AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Rugby Town 0

Diamonds bounced back from Saturday’s shock 5-2 home defeat with a solid 3-0 victory against lowly Rugby Town on Tuesday night.

Diamonds took a vital early lead on 7 minutes as Tom Lorraine headed home from 8 yards after a long throw had been flicked on by Rory Winters. Nabil Shariff playing wide of a front three turned and shot just over on 10, and Tom Lorraine broke clear down the right on 16 cutting the ball back for Fazel Koriya and then Joe Curtis to get shots in. It had been  a lively opening period, but Rugby gradually started to dominate in midfield. Diamonds defended well in a much more solid looking 4-3-3 formation but struggled to connect together and create attacking momentum for much of the remainder of the game. Rugby created a number of good shooting chances but failed to find the target or create much in the way of decent chances. Tre Braithwaite did strike a superb 25 yard free-kick against the bar. Diamonds came closest to adding a second right on half-time as Fazel Koriya looked to have turned in Tom Lorraine’s excellent far post cross but it was somehow cleared off the line.

The pattern of the game continued in the second half with Rugby shading possession but struggling to create chances inside the box against a resilient Diamonds back-four. They did earn a number of free-kicks with Braithwaite failing to find the net or troubling Matt Finlay from some dangerous positions. Their cause wasn’t helped with the dismissal of Mitchell Thomson on 60 for a poor challenge and a second yellow card. Diamonds players continued to struggle to find each other and create chances in the final third but not for the want of Tom Lorraine’s efforts. He rounded the keeper on 68 although forced out wide his ball back across the 6 yard box was just cut-out by a defender. He was also close to forcing the ball over the line from a corner on 73.

Although Rugby only trailed by 1 goal and had plenty of possession the nervous finish never really materialised for Diamonds and the introduction of late substitute Taylor Orosz saw them emphatically wrap the game up. On 88 he surged onto a Tom Lorraine flick to go clear into the box only to see his low effort blocked by the keepers legs. The ball only span along the 6 yard box though and Fazel Koriya was there to stab home. Then on 91 Orosz surged onto Lewis Leslie’s through ball and this time saw his effort slide under the keeper into the far corner to make it 3-0. 


Manager Andy Peaks made three changes to his starting line-up from the shock defeat on Saturday with Kyal McNulty replacing Brad Harris at right-back, and Tom Lorraine and Joe Curtis replacing Robbie Parsons and Taylor Orosz. There was a change in formation too with Diamonds reverting to 4 3 3 with Nabil Shariff, Tom Lorraine and Fazel Koriya interchanging across the front three and Ben Curtis, Richard Bunting and Ben Farrell doing the same across the middle three.

Diamonds started on the front foot in this game with plenty of energy which looked a good reaction to Saturday’s disappointment. Tom Lorraine won an early header to put Nabil Shariff away down the left his deep cross just evading the onrushing Fazel Koriya. Then Nabil Shariff and Ben Farrell combined to set-up Joe Curtis, his shot collected by away keeper Dan Jezeph.

The early goal Diamonds threatened finally came on 7 as Tom Lorraine burst down the right and earned a throw-in near the corner flag. Sam Brown went over to take it and found Rory Winters with his long throw and his knock-on was headed home by Tom Lorraine from 8 yards into the far corner.

Diamonds continued to press off the back of a very solid shape with Nabil Shariff who was playing an unfamiliar wide right position coming inside to turn and shoot from 20 yards on 10, and Tom Lorraine breaking again in the right hand channel cutting the ball back to first Fazel Koriya and then Joe Curtis to get blocked efforts away.

Rugby gradually worked their way into the game though and with Diamonds clearly concentrating on a solid shape they started to shade possession but struggled to create anything meaningful inside the Diamonds box. They were restricted to shots from distance that never troubled Matt Finlay but did earn a 25 yard free-kick on 18 that Tre Braithwaite curled superbly against the bar.

The Diamonds keeper was tested on 19 as a low drive was saved by Matt Finlay low to his right but further free-kicks and promising shooting chances failed to bring the Diamonds stopper into action.

