AFC Rushden & Diamonds maintained their unbeaten home record this season with a close fought 2-1 victory against St. Ives Town.
The two sides had played out a pretty uneventful 0-0 draw at the same ground just days ago and this game looked to be going the same way until a double Diamonds blast either side of half-time. Right on the break Tom Lorraine with the first real chance of the game fired low past Wilson from Jack Bowen’s cross. Then just 7 minutes into the second half it was the impressive Bowen who coolly slotted home after good work by the tireless Ben Diamond.
The goal burst was out of keeping in a game of few chances and it reverted to type for the remainder of the game. Sam Brown had a cross shot well saved by Wilson and Ben Seymour-Shove saw his effort saved by Ben Heath. Oliver Snaith raised the tension in the ground on 87 minutes as he pulled one back for the Ives but it proved to be no more than a consolation as it was Diamonds progressed in the FA Trophy into Monday’s draw.
Manager Andy Peaks made just the one change to his starting line-up for this FA Trophy tie with Jack Bowen coming back into the side in place of Albie Hopkins. Dan Clifton and Nathan Pickworth came onto the bench.
These two side had played out a pretty uneventful 0-0 draw recently and this game looked to be heading the same way in a low key first half on a very cold rainy day.
St. Ives have scored just 7 goals in 12 league games this season and did come close on just 8 minutes as a goalmouth scramble was eventually claimed by Ben Heath but they looked unlikely to create too many chances throughout the game.
Diamonds were little better in a first half littered with mistakes and misplaced passes and both sides struggled to come to terms with the conditions.
Liam Dolman had good strike at goal from a Sam Brown long throw, and Ben Diamond struck an effort wide from a good Tom Lorraine cross but chances were few and far between.
Just as it looked like a goalless first half Diamonds pounced. Jack Bowen had worked tirelessly across the front line and he picked up the ball out right on 45 minutes and fired a low cross for Tom Lorraine to slot home.
Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 St. Ives Town 0
The second half opened with more dynamism and a chance for either side which showed promise for an improving game. First Ben Seymour-Shove struck just wide when well placed for St. Ives and Declan Rogers saw his effort shave the outside of the post for Diamonds.
And a piece of brilliance from Ben Diamond on 52 minutes saw Diamonds claim the important 2nd goal. He showed great pace and ball control out wide before holding the ball up and sliding it in to the supporting Jack Bowen who arrived right on time to calmly slot home.
St. Ives tried to respond with a quick break that produced a good header at goal 2 minutes later but it was well held by Ben Heath. They were unable to maintain pressure though on a solid looking Diamonds defence who were managing the game well with a 2 goal lead.
Sam Brown had a decent effort with a cross shot that was well saved by Wilson and Ben Seymour-Shove produced a smart save from Ben Heath but there were a dearth of chances as the game moved to its conclusion.
Then with just 3 minutes left St. Ives got that elusive goal to raise the tension around the ground, Oliver Snaith producing the finish. It proved to be no more than a consolation though as Diamonds comfortably saw out the game.
Full time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 St. Ives Town 1
Another game with St. Ives this season that won’t live too long in the memory, unlike the epic Play-off final and exciting league contests two years ago. There was no lack of effort and commitment from both sides but little in the way of goalmouth action. Two goals either side of half-time won it for Diamonds and they controlled the second half well to ensure a safe passage into the next round of the FA Trophy.
Next up another home game for Diamonds with the visit of Rushall Olympic next Saturday.
Man of the match: Jack Bowen
Match Report by Paul Judd
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
St. Ives Town
13. Ben Heath
2. Zack Reynolds
3. Sam Brown
4. Jack Westbrook
5. Liam Dolman (C)
6. Declan Rogers
7. Jack Bowen
8. Ben Farrell
9. Tom Lorraine
10. Ben Diamond
11. Nathan Hicks
12. John Dean (for Lorraine 70)
14. Joe Curtis (for Rogers 78)Ashton
16. Jack Ashton
17. Nathan Pickworth
18. Dan Clifton
1. Sam Wilson
2. Joe Hood
3. Mark Coulson
4. Charlie De’Ath
5. Samuel Cartwright
6. Toana Sundrie
7. Owen Wallis
8. Robert Parker
9. Dylan Wilson
10. George Bailey
11. Ben Seymour-Shove
15. Ollie Snaith (for Bailey)
16. Ben Baker (for De’Ath)
17. Danny Kelly (for Wilson)
12. Dan Moyes
14. Jordan Patrick
Goals: Lorraine (45), Bowen (52)
Goals: Snaith (87)
Referee: Scott Tallis
Assistants: Fabio Greenwood, Joe Clarke
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.