AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 4-0 victory over Burton Park Wanderers at Latimer Park on Saturday afternoon. An Alfie Taylor hat-trick followed an opening goal from Jake Newman to seal a victory which saw Diamonds Midfielder Séan McBride sent-off following an off-the-ball incident.
Diamonds manager Mark Starmer brought back Quincy Shorunmu in goal, and Brad Harris was preferred to Aaron King in midfield. Joe Merrill returned to the bench after illness, but Matt Gearing was not risked after a midweek illness, although he is expected to be ready to return for the next game at the Dog & Duck. Jake Newman had recovered from the knock that forced him off in the previous game.
New Wanderers manager Joe Smyth introduced two new signings, including the dual-registered Kettering Town player Will Muzvimbiri and the ex-Poppies player Harpal Thiara.
The pitch was predictably heavy, but the Diamonds quickly imposed themselves on the game, although their finishing in the first quarter of the game was rather sloppy, meaning a number of chances were wasted, as well as the woodwork saving the home side on a couple of occasions. Alex Deakin saw a header hit the crossbar from a Taylor corner, before Jake Newman headed over from another good opening and Alfie Taylor saw an effort cleared off the line.
The Diamonds were at their most dangerous when they swept the ball around the pitch, building from the back, with the full-backs liking well with the central midfielders and wide men on both flanks. A long cross-field ball from Jake Gillingwater was neatly controlled by Elliot Dent, but those two pieces of skill were let down by a skied shot.
Alfie Taylor also hit the post, as well as forcing a defender to scramble a clearance that narrowly missed the goal. Despite all the Diamonds pressure, it took them 35 minutes to force Liam Fox to make his first good save of the game, and this save began to bring back memories of the game between the sides at the Dog and Duck when Fox earned his side a point.
However, those thoughts didn’t last too long, and within four minutes the Diamonds were ahead through Jake Newman who applied a neat finish to a sweeping move down the right that started from Gillingwater at the back and ended with a Wisniewski cross, although keeper Fox might have felt he could have done better to push the shot wide.
A minute later Jack Wisniewski popped up on the left flank, but could not get a good contact with his left foot and shot wide, but shortly afterwards the Diamonds scored the second goal their first-half domination merited, and this time Alfie Taylor made no mistake after being fed by Jake Newman once he had got the ball under full control as he slotted the ball past a flat-footed Fox.
There was still time for an Elliot Dent shot to be cleared off the line before Mr Tweedale blew for half-time.
Half-Time: Burton Park Wanderers 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2
The first few minutes of the second half looked like being a repeat of the first period, as more chances were created but not converted, with a Jake Newman header hitting the bar from a Taylor cross and then another excellent team move down the right involving Gillingwater, Wisniewski and Taylor saw Newman caught just offside as he tried to set up Taylor.
After 57 minutes the game was effectively over as the Diamonds got their third, with good work from Dent and Newman setting up Alfie Taylor for his second of the game. However, any thought that the last 30 minutes of the game might be without incident were quickly dispelled.
After 61 minutes a forceful challenge on Elliot Dent saw him have to leave the field, although Mr Tweedale took no action for the challenge. A minute later he was brandishing a red card towards Séan McBride for an off-the-ball incident which saw a Wanderers player left on the floor.
Seconds later the 10-man Diamonds team sliced through the home defence, with a Jake Newman effort hitting the woodwork for at least the fourth time of the afternoon, and the rebound flicked onto the arm of Harpal Thiara, but neither Mr Tweedale or his assistant appeared to have seen the offence.
Shortly afterwards there was more controversy, as from the resultant corner Wanderers keeper put his hand in the face of Jake Newman, but again neither Mr Tweedale or his assistant appeared to see the offence, although Mr Tweedale did show Fox a yellow card for aggressive intent, which came as a relief for the home bench who were debating who might go in goal given Fox’s dismissal appeared inevitable and they didn’t have a substitute goalkeeper.
With tensions running high as a result, the Diamonds management had to withdraw Jake Newman to avoid any risk of going down to nine-men, even though he had shown restraint in the incident.
It was still the Diamonds creating the chances, and an Aaron King effort was saved and the follow-up from Wisniewski was blocked.
With 72 minutes gone, Alfie Taylor got the hat-trick his performance deserved, and for this goal he helped create the chance for himself with a strong run latching onto a neat pass from Jack Wisniewski, and running into the area before firing low into the right hand side of the goal. With Alfie still getting back to full fitness he too was withdrawn after getting his hat-trick.
The pitch was taking its toll on the players, so the last 10 minutes were relatively uneventful as the 10-man Diamonds continued to control the game, and with Jake Gillingwater suffering from cramp he ended the game playing up-front, forcing a good save from Fox after being set up by Deven Ellwood.
Full-Time: Burton Park Wanderers 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4
The Diamonds have a chance to get extend their winning run on Tuesday evening when Olney Town make the short trip to the Dog & Duck
The current UCL Division 1 League Table can be found on the AFC Diamonds website here. Match and Player Stats, including an Attendance Table, are available here. Player Profiles on this site have also been updated.
The date and length of Séan McBride’s suspension will be confirmed in the coming days, but note that at this level there is a longer gap before a suspension starts, so it may not begin until March.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Alfie Taylor
Burton Park Wanderers
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Liam Fox
2. Andy Dobbs
3. Anthony Mottola
4. Liam Hanley
5. Sam Northern
6. Harpal Thiara
7. Will Muzvimbiri
8. Danny Hockridge
9. Leigh Chapman
10. Luke McIlroy
11. Will Newman
12. Ross McVey (for Newman 45)
14. Fraser Smith
15. Stefan Baillie
16. Matt Redding (for McIlroy 68)
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Brad Harris
9. Alfie Taylor
10. Jake Newman
11. Elliot Dent
12. Aaron King (for Newman 67)
13. Ashley Foulger
14. Ben Morgan (for Dent 61)
15. Deven Ellwood (for Taylor 73)
16. Joe Merrill
Goals: Newman (39), Taylor (41/57/72)
Yellow Card : Fox
Red Card: McBride
Referee: Stuart Tweedale
Assistants: Ashley Denton, Piotr Roj
See here for Video highlights.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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