AFC Rushden & Diamonds returned to action with a 5-0 win against Wootton Blue Cross at the Dog & Duck. Jake Newman netted the first hat-trick for the Diamonds, after an opening goal from Deakin and with a first goal for the club by Elliot Dent. The win means the Diamonds maintain their unbeaten record at home in league games, as well as their record of scoring in every game they have played.
With Chris Hope unavailable, Diamonds manager Mark Starmer was able to call upon Jake Gillingwater to play at centre-back. Quincy Shorunmu and Jack Wisniewski returned to the side after injury. The Diamonds started with Newman and Taylor up front, with Wisnewiski wide right and Matt Gearing wide left, with Séan McBride and Brad Harris in centre-midfield.
On a chilly afternoon the Diamonds kicked off towards the Peter De Banke terrace, facing a moderate winter breeze, and quickly established their dominance in the game. Matt Gearing was causing the visitors problems down the Diamonds left, and the returning Wisniewski ensured the Blue Cross defence was stretched to cover both flanks.
In the first few minutes Gearing was able to cut inside and after leaving a couple of defenders in his wake he fired over the bar, and then he produced a cross from the left that Alfie Taylor headed back across the box, but the ball was scrambled clear.
The Diamonds won a number of corners, with the Diamonds centre-backs causing problems as they went forwards, with Deakin seeing a goal-bound shot hit Brad Harris, and Gillingwater seeing an initial shot blocked and keeper Hankey producing a fine save to his follow-up shot. Another Gearing corner saw Jack Wisniewski head over, and Wisniewski also set up a good chance for Newman but the striker’s shot his keeper Hankey.
After 24 minutes the Diamonds took a deserved lead, as another dangerous corner from Gearing was headed home by Alex Deakin as he was challenged by a defender.
The Diamonds dominance continued, and shortly after Alfie Taylor had a goal disallowed he turned provider with a pin-point cross from the right which Jake Newman headed home. The Diamonds were producing some neat football, and with Matt Gearing having his best half to-date for the club, and Sam Brown getting forwards in support it was a surprise the scoreline remained at 2-0 at half-time. There was even a late scare when Quincy Shorunmu allowed a high ball through his arms to bounce off his chest, and then chased the loose ball outside of his area, but although the visitors worked the ball quickly back into the danger area, Sean McFarland could only put the ball wide of the unguarded net.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Wootton Blue Cross 0
The second half started as the first half had left off, with Jake Newman going close to knocking home a Wisniewski cross at the near post, and then the two players combined before Wisniewski fired a left-foot shot wide of goal. Alfie Taylor then joined these two in a neat move that saw Wisniewski lay the ball to Jake Newman who netted his second goal after 55 minutes.
Jake Newman then forced a fine save from Hankey, and the determination of Alfie Taylor saw him chase a long ball and force Hankey to run out of his area and concede a throw. The ball was quickly retrieved and fed back to Taylor who threw it to Jake Newman as Hankey tried to recover his ground, but the Diamond striker’s shot grazed the crossbar. The two combined again a few minutes later, and this time Hankey was able to tip Newman’s shot onto the post.
Elliot Dent joined the action and quickly saw an effort blocked by Bradley Cotton, but after 77 minutes he opened his account for the club in a rather bizarre fashion, receiving the ball from Alex Deakin and hitting a shot which looked destined to be easily gathered by Hankey, but it somehow squirmed through the keeper’s grasp and rolled through his legs and into the net to make the score 4-0.
Deven Ellwood and Aaron King also joined the action, and, against a tiring defence, several further chances were created. It looked like Jake Newman would not get his hat-trick as he blazed over a good chance, and saw Hankey make another fine save, so the game was in the final minute when good work from Aaron King found Ellwood breaking on goal, but his shot bounced off Hankey and presented Jake Newman with the chance to fire home the Diamonds fifth to earn him the match-ball.
Full-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 Wootton Blue Cross 0
The Diamonds host Buckingham town on Tuesday at the Dog & Duck. The latest player stats, updated following this game, are available via the player profiles on this site, or via the summary stats page.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Jake Newman
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Wootton Blue Cross
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Jake Gillingwater
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor (Capt)
10. Jake Newman
11. Matt Gearing
12. Aaron King (for McBride 65)
13. Ashley Foulger
14. Ben Morgan
15. Elliot Dent (for Wisniewski 58)
16. Deven Ellwood (for Taylor 78)
1. Robert Hankey
2. Robert Russell
3. Adam Jackson
4. Jonny Richens (Capt)
5. Bradley Cotton
6. Chris Winton
7. Sean McFarland
8. Ryan Smith
9. Kegan Roberts
10. Ash Mead
11. Scott Sinclair
12. Sam Hulance
14. Grant Williams (for Winton 57)
15. Kieran Day (for McFarland 78)
16. Charlie Standish (for Sinclair 78)
Goals: Deakin (24), Newman (35/55/90), Dent (77)
Cards : None
Referee: Matthew Lake
Assistants: Christopher Watkins, Paul Desmond
For video highlights of the game click here.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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