Diamonds maintained their unbeaten home record with an excellent 3-1 win against top 6 side Coalville Town.
Both sides were on the attack from the very start an entertaining first half with 3 goals coming in the first 16 minutes. Diamonds opened the scoring on 7 minutes as the ball was swept out to Nathan Hicks on the right who cut back inside and fizzed a great ball into the 6 yard box where Ben Farrell finished calmly. It was 2-0 on 14 minutes this time Albie Hopkins controlling a good long ball taking it to the by-line and cutting it back for Declan Rogers to convert. Coalville responded immediately though in disappointing fashion for Diamonds as Jenno headed home from a corner. The first half continued in break neck fashion but with no further goals but some great Diamonds efforts in particular saved by the impressive away keeper, a volley from Declan Rogers the stand out.
Both managers will have been pleased to see the second half a calmer affair with both sides probing for what was always going to be the vital 4th goal. Coalville put a good free-kick just wide early on before Diamonds began to dominate with Jack Westbrook and Declan Rogers having close efforts. And it was Diamonds who got that vital 4th goal in the game on 71 minutes. More good work out wide by Albie Hopkins saw good control and a beautifully whipped in cross that Tom Lorraine slid home.
A second home win keeps Diamonds unbeaten at home and unbeaten in 5 overall now as the 3 points earned from “the game in hand” takes them up to 8th in the table. Next up the visit of St. Ives Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Manager Andy Peaks made just the one change from the side that had come agonising close to a tremendous win at Kings Lynn on Saturday. Tom Lorraine and Jack Bowen changed places up front and on the bench with Lorraine going on to reward the selection with the clinching 3rd Diamonds goal.
This was the proverbial game in hand for both sides looking to cement their league position and both attacked with gusto in a frenetic start to the game that produce 3 goals in the first 16 minutes.
Diamonds opened the scoring on 7 minutes with Ben Farrell continuing his welcome return to the form of last season bursting into the box with a crisp finish. A lovely ball from midfield had found Nathan Hicks out wide on the right who cut inside and fizzed the ball across goal for the perfectly timed run of Ben Farrell.
The second for Diamonds came just 7 minutes later with Declan Rogers providing the finish. This time the ball out from midfield was kept in by Albie Hopkins out wide who drove to the by-line and cut the ball back for Rogers to finish.
It had been end to end stuff in the opening stages and unsurprisingly Coalville pulled a goal back just 2 minutes later. It was a disappointing way to concede for Diamonds as Danny Jenno was allowed space to head from a corner.
Diamonds were straight back on the attack forcing away keeper Rudolphs Soloha into a series of tremendous saves. Albie Hopkins and Ben Diamond had close range headers brilliantly blocked and Declan Rogers hit a superb volley in his trademark style that was flying into the top corner but for a superb full length tip away by Soloha.
Ben Heath was being tested in the home goal by the lively Coalville attack in an end to end game with one great block from a low close range effort keeping Diamonds lead intact.
Albie Hopkins was in tremendous form and wriggled past two defenders to get in a dangerous cross that was just tipped away, and Ben Farrell had another great effort coming onto a Ben Diamond cutback and firing just over.
Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Coalville Town 1
After the frenetic nature of the first half the second was a calmer affair but not without excitement and goalmouth action. Coalville came close to an equaliser just 3 minutes in with a superb free-kick just arrowing wide.
The pattern became probing by both sides for what would be the vital 4th goal in the game with Diamonds shading possession but having to work hard to contain the pacey Coalville attack.
Jack Westbrook came close on 51 minutes from a superb Declan Rogers corner, and Rogers himself smashed a great effort just over having collected the ball in midfield and driven forward.
The pressure was gradually building and the vital 4th goal in the game duly went Diamonds way on 71 minutes. Albie Hopkins was instrumental again collecting the ball far out on left taking a great step inside his man and crossing beautifully for Tom Lorraine to convert.
The goal effectively sealed the result and allowed Diamonds to control the game and see time out to the finish. Albie Hopkins had time to cement his Man of the Match performance with another great run and shot after good work from Zack Reynolds but his effort went just wide.
Full time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Coalville Town 1
This was as tremendous performance by Diamonds who went toe to toe with one of the league’s fancied sides, scored some great team goals, worked the away keeper consistently and defended solidly particularly in the second half. The win takes Diamonds up to 8th in the league and cements their position as a top half side who have settled into this step up in standard.
Next up for Diamonds the start of the FA Trophy campaign for the season with a home tie against St. Ives Town.
Man of the match: Albie Hopkins
Match Report by Paul Judd
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
13. Ben Heath
2. Zack Reynolds
3. Sam Brown
4. Jack Westbrook
5. Liam Dolman (C)
6. Nathan Hicks
7. Declan Rogers
8. Ben Farrell
9. Tom Lorraine
10. Albie Hopkins
11. Ben Diamond
12. John Dean (for Hopkins 86)
14. Jack Ashton
15. Jack Bowen (for Lorraine 75)
17. Joe Curtis (for Rogers 81)
18. Blaize Punter
1. Rudolphs Soloha
2. Alex Dean
3. Tom McGlinchey
4. Danny Jenno
5. Dean Freeman
6. Scott McManus
7. Courtney Wildin
8. Steve Towers
9. Daniel Creaney
10. Tim Berridge
11. Joe Doyle-Charles
12. Kyle Bryant (for McManus 40)
14. Jack Hallahan (for Dean 81)
15. Ryan Ebanks (for Towers 81)
16. Jacob Spence
17. Lamar Graham
Goals: Farrell (7), Rogers (14), Lorraine (71)
Goals: Jenno (16)
Yellow cards: Hopkins
Yellow cards: Freeman, McManus
Referee: Kenwyn Hughes