Carlton Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3

AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded a 3-1 win over Carlton Town in Nottinghamshire on Saturday afternoon.

A first half goal from Brad Harris was followed by goals from Robbie Parsons and Lewis Leslie after the hosts had equalised ten minutes into the second half.

In a dominant performance the Diamonds were able to bring their league points tally to 3 in their first three games – the same return as in the first three games of last season.

The Diamonds started very brightly, with home keeper Steggles making several saves before Brad Harris rolled home a low cross from Nabil Shariff after 29 minutes. The Diamonds weren’t able to extend their lead, and after 55 minutes the hosts levelled when Shaun Rickford beat Matt Finlay to a high ball into the area, and although his effort bounced back off the crossbar he had a simple task off nodding home the rebound. The Diamonds responded quickly, with more good work from Shariff setting up Robbie Parsons two minutes later. The game was made safe in the first minute of added time when Lewis Leslie slotted home shortly after joining the action.

The three points were welcomed by the travelling Diamonds fans who had to brave a second-half thunderstorm during which their team attacked the end of the ground without cover from the elements.

Ross Oulton made his debut in central midfield, replacing Richard Bunting, with Taylor Orosz starting up front as Tom Lorraine was rested. Kyal McNulty took over the right-back role from Aidan Bradshaw as the Diamonds played 4-4-2 with Nic Evangelinos and Robbie Parsons in the wide roles.

The Diamonds wore their red strip for this game, and began by attacking the single seated area at the end of the ground opposite the water treatment works. They immediately looked impressive, with Harris and Oulton distributing the ball into the corners for Parsons to chase on the right and Evangelinos on the left. This resulted in a neat passing game against a rather static back four, with Parsons in particular being on the receiving end of some robust challenges. Oulton also provided a long throw option on the right, and in the first couple of minutes he found Shariff with one such throw that created a chance for Evangelinos just outside the left post, but he couldn’t quite stretch enough for a clean contact. Another fine passing move saw a chance for Orosz that was blocked to Shariff whose effort was also well dealt with before Evangelinos saw an effort saved. The two strikers were linking well, with Shariff flicking a neat pass from Oulton into the path of his fellow striker, but Orosz first touch was rather heavy.

The hosts main threat was coming from the long throw of Daniel Gordon, who was also their dead-ball specialist, but apart from a chance for Davie that was well saved by Finlay, and a long-range speculative effort that the Diamonds’ stopper had to tip over the bar, the Millers’ threat was rather muted.

The Diamonds passing game continued to threaten, with two Millers players picking up yellow cards as they tried to halt progress. Perhaps the best move saw Liam Dolman mop up a dangerous through ball before working it forwards to Orosz who held the ball before working it to Shariff, receiving the return ball and hitting a dipping shot that was tipped over.

The hosts had to replace Kieron Walker mid-way through the half, but as he had seen an early yellow card this reduced the risk of a red card, a threat that seemed closer for his team-mate, left-back Daniel Fletcher who had received a yellow card prior to two further poor challenges, the second of which produced a “final warning”.

After 29 minutes the Diamonds were able to get the goal their dominance deserved. Again it was Nabil Shariff that hustled the home defence after good work from Evangelinos won a throw on the left, and Sam Brown’s accurate throw allowed Shariff to turn his man and fire the ball across goal where Brad Harris was making a late run and was able to slide the ball home.

Ross Oulton was having an excellent first half on his Diamonds debut, and all the midfielders were breaking down many threats from the host before they even put any pressure on the Diamonds defence, with Kyal McNulty having his best game for the club as he quickly adjusted to a role alongside Dolman, Ashton and Brown.

Half-Time: Carlton Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1

As expected the hosts replaced the second of their two players booked in the first half with left-back Fletcher replaced at the break. By now the weather had taken a major turn for the worse, with the thunderstorm that had been threatening during the break unleashing heavy rain on those that tried to get close to the action at the end the Diamonds were attacking.

Although both Shariff and Orosz saw efforts saved, the match had become rather more even, with Millers’ Daniel Gordon producing a good save from Finlay before seeing his team get an equaliser. A rather speculative ball into the area looked like it would be claimed by Finlay, but the hosts’ debutant striker Shaun Rickford jumped and won the ball in front of the Diamonds’ stopper, and although his effort bounced back off the crossbar he had a simple task off nodding home the rebound.

The Diamonds responded quickly, with more good work from Shariff setting up Robbie Parsons whose well-hit shot lodged inside the far post. The hosts switched the key player Romaine Graham into attack, which meant more work for Dolman and Ashton, but the Diamonds central pair were back to their reliable best to quell any real threat on Finlay’s goal. At the other end Shariff was finding more space to run past the home defence, and as he broke towards the right corner he was also able to get the ball past the advancing keeper before squaring to Orosz whose effort went astray. The Diamonds then shuffled their pack with Bunting and Lorraine joining the action as Oulton was pushed towards the left side with Bunting on the right, leaving Harris in a more central role. It was actually the third substitute Lewis Leslie, who had the biggest impact on the game. Shortly after joining the action he missed what looked an excellent opportunity, but he remained composed when presented with another good chance a minute later, slotting home the Diamonds third to make the game safe in the first minute of added time.

Full-Time: Carlton Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3

Diamonds Man of the Match chosen by club members: Ross Oulton

Attendance: 159

The scoreline reflected the balance of play rather well, and it was especially pleasing to pick up the first win of the season after a long trip and a game played in such testing conditions.

Diamonds don’t have long to wait before trying to build on this performance as Bedworth United visit the Dog & Duck on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.

 

Carlton Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1. Jack Steggles

2. Lawrence Gorman

3. Daniel Fletcher

4. Kallum Keane

5. Romaine Graham

6. Keiron Walker

7. Niall Davie

8. Jacob Sturgess

9. Shaun Rickford

10. Daniel Gordon

11. Kevin Lusamba

Subs:

12. Josh Rae (for Fletcher HT)

14. Jake Wholey (for Walker 28)

15. Curtis Millward

16. Damon Charlton (for Lusamba 72)

17. Julian Topliss

17. Matt Finlay

2. Kyal McNulty

3. Sam Brown

4. Jack Ashton

5. Liam Dolman

6. Brad Harris

7. Ross Oulton

8. Robbie Parsons

9. Taylor Orosz

10. Nabil Shariff

11. Nic Evangelinos

Subs

12.  Aidan Bradshaw

13.  Joseph Haynes

14.  Lewis Leslie (for Parsons 88)

15. Tom Lorraine (for Orosz 77)

16. Richard Bunting (for Evangelinos 68)

Goals: Rickford (55)

Goals: Harris (29), Parsons (57), Leslie (90+1)

Yellow Cards: Walker, Fletcher, Davie

Yellow Cards: Brown

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Tom Reeves

Assistant Referees: Joe, Clarke, George Kimber-Sweatman

 

 

Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.

Click here for video highlights of this game and post-match interviews.

Match Gallery courtesy of Stephanie Webb Photography Copyright Stephanie Webb Photography ©2016

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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