Diamonds drew at home for the 4th successive game as a 69th minute Ben Yeomans header earned the struggling visitors a replay in this FA Trophy Preliminary Round game.
Histon belied a winless start to their league campaign with an energetic confident start in what was an even opening period. Diamonds upped the intensity around the half hour mark though with Taylor Orosz firing in a fierce effort on 29, Rory Winters flicking a Jason Lee free-kick just over on 32 and Orosz fed again by the lively Nick Evangelinos seeing his good looking volley tipped over on 34.
Tom Lorraine then had a strong penalty appeal turned down before Diamonds kept the ball alive and Nic Evangelinos….the king of assists….fired in a low cross that Tom Lorraine touched past Histon keeper Niall Conroy for a 36th minute lead.
Diamonds looked to have the game under some degree of control in the second half as Nabil Sharif forced keeper Conroy to push away his cross heading towards Robbie Parsons, and getting free again down the left to come close to beating Conroy at the near post.
But Histon remained an enterprising side re-inforced by second half substitutions and they found an equaliser on 69. A quick break earned a corner as a low effort from inside the box was pushed wide by Matt Finlay. It was hit beyond the penalty spot where unmarked ex Rushden & Diamonds player Max York headed back across goal for Ben Yeomans to nod home from close range.
Diamonds reacted well with Jake Newman supporting Nabil Sharif to create continuous pressure in and around the box. Taylor Orosz had their best chance of a winner with a driven effort just wide from 15 yards that just evaded Newman too. Shariff came close to beating keeper Conroy to a deep ball over the top, showed trickery around the box to nearly set Newman up with a back heel, and knocked a ball back to Tom Lorraine that the striker saw his effort deflected over the bar.
A late winner wasn’t to be though despite Rory Winters and Taylor Orosz seeing shots blocked close in and Histon earned their replay in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday evening.
Manager Andy Peaks made 4 changes to the side beaten at Hendon in the FA Cup last weekend with Kyal McNulty and Sam Brown returning as full-backs, Jason Lee making his second debut for the club at centre-half in place of Liam Dolman and Taylor Orosz starting in place of Richard Bunting although it was Tom Lorraine who played in his centre midfield role.
Histon belied a winless start to their league campaign with an energetic confident start in what was an even opening period. Jos Gwynne was pacey and tricky down the right for Histon and ran brilliantly to get to the by line and to get in a dangerous cross on 4 and Matty Allen saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line by Kyal McNulty on 10.
Robbie Parsons was equally dangerous for Diamonds though combining well with Nic Evangelinos on 8 before sweeping a good effort from 20 yards just over, and running deep into the Histon area on 11 only to be denied by an unusual sliding tackle from Histon keeper Conroy in the 6 yard box.
As the two sides started to get to grips with each other’s pacey wide players the game became a relatively even midfield battle. Brad Harris was breaking up play and distributing well for the home side supported by hard working Tom Lorraine in centre midfield who was also pushing up in support of the Diamonds strikers whenever he could. He came close to getting onto another Robbie Parsons cross on 25 that Conroy just pipped him too.
Diamonds noticeably upped the intensity and tempo around the half hour mark with Taylor Orosz particularly bright and inventive. He ran cleverly through on goal on 29 only to be flagged offside and then won the ball and cut in from the left to fire hard and low into Conroy’s arms a minute later.
Jason Lee was having a commanding game at centre half on his second debut for the club and also took on free kick duties from the absent Liam Dolman and Richard Bunting. One effort from deep on 32 found Rory Winters whose flicked header went just over, and another from closer in on 34 was played cleverly short for Nic Evangelinos to play in Taylor Orosz whose fierce effort was tipped over by the increasingly busy Conroy.
As the pressure mounted another corner gave Nabil Shariff a chance to shoot at goal only for Conroy to save again. Tom Lorraine was then denied a decent penalty shout as he appeared to be pushed over in the box but he got his revenge moments later. The ball was recycled from the clearance to Nic Evangelinos…the king of assists for Diamonds…whose hard low cross was finished well by Tom Lorraine, his 38th goal for the club.
