AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 2-0 victory over Northampton ON Chenecks on Saturday at the Dog and Duck. Séan McBride opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he headed home a loose ball at a corner, and visiting keeper Lauskinieks conceded an own goal after 28 minutes when he bundled a low cross from Matt Gearing into his net. In the last quarter the Diamonds gave a debut to Aaron King as well as welcoming back Deven Ellwood.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer was unable to call upon Jake Gillingwater or Lance Allen who had both picked up injuries since the midweek game, so his sole change was to bring back Joe Merrill at right back in place of Gillingwater. New signing Aaron King took a place on the bench, alongside Quincy Shorunmu who had recovered from the groin problem that had kept him out of the side on Tuesday.
Before the game there was a minute of applause in tribute to long-time Diamonds volunteer Ken Dobbs, with the players wearing black armbands in his memory.
On a chilly afternoon the Diamonds kicked off towards the Peter De Banke terrace and quickly established their dominance in the game. After Alex Deakin was fouled a Chris Hope free-kick forced an early save from visiting keeper Lauskinieks, but shortly afterwards the Diamonds won a corner on the left, and Séan McBride nodded home the Matt Gearing kick. Although a defender managed to get the ball away via the underside of the crossbar, both officials agreed the ball had crossed the line.
The Diamonds were well on top at this stage, and a good chance fell to Jake Newman, courtesy of good work from Gearing and Harris, but although the Diamonds striker broke clear of the defence he saw his effort hit Lauskinieks. Harris had a chance of his own when he headed wide a Matt Gearing free-kick.
After 28 minutes the Diamonds doubled their lead with a rather bizarre own-goal from Lauskinieks, who spooned a low cross from the left by Matt Gearing into his own net. The visitors were reduced to long range efforts, all of which were rather wayward.
Chris Hope was involved at both ends of the field, with the Diamonds creating chances from corners, free-kicks and throw-ins, and he set Alfie Taylor in the clear before the break, but he too saw his effort hit Lauskinieks.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Northampton ON Chenecks 0
The third quarter of the game was a very tame affair, with both sides struggling to create chances. Tom Gee could have done better with a headed chance that was saved by Foulger, and Barnes fired wide from another good chance.
As the game threatened to fizzle out with little else to mention in the half, a series of substitutions energised things significantly. The Diamonds brought on debutant Aaron King, as well as Ben Morgan and Deven Ellwood. King picked up a yellow card for a tackle he made within the first minute of his Diamonds career, but he then forced a good save from Lauskinieks after latching onto a flick from Alfie Taylor. Jake Newman then back-headed a chance just over, and once Morgan replaced Okechukwu and Ellwood had replaced Taylor the Diamonds started creating chances down both flanks as well as through the middle, forcing the visitors to try to slow down a game they were already two goals in arrears. Joe Merrill linked up with Ellwood to threaten down the right, with a neat interchange seeing a chance created for Matt Gearing, then Ellwood created further chances for Jake Newman, with King also threatening the Chenecks goal.
At the other end the Cheneck substitute McKenzie crossed for fellow substitute Muddiman who had found space at the left hand post, but he fired wide.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Northampton ON Chenecks 0
The Diamonds travel to face Raunds Town next weekend. Note that there is a newly arranged friendly for the AFC R&D U18 team in midweek (Wednesday) at the Dog & Duck.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Séan McBride
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Northampton ON Chenecks
13. Ashley Foulger
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope(capt)
6. Alex Deakin
7. Peter Okechukwu
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor
10. Jake Newman
11. Matt Gearing
12. Aaron King (for Harris 73)
14. Ben Morgan (for Okechukwu 66)
15. Elliot Dent
16. Deven Ellwood (for Taylor 81)
17. Quincy Shorunmu
1. Janis Lauskinieks
2. Ben Lewington
3. Calvin Budd
4. Joe Lewington (capt)
5. Jez Hindle
6. Simon McCarthy
7. Joe Evans
8. Jon Burdett
9. Harry Barnes
10. Adam Hancock
11. Tom Gee
12. Elliott Muddiman (for B. Lewington 84)
14. Scott Barczewski
15. Ash Ogden (for Evans 87)
16. Tim Clack
17. Justin McKenzie (for Hancock 84)
Goals: McBride, Own Goal
Cards : King
Cards: Burdett, Gee
Referee: Danny OSullivan
Assistants: Michael Chalkley, Ross Marriott
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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