Bedford Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3

AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS marked their 100th match as a re-formed club with a comfortable victory over Bedford Town, in The FA Cup, at The Eyrie on Tuesday evening. First half goals from Tom Lorraine and Jason Turner were added to by a Matt Gearing penalty in the second half, to send The Diamonds through to the next round following the original 1-1 draw at The Dog and Duck.   

Diamonds manager Andy Peaks made five changes from the side that played host to Bedford just three days earlier. Sam Brown, Matt Gearing, Adam Confue, Jason Turner and Tom Lorraine all came into the starting XI. With Arron Parkinson (dislocated finger), Elliot Lamb-Johnson, Richard Bunting, Greg Ling and Russ Dunkley (foot injury) making way. Diamond’s freshened things up with Brown, Lorraine and Turner all starting for the first time in the 14/15 season. Koriya dropped into a deeper left-wing role to allow Lorraine and Turner to lead the Diamonds front line.

Diamonds looked to have complete control over the tie right from the first whistle. However, Bedford were always a danger on the counter attack – how The Eagles got their goal at The Dog and Duck.

The away side started brightly with Koriya and Gearing on the wings offering good pace and width whilst Confue’s energy stopped King from making an impact, like he did in the original fixture.

With Diamonds dictating the play and looking more like the home side, Bedford only really troubled the Diamonds on the break. In the fourth minute, Bedford’s swift move forward resulted in a couple of quick efforts from Rawlings and Winters, but the Diamonds defence held strong.

Diamonds were to take the lead on eight minutes. Sam Brown and Koriya’s link up play was a constant threat all night. Brown jinked forward to find Turner making a run ahead of him. Turner then squared the ball to Tom Lorraine, who had found space at the back post, and he comfortably slotted it in for his first goal of the season.

The UCL Premier Division side almost doubled their lead two minutes later. A quick long throw from Henderson found Turner sprinting down the right, leaving captain Burke behind, but the former Wellingborough man dragged his shot just wide.

Bedford were almost on level terms in the 14th minute. With their first dangerous piece of play, Parker switched the ball out to the opposite winger Winters, and his cross-cum-shot glanced the top of the cross bar before rolling out for a goal kick.

With the game being played at such a high tempo, it was hard to catch a breath. Diamonds doubled their lead in the 22nd minute. Bedford’s back line were expecting a long Joe Henderson throw, however this time the 20 year-old went short to Harris. The midfielder worked his way into space to deliver a deep cross towards Jason Turner, and he made no mistake from heading at the back post.  

With Diamonds having the two goal advantage, they showed no signs of sitting back. Fazel Koriya was proving to be a menace all night and he won a free-kick from King two minutes after the second goal. Gearing delivered a teasing cross which just evaded Ashton and he ended up with the fans in the stand behind the goal.

When Bedford managed to get into a promising position, their final ball let them down. Jarrold switched the ball to their other full back Cooper, who then found play-maker King, but his deep cross towards dangerman Cross, was too deep. Cross’ attempt to convert King’s delivery resulted in him crashing into the advertising boards and being replaced shortly after.

Scott Cross’ replacement, Russell Bull made an immediate introduction which re-ignited the game. His late tackle on Henderson caused a confrontation between players and was lucky to escape unpunished.

In the final stages of the first half, Diamonds could have been even further ahead. Another testing Gearing free-kick was met by the head of Ashton but he couldn’t get his free header on target from no more than six yards out.

Half-time : Bedford Town 0 -2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Bedford’s manager Craig Adams needed to liven things up for the second half. And he rolled his second throw of the dice with a like for like change up front.

First-half substitute Bull certainly made an impact when he came on. His cross was cleared away by Ashton early in the second half and then Bull received a yellow card after another strong challenge on Henderson.

Diamonds came out strong in the second half, eager to put the game to bed. In search of their third goal, Gearing, Turner and Lorraine linked together well in the 51st minute. Turner’s cushioned down header, following a cross from Gearing, fell right into Lorraine’s path, but his left-footed half volley went way over the bar.

Following Bedford’s third and final change, Gearing really should have put the game to bed. In the 58th minute, Turner turned provider once again. He turned his marker, Burke with ease and caught Gearing’s run infield. Baring down on goal with defenders left chasing him, Crockett saved Gearing’s shot well to keep his side with a glimmer of hope.

