AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 – Loughborough Dynamo 1

AFC Rushden & Diamonds rounded off their pre-season campaign with a come from behind 3-1 win against Northern League step 4 side Loughborough Dynamo at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon.

Diamonds were second best for most of the first half and trailed to a deserved 37th minute opener for Loughborough. The big Loughborough striker unmarked heading home a left wing corner from 10 yards. Diamonds levelled right on half-time through Tommy Berwick turning and firing under the keeper from 12 yards. Two pieces of brilliance won the game as Diamonds improved in the second half. First Tom Lorraine lobbed the keeper from 45 yards on 52 minutes, and then Scott Joseph repeated the feat from 25 yards on 82.

Full Report

Manager Andy Peaks back at the helm after his well-earned break picked a strong starting eleven in a flexible formation. Ollie Wilkinson and Sam Brown joined Delroy Gordon and Jack Ashton at the back, Richard Bunting sat in front of them with a flexible 4 across the park in front in of him of Steve Spriggs, Dan Quigley, Jason Kilbride and Courtney Herbert, with Tom Lorraine the lone striker.

Loughborough started the better looking good in possession passing the ball well across midfield and pushing Diamonds back to the edge of their area. They were unable to force much in the way of chances in that initial period but Diamonds had very little in the way of meaningful possession themselves.

On 8 minutes Loughborough tested Matt Finlay with a vicious 40 yard strike that the Diamonds keeper parried, and was then forced to make two excellent close range blocks from follow-up chances.

Courtney Herbert’s ability to support Tom Lorraine was going to be key to this formation and he latched onto a superb through ball from Richard Bunting on 11 to threaten the Loughborough back four, eventually laying the ball off to Tom Lorraine who worked a shooting chance just inside the box on the angle but fired wide.

Minutes later Steve Spriggs pulled up with an injury and had to be replaced by Tommy Berwick. Herbert moved to Spriggs wide right position with Berwick wide left. Diamonds moving more towards a 4 3 3 formation and enjoying a little more possession in their opponents half.

Diamonds best chance then fell to Jason Kilbride with a 25 yard free-kick after Dan Quigley had been felled at the end of a good move. He hit a wicked curling effort than wrong footed the keeper completely and went just inches wide.

The middle period of the half was littered with injury breaks including Jack Ashton and Courtney Herbert twice for Diamonds who took some rough treatment. There was some decent passing and movement from both sides, particularly Loughborough, but without much being created in the final third.

Loughborough were keen to exploit Diamonds high defensive line and hit some great diagonal balls to get players in behind, and they took the lead on 37 from just such a move. A corner was won as Jack Ashton cleared another break and it found the big centre forward unmarked to head home from 10 yards.

Just as the half seemed to be ending with a deserved lead for Loughborough Tommy Berwick popped up with his third goal in a week. Collecting a deep corner and shooting on the turn as he fell deceiving the Loughborough keeper and finding the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 – Loughborough Dynamo 1

Dom Lawless replaced Courtney Herbert for Diamonds at half-time after Herbert had picked up a few knocks in that first half.

And it was Diamonds who got onto the front foot first with a fantastic run from Sam Brown. Picking up a return ball from Jason Kilbride at pace, playing a one two with Tom Lorraine on the edge of the area, surging forward and only being denied by a last ditch smother by the Loughborough keeper.

And the positive start to the half was rewarded 3 minutes later thanks to some brilliance by Tom Lorraine. Picking up a ball out wide after Loughborough had been dispossessed in their own half and seeing the keeper well advanced he hit a driven lob from 45 yards that dipped just under the bar and over the retreating keeper to give Diamonds the lead.

The game fell into a similar pattern to the middle section of the first half with neat possession not leading to chances, but after Loughborough had their best chance with a cut-back smashed over the bar from 15 yards on 21 minutes, the game burst into life for the wrong reasons.

Dan Quigley tangled with the Loughborough captain off the ball and appeared to be thrown to the ground sparking furious protests by Diamonds players and much pushing and shoving. After consultation with his assistant and both managers the two players were withdrawn. Scott Joseph replacing Dan Quigley for Diamonds.

Jake Gillingwater then replaced Wilkinson and we got back to some football, with Diamonds pressing and creating a couple of corners that pressured the visitors defence.

Loughborough had introduced a number of good young players and one young winger picked the ball up in space out left, cut inside brilliantly and fired a wicked shot that Finlay just held. Later the same player would create another shooting chance just outside the box going closer this time but still just over.

Scott Joseph was playing along the front-line at this point with Tom Lorraine dropped back into midfield, and he fashioned a trademark effort on 80 minutes picking the ball up with back to goal and turning and firing a fierce volley just over.

After Harry May replaced the excellent Jason Kilbride it would be Joseph who would clinch the result with another stunning lob on 82. Winning the ball 30 yards out, and going to the right he superbly chipped the ball back across the hapless Loughborough keeper who again saw the ball fall over his head into an empty net.

Alex Vitue was introduced for the final few moments in place of Matt Finlay as Diamonds played out the game comfortably to record another pre-season win.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 – Loughborough Dynamo 1

Diamonds were second best in the first half against an excellent Loughborough side and were fortunate to be level at half-time. Goals for 3 of his main strikers will have pleased Andy Peaks, particularly Tommy Berwick’s netting for the third time in a week. A much improved second half display which saw Diamonds finish the stronger will also be pleasing as the start of the new season is so close.

After the U21s take on Buckingham Town in the James Victory cup on Thursday in Bletchley, the real stuff begins next Saturday with the visit of Petersfield for the start of the Southern League season.

Man of the Match: Tom Lorraine

Attendance: 187

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Loughborough Dynamo

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Ollie Wilkinson

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Delroy Gordon

5.   Jack Ashton

6.   Dan Quigley

7.   Steve Spriggs

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Courtney Herbert

11. Jason Kilbride


15. Tommy Berwick (for Spriggs 12)

13.  Brad Harris

14.  Harry May (for Kilbride 80)

15.  Alex Vitue (for Matt Finlay 88)

16.  Dom Lawless (for Herbert 46)

18.  Jake Gillingwater (for Wilkinson 72)

19.  Scott Joseph (for Quigley 71)






















Goals: Berwick 45, Lorraine 52, Joseph 82

Goals: Striker (11) 37

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Danny Johnson

Assistants: Richard Armitage, Kevan Atkins



Match Gallery courtesy of Malcolm Swinden Photography (click on the link to access the Diamonds Photo Gallery for more images from this game and ecommerce options). Copyright Mal Swinden ©2015