Histon responded well to the setback with Gwynne again firing in a dangerous cross to trouble the Diamonds defence but the half finished with a Tom Lorraine header on goal from another Jason Lee free kick.
Half time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Histon FC 0
Histon began the second half as they had the first with the pacey Jos Gwynne testing the Diamonds back four. He ran well at the river end of the ground on 46 and fired a hard low effort that Matt Finlay held under pressure.
Nabil Shariff was looking like Diamonds strongest threat all afternoon and he got away down the left on 47 spotted Robbie Parsons free at the far post and saw his chipped cross just palmed away by Conroy.
The midfield battle continued though and two yellow cards were harshly handed out in quick succession for strong tackles in the centre of the field, one for Brad Harris and one for Histon’s Harry McGregor.
Diamonds again upped the tempo as they looked to kill off the game and came close twice around the hour mark. First the impressive Nabil Shariff twisted and turned around the edge of the box somehow retaining possession but just being unable to find Taylor Orosz or Jake Newman. Then after Matty Allen had a breakaway effort for the visitors well saved by Matt Finlay it was substitute Jake Newman who had a decent half-chance with a volleyed effort from just inside the left side of the box.
They were then punished on 69 for not extending their lead as the always enterprising Histon pushed forward and earned a corner from a fierce Ben Yeomans effort that Matt Finlay pushed wide. The corner was hit beyond the penalty spot where unmarked ex Rushden & Diamond player Max York headed back across goal for Ben Yeomans to nod home from close range.
The home side reacted well to their own setback and pretty much pushed the away side back in the final stages of the game. Taylor Orosz had the best chance on 77 when Nabil Shariff fed him in space in the right of the box but his driven effort went agonisingly wide and also just evaded the lunging Tom Lorraine.
Next on 84 was Nabil Shariff with more trickery on the edge of the box to retain possession but just unable to find Taylor Orosz with a back heel, and then the striker knocked a left-wing cross back to Tom Lorraine whose effort was well held by Conroy.
On 90 minutes Rory Winters thought he had the chance to win the game as another corner saw the ball fall to him 15 yards out in space on the left side of the area but his fierce volley was blocked out for a corner.
It came to nothing though and after just 3 added minutes the final whistle came on this competitive FA Trophy Preliminary Round game.
Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Histon FC 1
Diamonds were not at their absolute best today but had done enough to win the game with their 1-0 lead and were pressing strongly for a clinching second when Histon equalised. It was one of few second half chances for Histon but their young side stayed positive and enterprising throughout and will enjoy taking Diamonds back to Cambridgeshire for a replay on Tuesday night.
It was a 4th home draw on the bounce for Diamonds who return to the league campaign next weekend with the visit of the world’s oldest football club Sheffield FC looking for a first league win since Bank Holiday Monday.
Man of the Match: Brad Harris
Match Report by Paul Judd
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Matt Finlay
2. Kyal Mcnulty
3. Sam Brown
4. Rory Winters
5. Jason Lee
6. Brad Harris
7. Nabil Shariff
8. Robbie Parsons
9. Taylor Orosz
10. Tom Lorraine
11. Nic Evangelinos
12. Jake Newman (for Parsons 61)
13. Joe Haynes
16. Chris Wreh
19. Aidan Bradshaw
20. Ash Deeney (for Evangelinos 78)
1. Niall Conroy
2. Pat Bexfield
3. Elkanah Sibanda
4. Harry McGregor
5. Max York
6. Cameron Watson
7. Jos Gwynne
8. Jake Chambers-Shaw
9. Ben Yeomans
10. Matty Allen
11. Will Gardner
12. Aysa Ourtibour (for Allen 66)
14. Danny Gould (for Gardner 66)
15. Simon Unwin
16. Dammy Nickels
Goals: Lorraine (36)
Goals: Yeomans (69)
Yellow Card: Harris, Winters
Yellow Cards: Chambers-Shaw, McGregor
Referee: Robbie Dadley
Assistants: Robert Cairns, Joe Clarke
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.