AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 4-1 victory over Wellingborough Whitworth at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening. A first-half goal from Sam Brown was followed by a Jake Newman penalty in the second period. Although the visitors pulled a goal back the Diamonds made the game safe with further goals from Jack Wisniewski and Ben Morgan.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer named a starting line-up the same as that which finished the game at Potton at the weekend. This meant that Matt Gearing was on the bench, with Brad Harris forming a midfield trio with King and McBride, and a wider role for Alfie Taylor.
In a scrappy first half in front of an impressive midweek crowd of over 680, the Diamonds saw two early chances for Jake Newman denied by the linesman’s flag, the second of which looked extremely margin as the Diamonds striker burst past a static back-line.
Alex Deakin eased the ball over the bar after a Taylor free-kick was not cleared. After 14 minutes the Diamonds took the lead to help ease the tension at the Dog & Duck. Good work from Joe Merrill saw his cross reach Jack Wisniewski, whose attempted backflick went sideways but reached Sam Brown on the left side of goal to slot home.
It was Sam Brown who also had the Diamonds best chance in the remainder of the half, as he headed wide from an Aaron King cross, but otherwise there was very little action at either end for the remainder of the half.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Wellingborough Whitworth 0
The Diamonds stuck with their 4-5-1 formation for the second period, and five minutes into the half they extended their lead. Aaron King showed good close control in the penalty area, before being tripped and seeing referee Lake award a penalty. After Alfie Taylor had missed the Diamonds last penalty, and with perhaps the obvious replacement Matt Gearing sitting on the bench, Jake Newman stepped up to take what he described as his first penalty in men’s football. The Diamonds striker made no mistake as he fired low into the right-hand side of goal.
Any thoughts the Diamonds might now be able to maintain the two goal cushion for the remainder of the game were quickly dispelled when a gap appeared in the centre of defence as a neatly slotted ball from Freeman found Ryan Lovell who could easily fire past Cross.
Aaron King tried flicking the ball over his own head in the style of Paul Gascoigne before seeing his shot blocked, and Jake Newman had a shot saved, before keeper Walters spilled a King cross which was then knocked away for a corner and then Joe Merrill saw a long range attempt go narrowly wide.
After 77 minutes Séan McBride was replaced by Matt Gearing, allowing a switch to the more usual 4-4-2 formation with Sam Brown getting forwards once more to see a shot blocked, and with the attacking threat stepped up the Diamonds netted their third after 85 minutes, when a mishit shot from Aaron King was deflected to Jack Wisniewski towards the right post and he fired home.
With the game now safe the Diamonds became rather sloppy at the back, and Tom Cross had his busiest time of the game, saving low at the left post and then tipping over a Purser shot, but between these two saves the Diamonds added a fourth goal when a slip in defence allowed Ben Morgan to break clear and fire home.
The Diamonds now have to prepare for their trip to Kingsthorpe Mill to face Northampton Spencer on Saturday knowing that a point will seal promotion. The latest UCL Division 1 table is here. The latest Player Stats, Match Stats and Form Guide can be found here, along with the latest update on Attendance figures throughout the league. The latest player profiles with updated data can be found here.
Sponsors Man of the Match chosen by Joan Bathurst Catering: Jake Newman
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Tom Cross
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Aaron King
9. Alfie Taylor
10. Jake Newman
11. Brad Harris
12. Ben Morgan (for Newman 90)
13. Quincy Shorunmu
14. Lance Allen (for Taylor 85)
15. Deven Ellwood
16. Matt Gearing (for McBride 77)
1. Dan Waters
2. Luke Raftery
3. Ryan Baxter
4. James Mallows
5. Lee Purser (Capt)
6. Jonny Hazell
7. Dan Thompson
8. Matty Freeman
9. Cavell Jarvis
10. Ryan Lovell
11. Jamie White
12. Dan Newbold (for Freeman 82)
14. Matt Judge (for White 63)
15. Ant Sharp
16. Steve Sargent
Goals: Brown (14), Newman (50p), Wisniewski (85), Morgan (90+2)
Goal: Lovell (54)
Yellow Cards : None
Yellow Card: Raftery
Referee: Matthew Lake
Assistants: Les Passey, Paul Speakman
See here for Video highlights and post-match interviews.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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