AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Harborough Town 0

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds got back to winning ways at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday night with a comfortable 3-0 win against a young Harborough Town side.

Manager Andy Peaks made just one change to the side that disappointed in defeat at Oadby with Jason Turner returning up front in place of Scott Joseph. He was rewarded with a much more urgent and fluent performance that saw Diamonds pretty much dominate from start to finish. After creating a number of good chances, most notably an incredible series of efforts on 9 minutes which saw the bar and post rattled, Harborough keeper Giles make a point blank save and a clearance off the line which some thought may have crossed it, Diamonds took the lead on 31 minutes. Jason Turner nodding in Neil Kings inswinging corner. After Jason Turner had a goal chalked off for offside on 52 minutes he was instrumental in the second goal which came on 57. His ball into Confue was flicked into the path of Declan Rogers who finished crisply from 15 yards – his first for the club. Second half substitute Scott Joseph added a third a minute into added on time to round off a much needed return to form for Diamonds who now lead the UCL by 5 points.

After making just the one change to the side that had underperformed so badly on Saturday at Oadby – Jason Turner replacing Scott Joseph up front – manager Andy Peaks was rewarded with the reaction he was hoping for. Diamonds played with more urgency and fluency and pushed a young Harborough back from the start.

Jack Ashton had an early chance on 4 minutes flicking a Neil King corner just over, before Harborough had their only real effort of the half on 7 minutes a low shot by Ceko which scraped the far post from 20 yards.

Diamonds then somehow failed to score from a mad scramble on 9 minutes which saw Declan Rogers hit the bar, the post hit, Harborough keeper Giles make a goal-line save and another defender clearing off the line which some thought had crossed the line.

Diamonds were linking together much better across the park than in recent games and Declan Rogers was growing into his new role with Diamonds. On 19 he started and nearly finished a move that went through Sam Brown and Adam Confue before  firing in an effort from 18 yards that was blocked by a Harborough defender.

Jason Turner then had a goal disallowed after a corner was flicked on and his first effort was blocked from close range. He fired the second effort home but was flagged for offside.

Turner couldn’t be denied on 31 minutes though as he nodded home an excellent Neil King corner at the far post to open the scoring.

A flurry of chances to maybe kill-off the game came in the next 6 minutes but none were taken. Tom Lorraine drove into the box and fired in a shot that Giles just fell on, the same player saw a header from an Elliot Lamb-Johnson free-kick saved at the near post, Declan Rogers fired over from an angle, and Tom Lorraine came close to turning in Sam Brown’s low cross at the near post.

Right on half-time Adam Confue had a half-volley chance from the edge of the box saved low to his left by Giles in the Harborough goal but they had to be content with just the one goal at half-time.

Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Harborough Town 0

The second half continued in the same manner as the first with Diamonds breaking up Harborough’s limited possession with ease and moving the ball across the park to open up their opponents.

On 50 minutes Jason Turner looked clear on goal when tripped and 2 minutes later he looked to have added a second goal when touching home Elliot Lamb-Johnson’s intelligent low free kick only to see the offside flag. The referee consulted his assistant for some time before confirming the offside decision.

Brad Harris then picked up a yellow card for ending a promising Harborough move with a tackle from behind as the away side looked to get back into the game.

But it was still Diamonds that pressed and after Tom Lorraine had another effort from the angle blocked on the line they got the vital second goal that effectively killed the game on 57 minutes. Jason Turner fed Adam Confue on the edge of the box and he superbly flicked the ball into the path of Declan Rogers who struck a crisp finish into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club in front of a delighted Peter de Banke terrace.

As they did after the first goal Diamonds had a number of quick fire chances to totally kill the game with Elliot Lamb-Johnson firing in a shot that keeper Giles tipped over, Tom Lorraine just failing to get the vital touch to a Jason Turner cross and again just failing to get to an Elliot Lamb-Johnson ball swept along the 6 yard line.

Liam Dolman had the ball in the net on 73 minutes with a header from a deep corner but again the goal was disallowed, before we had a long stoppage for an injury to Giles who had come out to spread himself at Jason Turners feet and got a blow on the head. He eventually got to his feet and was replaced by an outfield player to see out the game.

Diamonds remained comfortable in the closing stages and finally added a third goal their performance probably deserved 1 minute into added on time when second half substitute Scott Joseph headed home the excellent Elliot Lamb-Johnson’s deep cross.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Harborough Town 0

A much needed return to form for Diamonds in the familiar surroundings of the Dog & Duck will have pleased manager Andy Peaks. The control exerted by his midfield with Neil King and Declan Rogers settling in well will have been particularly pleasing as will goals for returning Jason Turner, substitute Scott Joseph, and a first for man of the match Declan Rogers.

The lead is back up to 5 points and with chasing Holbeach in FA Vase action on Saturday Diamonds have a chance to extend that 8 with the visit of Sleaford.

Man of the Match: Declan Rogers

Attendance: 311

Match Report by Paul Judd

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Harborough Town

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Brad Harris

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Neil King

5.   Jack Ashton

6.   Liam Dolman

7.   Elliott Lamb-Johnson

8.   Adam Confue

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Jason Turner

11. Declan Rogers

Subs

13. Rhys Redding

14. Scott Joseph  (for King 78)

15. Matt Gearing (for Lamb-Johnson 90)

16. Fazel Koriya (for Turner 84)

18. Arron Parkinson

 

1.   Glen Giles

2.   Samuel Edwards

3.   Callum Milne

4.   Jack Burrows

5.   Ben Wheeler

6.   Ben Williams

7.   Milan Ceko

8.   Harry May

9.   Jack Nolan

10. Sam Moore

11. Jordan Crawford

Subs

12. Mitchell Bevans (for Giles 75)

14. Jay Ironmonger

Goals: Turner (31), Rogers (57), Joseph (90)

Goals:

Yellow Cards: Harris (55)

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Mathew Whitwell

Assistants: Bruce Stevens, Steve Hoare

 

 

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