couple of times flicking one effort from an angle over the on rushing keeper but also just over the bar. In another blow for Diamonds Jack Ashton who had been typically vigorous in defence picked up a knock and after treatment had to leave the field. Patrick Casey joined the fray slotting in very solidly at left-back with Sam Brown moving into the centre.

Diamonds saw the game out with reasonable comfort ending with another exciting flourish from Albie Hopkins. The Oxford United loanee beat three men out by the corner flag with a brilliant flick-back, skinned another two deep in the box and saw his cut back to Tom Lorraine desperately cleared by Halesowen just 2 yards from goal.

Diamonds reach the heady height of 3rd place in the table after that win. Although having played more games than others around them it is a fantastic achievement in a first season at this level. Next up the first of a run of three away games with the long trip to Leiston on the east coast on Saturday.

(Full report to follow)

Man of the Match: Ben Farrell

Attendance: 260

Match Report by Paul Judd 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Halesowen Town

13. Ben Heath

2.   Zack Reynolds

3.   Sam Brown (C)

4.   Jack Ashton

5.   Blaize Punter

6.   Declan Rogers

7.   Albie Hopkins

8.   Ben Farrell

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Ben Diamond

11. Nathan Hicks


12. John Dean (for Rogers 87)

14. Patrick Casey (for Ashton 79)

15. Joe Curtis (for Farrell 84)

16. Louie Barrett

17. Nathan Pickworth

1.   Kieran Boucher

2.   Joab Wheatley

3.   Asa Charlton

4.   Jack Kelly

5.   Michael John Townsend

6.   Kieran Morris

7.   Dean Hawkshaw

8.   Daniele Bragoli (C)

9.   Lee Hughes

10. Lewis Reilly

11. Roland Agbor


13. Thomas Warmer (for Hughes 58)

14. Samuel Tonks (for Charlton 72)

15. Dominic Hill

16. Bradleigh Ward (for Morris 87)

Goals: Farrell (55), Lorraine (65)


Yellow Card: Diamond (x2)

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards: Diamond

 Red Cards:

Referee:  Elliott Kaye

Assistants: Minesh Gupta