AFC Rushden & Diamonds defeated Bourne Town 2-1 on a cold Lincolnshire Saturday afternoon at Abbey Lawn. A Jake Gillingwater 30 yard shot had squeezed past the Bourne keeper to give the Diamonds a half-time lead, and Jake Newman appeared to have made the game safe in the second half when he slotted the ball home after his initial effort had hit the post, but a late goal from the home side made for a nervous closing five minutes.
With Chris Hope unavailable, Diamonds manager Mark Starmer gave a first start to Arron Parkinson at centre-back. He also restored Jake Gillingwater, Jack Wisniewski and Matt Gearing to the starting line-up, with Aaron King, Joe Merrill and Deven Ellwood dropping to the bench. The Diamonds had kept clean sheets in their previous five games, so were looking to complete 500 minutes without conceding a goal.
Although the pitch had plenty of grass on it, there were some bumpy areas, but the Diamonds quickly pressed the Wakes, with an early chance falling to Jack Wisniewski, who linked well with Alfie Taylor before firing a cross that defender Jesson rocketed past his own goal.
Arron Parkinson quickly began to look at home in the Diamonds defence, and he and partner Deakin were also causing the home defence problems when they went forwards for the several corners the Diamonds won early on.
After 11 minutes the Diamonds took the lead. Jake Gillingwater tried to force the ball forwards to Séan McBride on the area, but a defender was able to clear the ball back to Gillingwater about 30 yards out, and he hit a powerful shot that keeper Aaron Bellairs appeared to have covered, but he could only parry the ball towards the post and over the line.
Brad Harris had a chance to double the Diamonds lead a few minutes later, but he headed wide a Gillingwater cross. Referee Whitwell had a different style to many of the UCL officials, so both teams were having to adjust, and the game became very disjointed.
With 30 minutes gone the Diamonds won a free-kick on the edge of the area after an excellent run by Wisniewski, and Matt Gearing was able to keep the kick down and saw it deflect through the wall to Alfie Taylor who forced an excellent save from Bellairs.
A foul near the centre-circle earned the Diamonds another free kick a minute later, and the long ball forwards was headed on by Jake Newman for Alfie Taylor to burst past the defence to fire home, but the linesman had raised his flag for offside, although it didn’t appear that either Newman or Taylor was the offender.
Another long ball forwards, this time from Harris was played into the path of Gearing by Newman, who then cut inside but saw his effort go narrowly over. The half ended with a storming run from Sam Brown which resulted in a cross being scrambled behind off the toes of Jake Newman.
Half-Time: Bourne Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Within 15 seconds of the restart the Diamonds had won a corner, but the game quickly reverted to the stop-start pattern of the first half. Jake Newman created himself a couple of chances while Taylor and Wisniewski continued to link well, but the important second goal did not arrive.
After 74 minutes the Diamonds bench were preparing to take off Jake Newman when a long ball forwards from Gillingwater was miscontrolled by Lee Wood allowing Newman to rob him and break free on goal. Although his initial shot struck the post, the Diamonds striker was able to follow up and prod the ball home with his left foot.
With the weather deteriorating it looked like the Diamonds had done enough to close down the game, but with seven minutes left the Wakes were able to scramble home through Tom Waumsley after a dangerous break resulted in a corner. The goal was the first the Diamonds had conceded in over 530 minutes of football.
Although Mr Whitwell played five minutes of added time, the Diamonds held on for a valuable win.
The Diamonds have a short period of recovery before their biggest game in their short history – the trip to Northampton Sileby Rangers on Tuesday evening.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Arron Parkinson
The club would like to thank Buckitt Tours for their help in arranging the transport for this fixture. Buckitt Tours are an independent tour company that specialises in holidays and day trips to destinations throughout the UK and Ireland. They can provide luxury coach transport for Private Hire, Sports Days, Golf Outings, Weddings and other special occasions. They are based near Peterborough, and can be contacted on 01832 720524.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Aaron Bellairs
2. Kevin Elger
3. Tom Cardall
4. Lee Wood
5. Aaron Jesson
6. Richard Nelson
7. Craig Rook
8. Andy Moss
9. Tom Waumsley
10. John Currall
11. Mike Feeley
12. Jimmy McDonnell (for Feeley 84)
14. Simon Penney
15. Danny Pick (for Wood 76)
16. Dan Mason
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Arron Parkinson
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor
10. Jake Newman
11. Matt Gearing
12. Aaron King (for Newman 75)
13. Ashley Foulger
14. Joe Merrill (for Wisniewski 82)
15. Ben Morgan (for Taylor 89)
16. Deven Ellwood
Goals: Waumsley (83)
Goals: Gillingwater (11), Newman (74)
Yellow Cards : Rook
Yellow Card: Merrill
Referee: Matthew Whitwell
Assistants: Phillip Hayes, Nigel Thorold
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Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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