As of the 60 minute mark, Bedford woke up and suddenly pushed the away side back towards their goal. Bull had a piece of luck after the ball broke to him but he fired well wide. Bedford then had a very promising penalty appeal turned down. McGoldrick fell following Brown’s tackle, however referee Mr Mellor signaled a corner. Then on 64 minutes, following a number of Bedford corners, King struck a fierce half volley just wide. Fans would feel that if Bedford were to get back into this game, it would be now.

With Diamonds camped out in their own half, they found space to breathe when Koriya escaped on the counter. Twisting and turning from the half way line once again, leaving full back Cooper on his back-side, he squared the ball to Turner and his left footed shot went wide. On another day, Turner would’ve had a hat-trick. 

Following more sustained Bedford pressure, Dolman’s standard clearance turned out to be an excellent ball. The hoof forward found its way into Turner’s feet and he flicked the ball over Woodward. Loud cries of handball prevailed from fans and players and the referee felt the centre back had handled following Turner’s flick. The ever-reliant Matt Gearing stepped up to cooly slot home after 72 minutes.

The goal came at just the right time for Peaks’ side as they had been under quite a bit of pressure for the previous 15 minutes. After Diamonds’ third goal, the home side were back to being restricted for the odd chances.

Joe Merrill made his first appearance of the season when he replaced the impressive Jack Ashton. Then Peaks shored things up by taking off a striker and reverting to a five man midfield of Lamb-Johnson, Bunting, Confue, Harris and Gearing.

Bedford continued to press and look for that late consolation, however it was Diamonds that came closest. Two minutes into added time, another Diamonds counter attack led by Koriya once again, found substitute Lamb-Johnson, but his cross was only half cleared as far as Brown. The full back flicked the ball over his head and struck a half volley with his weaker foot just over the bar.

There was one last chance to send the Diamonds fans home with a fourth goal. In the sixth minute of added time, Bunting casually swept a free kick out to Gearing. The winger played a nice one-two with Koriya, who was leading the line, Gearing collected the ball again through on goal but his shot was deflected out for a corner.

Final Score : Bedford Town 0-3 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

A much improved performance following Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 draw. Perhaps the five changes were ultimately the difference but some superb individual performance definitely helped. A good battle between Confue and King helped the Diamonds control the match. Peaks will be pleased about how convincing the victory was against a team the league above. Next up for The Diamonds is an away trip to Harrowby United in The United Counties Premier League on Saturday, before they travel to face Hendon from the Isthmian League Premier Division in the First Qualifying Round on Saturday 13th September. Note that Hendon play at Earlsmead in South Harrow, home of Harrow Borough.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Man of the Match: Jason Turner

Attendance: 552

Match Report : Hayden Pott

 

Bedford Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1. Lee Crockett

2. Paul Cooper

3. Jordan Jarrold

4. Neil King

5. Jeff Woodward

6. Dan Burke (c)

7. Josh Winters

8. Tommy Glascoe

9. Tom Rawlings

10. Scott Cross

11. Robert Parker

Subs

12. Tom Liversedge (Rawlings 46)

14. Joe Hopewell

15. Sam Macrae

16. Josh McGoldrick (Winters 56)

17. Russell Bull (Cross 35)

17. Matt Finlay

2. Joe Henderson

3. Sam Brown

4. Brad Harris

5. Liam Dolman (c)

6. Jack Ashton

7. Matt Gearing

8. Adam Confue

9. Tom Lorraine

10. Fazel Koriya

11. Jason Turner

Subs

12. Richard Bunting (Turner 84)

13. Rhys Redding

14. Joe Merrill (Ashton 78)

15. Greg Ling

16. Elliot Lamb-Johnson (Lorraine 84)

19. Russell Dunkley

Goals: None

Goals: Lorraine (8), Turner (22), Gearing [penalty] (72).

Yellow Cards: Jarrold (35), Woodward (40), Bull (48), McGoldrick (70).

Yellow Cards: Merrill (90+5).

 Match Officials: Mr Mellor, Mr Stevens and Mr Nettleton

 

 

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