AFC Rushden & Diamonds put nine goals past Buckingham Town at Manor Fields on Saturday. First half goals by Jake Newman (2), Jake Gillingwater, Alex Deakin and Matt Gearing had given the visitors a 5-0 lead at the break. Further goals from Séan McBride, Lance Allen, Alex Deakin and Chris Hope completed the scoring in the second period.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer rested Jack Wisniewski ahead of the busy Christmas period, giving a first start to Lance Allen in right midfield. Joe Merrill kept a place in central midfield in the absence of the injured Jamie Gilsenan, with Jake Gillingwater starting at right back. Alfie Taylor and Elliot Dent took a place on the bench for the second game running as they recover from lengthy absences due to injury, but Deven Ellwood had to watch from the sidelines on crutches after his recent operation.
The game was played in Fenny Stratford / Bletchley at Manor Fields on a pitch that had soaked up recent rainfall, but was generally heavy, and very heavy in patches. The home side were forced into a late change in goal, meaning they had to bring in Claudio Palmiero for his first appearance of the season.
The Diamonds players were wearing black armbands in memory of Dale Roberts.
Both sides made early errors influenced by an uneven bounce and a slippery surface, but the Diamonds quickly seemed to adjust and took the lead after four minutes. Good pressure on the left from Matt Gearing won a throw near the corner flag, allowing Chris Hope to get forward and to nod on the Sam Brown long throw to Jake Newman who made no mistake with his finish as he flicked the ball home, meaning he extended his scoring run to seven consecutive games.
Matt Gearing set Jake Newman up with a further chance three minutes later, with keeper Palmiero doing well to push the shot out for a corner. His relief was shortlived however, as the resultant Gearing corner fell to Jake Gillingwater who volleyed home.
Shortly afterwards the impressive Newman won the Diamonds another corner, this time on the right, and Sam Brown worked a neat short corner to set up Matt Gearing whose shot forced an excellent save from Palmiero who tipped the his 15 yard shot over the bar. Jake Gillingwater narrowly failed to get an overhead kick on target from the resultant corner.
After 12 minutes a Diamonds break through the middle was thwarted by a professional foul, but although referee Trevor Martin was rather lenient to keep his cards in his pocket, the Diamonds punished the offence as the free kick was flicked to Ben Morgan, and although his shot was blocked the rebound was knocked home by Alex Deakin for the Diamonds third – his first goal for the club.
At 3:24 the Diamonds fans remembered Dale Roberts with a minute of applause.
The Diamonds fourth goal came after 34 minutes when they won a free-kick in a central area just outside the penalty area, and Matt Gearing hit a precision strike in-off the post giving keep Palmiero little chance.
To their credit the home side continued to battle, and Quincy Shorunmu was forced to pull off a smart save from Kyle Stimpson as he latched on to a ball fired forwards down the right channel by Ben Shepherd, and Alex Carroll couldn’t follow-up with the loose ball.
Jake Newman had been giving the home centre-backs a torrid time, and he got a deserved second when he comfortably sprung their rather static offside trap and ran clear to fire home the Diamonds fifth after good work by Lance Allen and a through ball from Séan McBride.
Half-Time: Buckingham Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5
The talk at half-time was about how Séan McBride had produced another dominant performance in midfield, and all it was lacking was a goal – and within a minute of the restart he had put this right. Jake Newman once again found space just outside of the area, and showed the vision to roll the ball into the path of Séan McBride who fired home his first goal for the club – the Diamonds sixth.
Matt Gearing then put a header wide from a Newman cross before the weather took a turn for the worse, although the Diamonds fans continued their singing in the rain. With the weather at its worst the action was rather dampened, with Ben Morgan creating a chance for himself by leaving marker on the floor, but he lashed his shot over the bar.
Both sides made a number of changes, with Smith, Taylor and Dent joining the action for the Diamonds. With around 20 minutes left the Diamonds seventh was created by Jake Newman as he rolled the ball to Lance Allen who fired home, becoming the third Diamonds player to score their debut goal for the club during this game.
More good work by Jake Newman almost forced a bizarre own goal from a Robins’ defender, who saw a powerful header fly into the goal stanchion, but from just outside of the post.
It wasn’t long before the Diamonds made it 8-0, after winning a corner on the left, the Alfie Taylor corner was headed home by Alex Deakin.
Jake Newman narrowly failed to get the hat-trick his performance deserved as he once again broke past his marker before firing over. Although Alfie Taylor might have felt he might have seen a pass from Newman on that occasion, the two strikers did link up after Newman did well to get up after being rugby-tackled, with referee Martin playing a good advantage, but Taylor saw his shot saved by the brave Palmiero.
The final Diamonds goal of the game came after they won another corner on the left, and although a defender did well to just flick the Taylor corner off the head of Alex Deakin, it fell to Chris Hope near the penalty spot, and the Diamonds captain fired home the ninth of the day, cementing the Diamonds record winning margin with his goal. The Diamonds fans reminded him that he also scored in the record winning performance of R&DFC, the 9-0 victory at Weymouth, as the final whistle blew.
Full-Time: Buckingham Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 9
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Jake Newman
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Claudio Palmiero
2. Sam Barker
3. Sol Kazongo
4. Pat Diamond
5. Lewis Hayes
6. Massimo Colucci
7. Demarlo Smith
8. Alex Carroll
9. Kyle Stimpson
10. Ben Shepherd
11. Nick Bines
12. Matt France (for Barker 62)
14. Craig Ross (for Carroll 69)
15. Ieuan Riley
16. Gianni Palmero (for Kazongo 69)
17. Carl Knox
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Alex Deakin
7. Lance Allen
8. Joe Merrill
9. Jake Newman
10. Ben Morgan
11. Matt Gearing
12. Elliot Dent (for Gearing 71)
13. Jack Wisniewski
14. Louis Smith (for McBride 63)
15. Peter Okechukwu
16. Alfie Taylor (for Morgan 67)
Goals: Newman (4,38), Gillingwater(7), Deakin(12,84), Gearing(34), McBride(46), Allen(68), Hope(90+2)
Yellow Cards : None
Yellow Cards: None
Referee: Trevor Martin
Assistants: Michael Chalkley, Darrell Horner
For video highlights and post-match interviews click here.
Match action photography courtesy of Stephanie Webb Photography
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