AFC Rushden & Diamonds produced a record breaking performance to progress to the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser with an 8-0 victory over Cockfosters at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening.
That was a record home victory for the team, and striker Russ Dunkley scored five goals (all with his head) to set an individual goal scoring record. After scoring the first three goals as part of a 26 minute hat-trick starting from the second minute of the game, Dunkley helped create the fourth goal for Fazel Koriya to give the Diamonds a 4-0 lead at the break. Any thoughts the Diamonds might ease up for the second period were quickly dispelled when Dunkley set up Alfie Taylor for the fifth Diamonds goal within two minutes of the restart. Dunkley then scored two more headed goals to make it 7-0 after 53 minutes, before leaving the field to a standing ovation. Although the match did then quieten down, Alfie Taylor got his second goal, whilst Tom Cross pulled off a great save to preserve his clean sheet.
Mark Starmer kept faith with the side that had played so well at the Dog & Duck a week earlier, as well as in the fixture at Cockfosters. Arron Parkinson made a welcome return to the substitutes’ bench on a wet night in Northamptonshire.
The Diamonds quickly established their domination of the game, and within two minutes they were ahead, as Fazel Koriya broke down the left before squaring the ball to Aaron King. King prodded the ball onto Nat Liburd on the right, and his cross was nodded home by Russ Dunkley at the far post.
The next ten minutes seemed to suggest the 421 fans might be seeing goals at either end, as the visitors created a number of chances with their passing game well suited to the Dog & Duck pitch, and Stuart Blackburne really should have added to the two goals he scored on Saturday as good work by Adem Ali on the left which wrong-footed Tom Cross and presented him with an open goal, but he fired horribly wide.
At the other end Fazel Koriya went close following a direct run on goal, but his shot was deflected wide off keeper Cennolli, then an excellent run by Aaron King might have resulted in the goal of the game, but his shot was just off target. Joe Merrill also missed the target after Alfie Taylor laid a ball from Liburd into his path.
After 19 minutes Russ Dunkley looped a header over Cennolli for the second goal from a Liburd cross. This second goal seemed to significant dent the visitors attacking threat, and after 28 minutes Russ Dunkley completed a hat-trick of headers when he knocked in a cross from Alfie Taylor after Taylor had initially set up Fazel Koriya for a chance that was blocked, but poor defending saw the ball knocked back to Taylor.
Alex Deakin almost knocked in the Diamonds fourth in a goal-mouth scramble, before Fazel Koriya celebrated his birthday with a goal as he made space to stroke home a low cross from Dunkley.
Half-Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4 Cockfosters 0
The Diamonds fans had hardly got into position for the second half before two further goals had been scored. It was Dunkley who was once again the provider as he linked with Aaron King and then set up Alfie Taylor for the Diamonds fifth. Shortly afterwards Joe Merrill broke forwards and found Alfie Taylor who wrong-footed a defender before hitting a shot that was deflected onto the woodwork, allowing Russ Dunkley a simple header for his fourth and the Diamonds sixth with only 48 minutes gone.
Five minutes later Sam Brown was able to add to his impressive tally of “assists” for the season as he crossed for Russ Dunkley to head home his fifth goal of the night after 53 minutes. With the scoreline now 7-0, and with there being no benefit of getting a bigger winning margin in a cup game, Dunkley was substituted to a standing ovation.
With both side using their substitutes the game rather stagnated at this point, although Tom Cross did make an excellent save from a well-hit shot from Elias Moses.
The Diamonds record-breaking night was completed with the eighth goal coming from Alfie Taylor with nine minutes left, after good work from Nat Liburd and Lance Allen found him in space on the edge of the area.
The win means the Diamonds progress to the Second Round Qualifying of the FA Cup with Budweiser, where they will host Cambridge City in a tie scheduled for Saturday 28th September KO 3pm (TBC).
Diamonds Man of the Match sponsored by St James Leather Gifts: Russ Dunkley
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. Arron Parkinson (for Merrill 74)
13. Quincy Shorunmu
14. Jake Gillingwater (for Deakin 63)
15. Jack Wisniewski
16. Elliot Dent
18. Lance Allen (for Dunkley 53)
1. Mario Cennolli
2. Damion Cruickshank
3. Phil Kane
4. Fergus Moore
5. Adam Pepera
6. Mark Woolley
7. Adem Ali
8. Paul Marks (capt)
9. Emond Protain
10. Stuart Blackburne
11. John Christian
12. Liam O’Keefe (for Kane 23)
14. George Tamne
15. Elias Moses (for Ali 47)
16. Peter Okechukwu
17. Alan Bolger (for Woolley 70)
18. Fabio Valenti
GK. Oliver Leslie
Goals: Dunkley (2/19/28/48/53), Koriya (45), Taylor (47/81)
Yellow Cards: None
Yellow Cards: None
Referee: Paul Hands
Assistants: Piotr Roj & Richard Armitage
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