AFC Rushden & Diamonds kept up the pressure on their promotion rivals by recording a 5-2 over Bourne Town at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon. A well-taken first half goal by Alfie Taylor in a very open game was followed by a second half goal from Jack Wisniewski before Tom Waumsley got a goal back for the visitors. Alfie Taylor restored the two goal lead until Waumsley netted his second from the penalty spot, but the Diamonds made the game safe with goals from Jake Newman and a powerful strike from Lance Allen.
After heavy rain on the previous two days, a number of Diamonds volunteers had worked hard to ensure the game took place – and this work also meant that the rain that fell for two-thirds of the game did not cause any threat that the game might not be completed.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer had to contend with the loss of both regular full-backs, with Sam Brown still not quite ready for a return and Jake Gillingwater having picked up a hamstring injury. With Arron Parkinson returning to the side, he was able to play Alex Deakin at right-back, allowing Parkinson to partner Chris Hope at centre-back and Joe Merrill continuing to fill in at left back. Alfie Taylor returned up front alongside Jake Newman, with a midfield quartet of Wisniewski, McBride, Harris and Gearing. Tom Cross was making his first appearance at the Dog & Duck in the Diamonds goal, with Starmer naming five outfield substitutes.
The game was an open affair, with both sides finding space in their opponents half. After early chances for the Diamonds strikers the Wakes came close when they broke down the right and played a crossfield ball behind Arron Parkinson for Tom Waumsley to run onto and fire a powerful shot that Tom Cross did really well to tip over.
It was clear the game would produce goals, with both sides having chances, so if helped to calm the Diamonds fans’ nerves when they took the lead after 9 minutes. An accurate ball forwards from Joe Merrill was laid off by Matt Gearing on the left to Alfie Taylor, whose flick and shot past Bellairs was reminiscent of some of the goals early in the season.
Newman and Taylor were linking up well, and each came close to extending the Diamonds lead. Newman also went close after Chris Hope headed down a free-kick, and when he worked his way along the byline after a quick throw-in. Other Diamonds near misses came from Parkinson and Gearing, but at the other end the visitors also looked threatening from dead-ball situations.
Just before the half-hour mark the Diamonds were forced into a change when Arron Parkinson had to limp off. Aaron King joined the action, with Séan McBride moving to right-back as Alex Deakin returned to his centre-back role.
King quickly started to influence the game, with a neat interchange with Jack Wisniewski, whose shot was well saved by Bellairs, and the Wakes stopper also did well to keep out efforts from Deakin and Hope before the break.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Bourne Town 0
With the rain now constant, the Diamonds would have been looking to start the second period on the front foot, and it only took three minutes for them to extend their lead. A throw in on the right was worked across to Jake Newman who showed great close control near the byline before laying the ball back to present Jack Wisniewski with a clear chance that he confidently converted.
After Matt Gearing was fouled his free-kick was tipped out to Aaron King, whose shot was well saved.
After 54 minutes the Wakes won a free kick in the centre of the park whose origin wasn’t too clear, but the kick found striker Tom Waumsley who halved the arrears.
To their credit the Diamonds quickly restored their two goal lead, with great work from Gearing to win a challenge and then link up with the impressive Aaron King, who in turn found the on-form Alfie Taylor who fired home after 57 minutes.
Four minutes later the hard-working Jake Newman outwitted the Wakes defence once again to break clear, but his effort was just over the bar. Referee Ross had been having a good game, letting play flow where possible, but the Diamonds defence felt the challenge on Waumsley as he tried to move the ball towards the right of goal did not merit a spot kick, but the referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Tom Waumsley stepped up to convert.
Once again there was the prospect of a nervy final quarter for the Diamonds fans, but after 72 minutes a goalmouth scramble saw the ball almost cross the line following a Gearing free kick before an attempt from Wisniewski found Jake Newman who flicked home at close range. Wakes keeper and captain Bellairs ran half of the length of the pitch to complain about the goal, but was only rewarded with a yellow card.
Elliot Dent joined the action, and he linked up well with his old teammate Aaron King before setting up Jake Newman for another well hit effort that forced another good save from Bellairs.
Lance Allen is fast becoming the Diamonds super-sub, as once again he joined the action and started to cause a tiring defence all kinds of problems with his pace. As the match entered the 90th minutes Alex Deakin picked up the ball in his own half towards the right, and set off on a run past two defenders before linking with Allen, and although Deakin continued his run into the area, Lance Allen once again lashed the ball into the net to complete the scoring.
The Diamonds now have a week to prepare for their trip to Kiln Park to face Raunds next Saturday. With Northampton Sileby Rangers winning, and with honours even between Eynesbury Rovers and Oadby Town the four-team promotion race continues to tighten.
Diamonds Man of the Match chosen by Match Sponsors TecTrailers Ltd and David Smith Carpentry & Maintenance: Chris Hope
With the season nearing conclusion, details of the forthcoming fixtures and recent results from the ChromaSport and Trophies United Counties League Division One can be found alongside the league table on the League website here.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Tom Cross
2. Alex Deakin
3. Joe Merrill
4. Sean McBride
5. Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Arron Parkinson
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor
10. Jake Newman
11. Matt Gearing
12. Ben Morgan
14. Lance Allen (for Newman 84)
15. Elliot Dent (for Wisniewski 76)
16. Deven Ellwood
17. Aaron King (for Parkinson 29)
1. Aaron Bellairs (Capt)
2. Kevin Elger
3. Tom Cardell
4. Craig Rook
5. Aaron Jesson
6. Dan Smith
7. Andy Moss
8. John Currall
9. Tom Waumsley
10. Seb Hood
11. Tom Caldicott
12. Jimmy McDonnell (for Moss 86)
14. Simon Penney (for Currall 81)
15. Jason Kilbride (for Hood 64)
16. Darren Munton
Goals: Taylor (9, 57), Wisniewski (48), Newman (72), Allen(90)
Goals: Waumsley (54, 69(pen))
Yellow Cards : None
Cards: Rook, Bellairs
Referee: Charlie Ross
Assistants: Adrian Walker, Andy Collin
See here for match highlights and post match interviews.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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