AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Biggleswade Town 3

Two injury time penalties from Ben Farrell earned a spectacular point for Diamonds in a thrilling 3 3 draw.

There was little sign of the dramatic finish to come in a goalless first half shaded by Biggleswade who were stronger in the midfield area but were repelled by excellent defending by Alex Collard and Blaze Punter in particular who blocked everything coming their way. Diamonds were increasingly good on the break with some sweeping moves but just couldn’t quite connect in the final third. Chances were at a premium but it was a quality encounter between these play-off contenders.

The second half was very different. Just 10 minutes in a mix-up between the Diamonds centre-halves saw Joe White race clear and slot home past Ben Heath. Diamonds responded well and after a goal line clearance from an Alex Collard header they got a deserved equaliser on 66 minutes. Ben Farrell surged through midfield after a Biggleswade move had been broken down and timed his pass to  Albie Hopkins superbly allowing the youngster to fire low past the advancing keeper from just inside the left side of the box.

Biggleswade were back in front though on 74 minutes. A soft penalty for a fall over a trailing leg was coolly slotted home by Joe White and just 5 minutes later it was 3-1. No-one saw the danger at all as a quite stunning strike out of nowhere from Jonny McNamara crashed in off the bar.

It looked all over for Diamonds but a late surge saw a penalty awarded for a high kick by David Longe-King who received a second yellow card. The ball had pinged around the box before the high kick prevented Tom Lorraine from heading home at the far post. Biggleswade put in some unseemly delaying tactics that the referee failed to really control but the unruffled Ben Farrell slotted coolly home.

With the away side under great pressure Diamonds remarkably earned a second penalty in the 94th minute. Another good break saw the ball drop in the box for Ben Diamonds to try and claim. He appeared to be tripped even though he was running slightly away from goal but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Ben Farrell won the mind games with the away keeper coolly sending him the wrong way as he fired into the other corner to the absolute delight of the home faithful.

A draw although looking unlikely into the final stages was a fair result between these play-off contenders and a fantastic advertisement for local football played in front of passionate crowds.

Next up for Diamonds the big New Years Day derby against Kettering Town…..

Man of the Match: Albie Hopkins

Attendance: 547

Match Summary: Paul Judd

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Video highlights and post-match interviews are available here.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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