Diamonds got back to winning ways in pre-season as they beat UCL side Bugbrooke St. Michael 3-1 on a very warm Tuesday evening. Three excellent finishes from Ben Acquaye in the first-half and Jack Bowen and a trialist in the second won the game with an unfortunate Ben Heath slip giving St. Michaels their goal.
Manager Andy Peaks went with the same approach to his previous pre-season games with 4 of the now fairly regular trialists joining some strong league starting league eleven contenders in Ben Heath, Liam Dolman, Jack Ashton, Ben Farrell, Sam Brown, Ben Acquaye and Jack Bowen. Declan Rogers, Joe Curtis, Sam Johnson, and Patrick Casey came on second half with another 3 of the trialist group.
As with other games the first half was more competitive and played at a slightly higher tempo. Diamonds moved the ball well as they have done all pre-season against hardworking and robust UCL opposition.
Ben Acquaye has played every game so far starting 3 of the 4 and has impressed throughout. He notched his second goal of pre-season early in the first half with what has become a trademark finish. He picked up the ball on the edge of the box moved into a great position and slammed the ball home.
Half-time: Bugbrooke St. Michaels 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Jack Bowen has been equally impressive in pre-season also playing every game and starting 3 of the 4 games and he notched his third of the campaign early in the second-half. He has scored every game he has started and this time broke away from the Bugbrooke defence and slotted past the keeper into the far corner.
A very robust challenge on Ben Acquaye soon after which injured the impressive striker soon saw the two goal scorers substituted with the returning Declan Rogers and a trialist joining the fray.
Further changes saw Joe Curtis, Sam Johnson and two further trialists into the action soon followed by the impressive youngster Patrick Casey.
Diamonds rather gifted Bugbrooke their consolation goal as Ben Heath was disposed on the edge of the box allowing the home side’s striker to tap home.
Diamonds grabbed a deserved third soon after with a classic trialist combination. Trialist A threaded a great through ball for trialist B to stride in on goal and slot home neatly.
There was just time for Ben Heath to show what a good keeper he is with a superb point-blank save at the end of a good Bugbrooke move.
Full-time: Bugbrooke St. Michaels 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3
Another good workout for Diamonds against a UCL side who took the game very seriously. Further goals for Ben Acquaye and Jack Bowen will have pleased Andy Peaks although the injury to Ben Acquaye will be a disappointment in the way it happened. The trialist group again impressed in parts with a nice combination between two of the better trialists notching Diamonds third goal.
Next-up two big games at Hayden Road with Histon visiting on Saturday for the Dale Roberts Memorial game and Northampton Town arriving for the Maunsell Cup final next Tuesday.
Match Report: Paul Judd