AFC Rushden & Diamonds came from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw with Chalfont St. Peter at Mill Meadow on Saturday. An early own goal from Ben Ford put the hosts in front, but Joel Gyasi’s freak cross/goal sent the Diamonds level at the break. Jack Mullan headed the hosts back in front before substitute Chris Dillon equalised late on to secure Diamonds a point.
Andy Peaks initially named an unchanged side from the midweek win against AFC Dunstable, however an injury in the warm-up ruled Blaize Punter out of the game, with Ben Ford coming into the starting XI in his place. There was a return to the squad for Ben Farrell, who started the game on the bench.
It was a game of few chances, but four goals, starting in disastrous fashion for the Diamonds. Just six minutes in, they found themselves behind. Winger Victor Osobu worked well down the left before cutting into the box where Ben Ford could only turn into his own net.
On 19 minutes, Joel Gyasi won a dangerous free kick on the right wing after being taken down by Alex Lafleur. Joe Curtis swung the ball in to Sam Brown attacking the far post but he couldn’t quite stretch enough and headed the ball over.
A minute later, Claudiu Hoban was brought down in the same area, and Lafleur kicked the ball away after the whistle but received no booking. Hoban then whipped the free kick into the box, which missed everyone forcing Carl Dennison into a good reaction save.
Lafleur finally found himself in the referee’s book after his third infringement in three minutes; this time for another foul on Diamonds’ right wing. It was Hoban who crossed the free kick in, and this time it was met by the head of Nabil Shariff who was denied by a wonderful save from Dennison, tipping the ball onto the bar and away.
Just under half an hour into the game, Diamonds equalised in fortunate style. Gyasi crossed from the right and the ball looped high over the keeper’s head and into the goal off the post.
On 36 minutes, a long ball was flicked on by Shariff to Hoban running into the box, but a last ditch tackle from the defence denied the forward just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Half-time: Chalfont St. Peter 1-1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Diamonds received their first booking of the game on 52 minutes, courtesy of Callum Westwood after a foul on the right. Luke Fairlamb was then booked two minutes later for an apparent dive just outside the Chalfont area.
Following on from this decision, Chalfont went on the attack and won a corner. From this corner, the defence managed to flick the ball clear to the wing to Max Holland who worked into the box before crossing for Mullan to head in and regain Chalfont’s lead.
Diamonds tried to hit back quickly, and five minutes later almost scored their second. Great work from Fairlamb to beat his man before he worked is way to the byline. The winger then cut back where Gyasi and Bunting were waiting. Gyasi’s initial effort was blocked and fell to Bunting whose shot was saved by an instinctive foot from Dennison.
Chalfont made their first change on 61 minutes. Rob Hastings came on to replace the booked Lafleur.
On 66 minutes, Diamonds almost found themselves down to 10 men. As the left winger went to pass the ball, Westwood slid in to block the pass, clearing the ball for a throw-in. However, the referee blew his whistle and somehow awarded a free kick before pulling a yellow card from his pocket. After almost every player got involved in heated discussions, and with Diamonds players pleading to referee, Mr Desborough eventually called Westwood over and had a word but put his card back in his pocket.
Diamonds made their first change on 70 minutes, with Hoban being replaced by Dillon. Seven minutes later, Ben Farrell made his return, replacing Curtis in midfield. Chalfont made their second change on 83 minutes; Luke Maguire coming on for Osobu.
With five minutes left, Diamonds were pushing for an equaliser. Following a good ball to Dillon on the right, the experienced striker’s cross was deflected but fell to Shariff who turned and shot into a crowd of Chalfont defenders.
However, two minutes later, Diamonds’ pushing paid off. A long free kick from the right wing was whipped in by Fairlamb but cleared away from the box. Ford attacked the ball, hitting it from long range low and hard first time into the crowd where it hit Dillon, however the striker will claim it was a perfect control to set himself in on goal to slot past Dennison to bring Diamonds level for the second time.
Chalfont made their final change at the beginning of stoppage time, with Connor Shingleston coming on to replace Holland, who took about a minute to leave the pitch.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Diamonds were very close to a late winner. Another Fairlamb free kick from the right was swung right into crowd of players right in front of goal before being scrambled away and past the post. The ball could have come off anyone last, and with a bit of fortune Diamonds would have had a corner at the death but the referee decided the ball came off a yellow shirt before going out of play.
Full-time: Chalfont St. Peter 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Diamonds Man of the match: Richard Bunting
Match Report by Adam Benney
Chalfont St. Peter
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Carl Dennison
2. Mark Goodman
3. Alex Lafleur
4. George Fenton
5. Alan Hedley (c)
6. Jack Mullan
7. Victor Osobu
8. Ryan Lewis
9. Max Holland
10. Alex Paine
11. Gary Burrell
12. Connor Shingleston (on forHolland, 90)
15. Rob Hastings (on for Lafleur, 61)
16. Aaron Jewell
17. Kieron Vickers
18. Luke Maguire (on for Osobu, 85)
13. Ben Heath
2. Callum Westwood
3. Sam Brown
4. Ben Ford
5. Liam Dolman
6. Richard Bunting (c)
7. Joel Gyasi
8. Joe Curtis
9. Claudiu Hoban
10. Nabil Shariff
11. Luke Fairlamb
12. Ben Farrell (on for Curtis, 77)
14. Darryl Smith
15. Blaize Punter
16. Chris Dillon (on for Hoban, 70)
17. Matt Finlay
Goals: OG (Ford) (6), Mullan (55)
Goals: Gyasi (29), Dillon (87)
Yellow cards: Lafleur (21)
Yellow cards: Westwood (52), Fairlamb (54)
Referee: Mr Mike Desborough
Assistants: Mr Adrian Cook
Mr Timothy Godfray
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.
Video highlights and post-match interviews are available here.