AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 – Fleet Town 2

AFC Rushden & Diamonds moved up to third in the Southern League Central Division table on Tuesday night with an at times superb performance in beating Fleet Town 5-2.

Diamonds scored three in a superb first 25 minutes as they tore their mid table opponents apart. Tom Lorraine added 2 more great finishes to the two he scored on Saturday, and Sam Brown struck via an Andy Hall deflection. Fleet responded with a cool finish from Daryll Philips before Tommy Berwick’s superb volley restored the three goal lead. Fleet bounced back again though through Jack White to end a breathless first half at 4-2 to Diamonds.

The quality of defending improved in the second half and Fleet carried more of a threat but it was Diamonds substitutes Scott Joseph who added a spectacular 5th to finally clinch the game. Andy Hall nearly capped a superb full debut with a 6th with the last kick of the game only seeing his 25 yard effort crashing back off the bar.

Manage Andy Peaks made two changes from the side that won narrowly against Potters Bar on Saturday with the key substitutes from that game Andy Hall and Dan Quigley starting in place of Delroy Gordon and Claudio Hoban. Brad Harris moved to right back allowing Ollie Wilkinson to move to centre half. Dan Quigley slotted into centre midfield alongside Richard Bunting and Andy Hall replaced Hoban, saved for the weekend FA Cup match, on the right.

Diamonds started totally on the front foot and created real pressure from the off. Courtney Herbert sprinted past his full back in the first minute to cross dangerously and then a series of dangerous corners built pressure that finally broke on just 4 minutes. A Sam Brown long throw was only half cleared high in the air, the keeper flapped at the falling ball allowing Tom Lorraine to head over him into an empty net.

Diamonds were relentless then for the next 15 minutes with a series of close efforts from dangerous crosses and threatening corners compounded by some poor Fleet defending. Brad Harris had a superbly cushioned volley from a corner just tipped over, Liam Dolman flicked on a corner that went just over and Andy Hall hit a rasping right foot shot that was superbly tipped round the post by Pryce in the Fleet goal, before the second finally came on 23

Great passing around the edge of the Fleet area put Courtney Herbert on the ball, he let the ball run into the path of Tom Lorraine who shot first time left footed in off the bar to give the keeper no chance.

They waited just 2 minutes to add a third as more great movement of the ball around the box finally fell to Sam Brown to side-foot home via a deflection from Andy Hall. A fourth was very close just minutes later as pacey Courtney Herbert hit a firecracker of an effort that crashed off the bar from 35 yards.

Fleet had been all out to hold a rampant Diamonds side at this stage but then shocked everyone in the ground by scoring from their first attack on 29. Neat play down the right lead to a low cross that wasn’t cleared by the Diamonds defence allowing Daryll Phillips to prod home.

In what then became an end to end period of the game Diamonds added a 4th in spectacular fashion on 32. Tom Lorraine’s cross from the left fell to Tommy Berwick wide right of the goal who volleyed acrobatically but in controlled style into the opposite corner to give Pryce no chance.

Fleet were more bullish and confident in possession despite the continued set-backs and scored a deserved second on 42. More good movement around the edge of the box set-up Craig Davis for a curled effort from 20 yards that came back off the far post into the path of the unmarked Jack White to fire home across the prone Finlay.

A breathless first half finished 4-2 for possibly the most goal laden opening period for Diamonds at the Dog & Duck.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4 – Fleet Town 2

After a well-deserved half-time breather for everyone both sides made a half-time substitution with Charlie Butt coming on for Diamonds in place of Richard Bunting who had picked up a knock late in the first half. Brad Harris moved into centre midfield to allow Butt to slot in at right back.

After the excitement and neat passing of the first half it was a much more scrappy start to the second. Fleet were closing down much more effectively but both sides were making errors in possession to stop any meaningful forward momentum.

Courtney Herbert was having one of his best games for the club though and he fashioned a chance for himself on 52 cutting in from left, past his marker and firing in low only to see Pryce in the Fleet goal gather at full stretch.

Fleet were definitely more organised defensively and composed in possession in the second half and energised by that late first half surge and it was Fleet who came closest to a goal in these early stages. They actually had the ball in the net on 68 after a long cross was headed past Finlay but an early offside flag saved the home side.

More substitutions followed with Tom Liversedge and Scott Joseph introduced for the excellent on the night Tommy Berwick and Courtney Herbert and it did energise the Diamonds attack. Liversedge came close to setting up Lorraine with some trademark back to goal play his layback fired at goal by Tom Lorraine from 15 yards but well blocked, and he combined with Joseph to put the big striker through only to see Pryce tip the ball off his toes as he surged through.

Andy Hall had been mighty impressive all night and he came close with an audacious chip from 30 yards on 70 minutes after a surge forward onto a Dan Quigley pass. His effort saw the keeper well beaten but just fell over the bar.

The 5th goal finally came in spectacular fashion on 76 through super sub Scott Joseph. On his 8th sub appearance of the season he latched onto a Liam Dolman clearance 40 yards out and surprised everyone with a first time effort on the run which flashed into the bottom corner.

It finally put the result to bed in what had been a competitive second half and in the later stages Diamonds had two more chances of note. Charlie Butt seeking his first goal for the club firing just over from an angle at the end of a side to side move involving Scott Joseph and Dan Quigley, and Andy Hall smacking a 25 yard shot off the crossbar with the last kick off the match.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 – Fleet Town 2

Diamonds won this game with a superb first half-surge which saw them 3 goals up inside 25 minutes with some great finishing. Manager Andy Peaks will be disappointed in the manner of the goals conceded that kept the game alive for the visitors but 5 goals spread around his main strikers and excellent wing play from Courtney Herbert and Andy Hall will have been particularly pleasing.

After back to back wins pushing Diamonds up to third in the table all eyes now turn to the biggest game in their short history with the trip to Barwell on Saturday in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. One step from the first round proper Diamonds will be playing in the lucky red 3rd kit that they won in at Bedfont and Feltham.

Man of the Match: Tom Lorraine

Attendance: 322

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Fleet Town

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Brad Harris

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Ollie Wilkinson

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Dan Quigley

7.   Andy Hall

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Tommy Berwick

11. Courtney Herbert


12.  Delroy Gordon

13.  Alex Vitue

14.  Scott Joseph (for Herbert 70)

18.  Charlie Butt (for Bunting 45)

19.  Tom Liversedge (for Berwick 60)

1.   Ryan Pryce

2.   Brett Stanley

3.   Josh Francis

4.   Jack White

5.   Daniel Russell

6.   Craig Davis

7.   Chris Hall

8.   James Scott

9.   Simba Mlambo

10. Benjamin White

11. Daryll Phillips


12. Stuart Parker (for Stanley 82)

13. Jordan Westbrook

14. Ben Toye (for Scott 61)

15. Josh Harfield (for Ben White 45)

16. Craig Martin

Goals: Lorraine (4 & 23), Brown (25), Berwick (32), Joseph (76)

Goals: Phillips (29), White (42)

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee:  Akil Howson

Assistants:  James Waters, Paul Whateley



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