AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Lowestoft Town 0

Diamonds made it back to back wins in the league for the first time since August with a 3-0 win against hard working Lowestoft Town on Saturday afternoon. Lowestoft denied Diamonds for an hour but Nabil Shariff’s acrobatic finish broke the resistance and Jordan MacLeod’s super finish on the break and Matthew Slinn’s screamer from a deep cross won the game comfortably in the end.

Manager Andy Peaks was forced into a single change to his starting line-up with Matthew Slinn coming in for Jesse Akubuine.

The first half was goalless but Diamonds largely dominated possession and came up against a strong defensive line-up in Lowestoft. Jordan MacLeod was the most dangerous Diamonds player with three excellent penalty areas efforts capitalising on great wide play by Ben Acquaye and Nat Gosnal-Tyler. One was well blocked by the away keeper down low and a second by the head of Nabil Shariff as the ball was rocketing towards the net. Shariff was also involved in a major scare for Lowestoft close to half time when driving between two defenders he forced one to make contact with the ball and pull a great save from his own keeper.

Lowestoft had been good in wide areas in the first half pressuring Diamonds but were largely restricted to long range efforts and free-kicks.  But the second half was as good a display by the home side in such difficult conditions as we have seen recently. Ben Acquaye was dynamic as ever and had a part to play in two of Diamonds three excellent goals. The first on the hour mark came from a ball in that was headed back by Jack Ashton for Nabil Shariff to fire home acrobatically. A real poacher’s goal. The second saw Acquaye flick on for the impressive Jordan Macleod to run in on goal and fire brilliantly home on 74 minutes. Acquaye was involved in the third too as his flick sent Ryan Dove away to cross deep to Matthew Slinn on the far post to belt an absolute screamer into the top corner to clinch the game.

Diamonds shot up into the top 6 after this back to back win which despite many teams having games in hand including next week’s opponents Stourbridge is a tremendous response to autumn disappointments.

This reporter – a home town Stourbridge boy as regular readers will know – will have mixed feelings next weekend but a 3rd win on the bounce from this young developing Diamonds side against a massive (my words) non-league name will be a great statement. Just don’t ask me to predict the result!!


***Full report and match stats to follow***


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