AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 5-3 victory over Basford United in the second round of the FA Carlsberg Vase. First half goals from Jake Newman and Ben Morgan (2) gave the Diamonds a 3-1 lead at the break, and after the visitors got a goal back early in the second period, a spectacular goal from Jake Gillingwater made the scoreline 4-2. Jack Wisniewski then got on the scoresheet to stretch the Diamonds lead before a late penalty for the visitors.
Diamonds Manager Mark Starmer brought Joe Merrill back into the starting line-up at the expense of Jake Gillingwater – the only change to the side which had recorded back-to-back victories in the UCL. With Chris Hope having celebrated his 40th birthday this week he lined up against a fellow former Scunthorpe United regular, Martin Carruthers, who celebrated the same milestone earlier in the season.
Both sides showed their attacking intent early in the game, but it was the Diamonds who got the breakthrough after 7 minutes when Jamie Gilsenan threaded the ball through the visiting defence for Jake Newman who had time to bring the ball under control at the second attempt and fire past MacDonald.
Lively winger Jarrod Westcarr caused the Diamonds defence some concern as he ran at them from the right wing, taking the ball across the front of the area to get in a cross from the left which Chris Hope cleared for a corner. The resultant corner saw the visitors equalise with Martin Carruthers placing a header inside the left post the neither Shorunmu or the covering defender could reach.
This setback didn’t disrupt the Diamonds attacking threat, and they created a series of excellent chances, first for Gilsenan who fired over, and then for Newman, who broke clear of a static defence several times, putting shots narrowly wide of both posts. Matt Gearing was seeing far more of the ball on the left than Wisniewski on the right, and he created two chances for Newman, with help from Ben Morgan, but the second goal eluded the Diamonds striker. Morgan then had a good chance himself, but also saw his effort saved.
Just as it was looking like the score might be level at the break despite the Diamonds pressure and chances, the home side won a corner on the left. Matt Gearing took the corner, finding the head of Chris Hope at the far post and he headed back across goal for Ben Morgan to nod the Diamonds back in front.
It was a fair reflection of the first-half play that the Diamonds got their third goal after 43 minutes, and this time Ben Morgan showed an excellent touch to drag the ball from Jack Wisniewski into space for a shot that he fired home to confirm the Diamonds would score three first half goals for the third game running.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 Basford United 1
As expected the visitors came out for the second period with increased determination, and this brought an immediate reward when play broke down on the Diamonds right following a set play, and a quick ball forwards saw Jarrod Westcarr break clear with only Séan McBride in close pursuit but he was able to fire home to make the scoreline 3-2.
After 54 minutes Jamie Gilsenan limped off to be replaced by Jake Gillingwater, who took a right back role with Joe Merrill moving into centre midfield.
Both sides had chances to score the next goal, with Quincy Shorunmu tipping over an effort from Fabian Smith, and Sam Brown headed a Carruthers effort off the line after a corner, with the visiting striker also heading just over before the Diamonds won a free kick just inside the visitors half. Sam Brown took the kick and Chris Hope was able to head this across the box for Jake Gillingwater to hit an acrobatic mid-air scissor kick for his second spectacular goal for the club. The goal was the first in the last 10 goals that the Diamonds had scored that was in front of the Peter De Banke terrace, who were in fine voice throughout the game.
Jack Wisniewski seemed to have more of the ball when Gillingwater was supporting him, and an excellent run and cross might have brought a better reward.
Referee Scriven had been contributing to the excellent action by letting the game flow (although some off the ball challenges went unpunished), but a tackle on Matt Gearing that looked worthy of a yellow card if not a red was not even signalled as a foul, but it turned out to Diamonds advantage as about three phases of the play later the ball was worked to Jake Newman who crossed from the left for Jack Wisniewski to force the ball home from close range.
The visitors had claimed a penalty after a quick break was halted, but with 10 minutes left the penalty came when Quincy Shorunmu called for a high ball into his area, but was only able to palm the ball a few yards away, and as he went to try to make amends he brought down Courtney Hastings for the penalty which Martin Carruthers fired in-off the bar.
The Diamonds still had the two-goal advantage, and were able to see out the remaining minutes to seal their place in the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 Basford United 3
The draw for the next round of the competition is on Monday, with the tie due to be played on the weekend of December 8th. The Diamonds host Wootton Blue Cross in the UCL on Saturday (KO 3pm). Stats from all the Diamonds games this season, including player appearances and goal totals can be found on the summary stats page of this website.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match chosen by e-GNCS: Jake Gillingwater
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Jamie Gilsenan
9. Jake Newman
10. Ben Morgan
11. Matt Gearing
12. Jake Gillingwater (for Gilsenan 54)
13. Domenico Roggero
14. Louis Smith
15. Liam Bond
16. Peter Okechukwu
1. Curtis MacDonald
2. Ben Moore
3. Richard Harrison
4. Ash Dyce (Capt)
5. Martin Holt
6. Wayne Jones
7. Jarrod Westcarr
8. Fabian Smith
9. Martin Carruthers
10. Theo Smith
11. Aiden Brady
12. Willis Francis (for Jones 47)
14. Courtney Hastings (for Smith 78)
15. Connor Naylor
16. Dan Jackson (for Harrison 71)
17. Andy Frawley
Goals: Newman (7), Morgan (42/43), Gillingwater (62), Wisniewski (76)
Goals: Carruthers(11/82p), Westcarr(47)
Cards : None
Yellow Cards: Carruthers
Referee Michael Scriven
Asst Referees Martyn Jarvis and Stewart Walker
See here for match action video and interviews.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography