AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 5-1 victory over Hoddesdon Town in the FA Vase 2nd Round Qualifying tie at the Dog & Duck on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Deakin opened the scoring for the Diamonds after 10 minutes, heading home a Koriya cross. After Russ Dunkley headed home a Koriya corner after 16 minutes and with other chances missed it looked like the Diamonds might run away with the game, but the Lilywhites continued to battle and got a goal back from a deflected shot after 21 minutes. More chances were missed, and the visitors had a good period of possession shortly after the break, but Alfie Taylor set up Koriya with a simple header to make the game more secure on the hour mark. Further goals from Koriya and Dunkley completed the scoring, with Alfie Taylor and Jack Wisniewski playing their part in those two goals.
Mark Starmer kept faith with the side that had played so well in recent games at the Dog & Duck against teams from the same league as Hoddesdon.
The Diamonds quickly established their domination of the game, and Aaron King twice went close with well-hit volleys, although there was a scare when Nat Liburd and Joe Merrill seemed to leave the ball to each other and Adam Bolle forced Tom Cross into action. After Alfie Taylor saw a shot deflected for a corner, this was cleared as far as Aaron King whose shot that looked goalbound was deflected for another corner on the right. Koriya’s low corner was met by an alert Jamal Clarke who worked the ball back to him, and this time his cross cleared the first man and onto the head of Alex Deakin who nodded home the Diamonds opening goal after 10 minutes.
Aaron King was having a storming start to the game, and he made an excellent covering tackle to rob the ball off the toes of Gary Simmonds, after Ben Andreos had showed fine control to bring down a long ball and lay the ball to the edge of the penalty area “D”.
After Deakin had gone close with another headed chance, Nat Liburd made a good run to win a corner, and from the Koriya corner Russ Dunkley made himself space to head the ball into the net and give the Diamonds a 2-0 lead after 16 minutes.
With the Diamonds creating chances and winning the midfield battle they were looking as dominant as they had been at times on Tuesday evening, but the Lilywhites continued to battle, and after 21 minutes a speculative shot from Robbie Carroll that Tom Cross probably would have had covered took a big deflection and curved into the net to rather muted celebrations from the visitors.
Alfie Taylor was linking well with Dunkley, as well as making some strong runs of his own. One of these produced a fine save from keeper Buck, and another saw his shot hit the side-netting. Russ Dunkley was showing his abilities with the ball on the ground, and he set Nat Liburd on a run down the right, and then made the ground into the area to meet the cross at the left-hand post only to see a looping header narrowly clear the bar.
Fazel Koriya was also working well on the left flank, and his run that beat two men saw a shot go just over the bar. With other efforts from Taylor, Dunkley and Sam Brown the Diamonds came close but could not extend their lead before the break.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Hoddesdon Town 1
The second period started with the balance of play rather more even, but after 61 minutes the Diamonds restored their two goal buffer. This time it was Alfie Taylor and Nat Liburd who executed a neat switch move, Liburd coming inside to work the ball to Taylor as he moved to the right side of the area. Taylor showed his technical abilities to execute a deft chip across the face of goal allowing Fazel Koriya to run in and head home.
After 65 minutes Sam Brown was replaced by Jake Gillingwater to avoid aggravating his groin problem any further, meaning that Joe Merrill switched to left back. Further near misses, a penalty claim, last ditch clearances and a goal ruled out for offside were followed by the Diamonds fourth goal after 82 minutes, and once again Alfie Taylor was involved. Working in the left channel, Alfie laid the ball to Fazel Koriya who showed his ability by controlling the ball without breaking his stride and then firing the ball into the net. Taylor really deserved a goal, and was unlucky when he brought down a long ball, left two defenders in his wake with deft flicks and then poked the ball at full-stretch just over the bar.
The Diamonds were now in full control, and saw several near misses, as well as another clearance off the line, and skewed clearances from the defence that were close to being an own-goal.
Jack Wisniewski had made a welcome return to the action after his recent holiday, and he quickly continued where he had left off, firstly on the right, and then after he switched to the left he created the Diamonds fifth goal when he received the ball from Dunkley and ran to the byline and floated in a cross for Russ Dunkley to nod home after 88 minutes. That meant Dunkley has scored eight headed goals in a row – over a period of just eight days.
Both Dunkley and Koriya went close in the final minutes, before referee Nicholson signalled the Diamonds were into the first round of the FA Carlsberg Vase for the second season running.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 Hoddesdon Town 1
The Diamonds are now in the hat for Monday’s draw for the First Round of the FA Carlsberg Vase, with the tie due to be played on the weekend of October 19th.
It will be another week of cup football at the Dog & Duck for the club, with the U18 team making their debut in the FA Youth Cup on Monday evening, then Huntingdon Town visit in the UCL Knock-Out Cup on Tuesday, followed by the Second Round Qualifying of the FA Cup with Budweiser, where the Diamonds will host Cambridge City on Saturday 28th September KO 3pm.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Tom Cross
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Brad Harris
5. Alex Deakin
6. Jamal Clarke
7. Nat Liburd
8. Aaron King
9. Russ Dunkley (Capt)
10. Alfie Taylor
11. Fazel Koriya
12. Jake Gillingwater (for Brown 65)
13. Quincy Shorunmu
14. Lance Allen
15. Jack Wisniewski (for Liburd 71)
16. Elliot Dent (for King 71)
21. Reece Buck
2. Mark Teasdale
3. Kevin Metiver
4. Charlie Morgan
5. Albert Bostock
6. Barrington Brotherton
7. Gary Simmonds (c)
8. Jamie Brandon
9. Ben Andreos
10. Robbie Carroll
11. Adam Bolle
12. Nicky Marsh (for Brandon 81)
14. Mashach Williams (for Andreos 72)
15. Dave Pigden (for Carroll 76)
Goals: Deakin (10), Dunkley (16/88), Koriya (61/82)
Goals: Carroll (21)
Yellow Cards: None
Yellow Cards: None
Referee: Mr David Nicholson
Assistants: Mr Jason Hunt & Mr Steve Gregory
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