Diamonds broke sporadically but impressively with Joe Curtis, Ben Farrell, and Tom Lorraine getting on the end of half chances, and Fazel Koriya coming closest with a close range header somehow cleared off the line after a superb right wing cross from Tom Lorraine.

Half time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Rugby Town 0

Rugby had beaten on their travels 7 straight games but there was no sign of capitulation to a half time deficit as they came out of the traps on the front foot for the second half.

Full-back Kyle Rowley strode into the Diamonds half on 52 and got a fierce effort away that just rose over the bar. Liam Dolman picked up a yellow card for a challenge just outside the box that allowed Braithwaite a dangerous free-kick position but it was wasted again. Then David Kolodinski cut inside from the left to fire another effort straight at Matt Finlay.

Diamonds were very solid defensively and comfortably restricted Rugby to efforts from outside the box but struggled to string series of passes together to build up attacking momentum. The occasional hesitation on the ball, miss placed pass or poor control just stopped forward momentum with the side clearly and sensibly focussed on staying solid in a second half that had been so damaging on Saturday.

Rugby were further hampered on 60 as Mitchell Thomson already on a yellow card put in a poor midfield challenges and was duly dismissed for his second yellow. Tom Lorraine had been running hard at Rugby from the start and manged to skip past the advancing keeper on 68 but pushed wide his cutback ball was cleared from the 6 yard line.

With the extra man Diamonds were finding more space on their breaking attacks keeper Jezeph making a great point blank save from Nabil Shariff on 79. Despite the one goal lead and the away side still bossing possession in the middle third Diamonds were relatively comfortable snuffing out Rugby attacks when they got near the Diamonds area.

Taylor Orosz was introduced on 82 for Nabil Shariff and his pace and eye for a forward opportunity would bring the goals that wrapped the game up. On 88 a long ball forward was flicked superbly by Tom Lorraine and it seemed Orosz had anticipated it so well. He ran onto the ball at great pace breaking away from the Rugby defence and getting in a low shot as the Rugby keeper advanced. The ball squirmed off his legs across the 6 yard box where the pacey supporting Fazel Koriya tapped the ball home.

That clearly clinched the result but Orosz wasn’t finished and just 2 minutes later he again anticipated a forward ball from Lewis Leslie well and streaked onto the ball opening up ground between him and the Rugby defence so quickly. This time he kept his cool well and struck firmly wide of Dan Jezeph to the delight of the Peter de Banke faithful.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Rugby Town 0

This was a massively important result and performance from Diamonds who were so much more solid than on Saturday. Despite seeing their opponents shade possession but without a creating a major threat Diamonds created enough threat and chances to win the game comfortably with the key goals coming late on.. 

A win and defeat earns 3 points towards the total and Manager Andy Peaks will feel positive about the team’s chances to turn this result into the start of another unbeaten run. 

They will start their attempts on Saturday at Romulus in Sutton Coldfield… home of Crossroads as we discussed at length on Radio Diamonds on Tuesday!!


Man of the Match: Tom Lorraine

Attendance: 306

Match Report by Paul Judd



AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Rugby Town

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Kyal McNulty

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Rory Winters

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Ben Farrell

7.   Nabil Shariff

8.   Fazel Koriya

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Richard Bunting

11. Joe Curtis


12.  Taylor Orosz (for Shariff 82)

13.  Ben Heath

14.  Lewis Leslie (for Bunting 890

15.  Robbie Parsons

16.  Brad Harris (for Winters 74)

1.   Dan Jezeph

2.   Callum Westwood

3.   Kyle Rowley

4.   Mitchell Thomson

5.   Mason Rowley

6.   Callum Burgess

7.   Ryan Quinn

8.   Tre Braithwaite

9.   David Kolodinski

10. Chris Sterling

11. Lee Phillips


12. Toby Fura (for Quinn 70)

14. Louis Connor

15. Blaize Punter (for Phillips 80)

16. Danny Campbell

17. Gary Moran

Goals: Lorraine (7), Koriya (88), Orosz (90+1)



Yellow Card: Winters (17), Dolman (54)

Yellow Cards: Thomson (41 & 60)

Red Cards:

 Red Cards: Thomson (60)

Referee:  Wayne Chalmers

Assistants: Simon Fradley, Ruebyn Ricardo



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