AFC Rushden & Diamonds secured a comfortable 6-0 victory over Harborough Town at Bowden’s Park on Saturday afternoon.
Brad Harris opened the scoring when he connected with a Greg Ling cross that had taken an odd bounce, and his effort looped off a defender. New striker Tom Lorraine set up Fazel Koriya for a splendid finish that went in-off the underside of the bar to make it 2-0 at the break.
The third goal came quickly after the break when Fazel Koriya finished off a neat move involving Lorraine and Gearing. The Diamonds fourth and fifth goals were courtesy of the Diamonds second new striker, Scott Joseph, who took both chances clinically, the first with his head and the second with his left foot.
Matt Gearing completed the scoring with a powerful shot from outside the box with the assist coming from Joseph who was only denied his hat-trick by the body of a defender, and he also helped to create a late chance for Ben Morgan. The Diamonds also gave a league debut to Noah Bryant who was unlucky to see a well-hit shot saved by the home keeper.
It was a pleasant spring afternoon for the Diamonds first league visit to the smart Bowden’s Park setup – but it saw spectators still needing their coats as there was a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch. Diamonds caretaker manager Andy Peaks had brought in two new strikers shortly before the game, with Tom Lorraine starting the game alongside Fazel Koriya up-front, and Scott Joseph on the bench. Brad Harris returned to central midfield as Joe Henderson dropped back to right back due to Joe Merrill’s unavailability.
The game was rather scrappy in the opening minutes, with both sides having to adapt to the crosswind, and the Bees were being caught in the Diamonds offside trap, notably ex-Diamond Robbie Maddox who had been given a role further forwards. Early Diamonds chances fell to Gearing and Ling as Fazel Koriya was causing the home defence significant problems. With 15 minutes gone Tom Lorraine had a chance to open his Diamonds account, but his shot was dragged wide. Lorraine was already linking well with Koriya and Ling, and his neat interchange of passes with Ling almost produced the opener.
Brad Harris opened the scoring after 27 minutes when he connected with a Greg Ling cross that had taken an odd bounce, and his effort looped off a defender. Jamal Clarke then saw an effort strike the post as Joe Henderson crossed after being fed by Gearing.
New striker Tom Lorraine linked up with Richard Bunting on the left to set up Fazel Koriya for a splendid finish after 39 minutes that went in-off the underside of the bar to make it 2-0 at the break.
Half-Time: Harborough Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2
The third goal came quickly after the break when Fazel Koriya finished off a neat move involving Lorraine and Gearing down the right. Matt Gearing was relishing the service he was getting in the second period, with all the Diamonds players looking ready to bring their team-mates into the game.
With an hour gone Andy Peaks brought on the second of his new signings as Scott Joseph replaced Greg Ling, with Fazel Koriya given a free role behind the two debutant strikers. Sam Brown was getting forwards more and more, and he created an early chance for Joseph whose good control led to a shot that was just wide. However, within three minutes of pulling on a Diamonds shirt Scott Joseph was off the mark, and again it was Sam Brown who provided a cross from the left which Joseph met with his head towards the right-side of the goal, heading it back across goal into the left side of the net.
Six minutes later Scott Joseph had completed a brace of goals in his first ten minutes as a Diamonds player. Sam Brown again got forwards, linking with Matt Gearing, and as he neared the byline he pulled the ball back across goal. Although it appeared two defenders should have been able to make contact with the ball, it ran to Scott Joseph who was again able to finish clinically with his left foot into the left side of the goal.
The Diamonds then gave a league debut to Noah Bryant when he replaced Brad Harris with 15 minutes left. Matt Finlay was called into action to save a shot from Jamie Clarke.
Scott Joseph was denied his hat-trick by the body of a defender who blocked a goal-bound effort, but the Diamonds sixth goal soon followed. Matt Gearing continued the afternoon of clinical finishing as he scored with a powerful shot from outside the box with the assist coming from Joseph after 85 minutes. Joseph also helped to create a late chance for Ben Morgan which was cleared for a corner, and Morgan also dragged a shot wide when presented with a further chance to get on the scoresheet. Debutant Noah Bryant was unlucky to see a well-hit shot saved by the home keeper, although his did juggle it to raise the hope of the Diamonds forwards who were following the shot.
Although referee Gospel had been keeping his cards in his pocket, Matt Finlay was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow card when he tried his impression of an outfield player near the corner flag and was caught in possession. Earlier in the half he had received a knock to the face, although on that occasion there was the option to bring on Adam Whybrow, whereas at the time of the yellow card incident the Diamonds had used all three substitutes.
The Diamonds fans were able to stay behind and applaud the team off the pitch after an enjoyable trip into Leicestershire.
Full-Time: Harborough Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 6
Diamonds Man of the Match: Matt Gearing
Attendance: Approx. 300
The Diamonds chase for second spot in the league goes on, with the side facing runaway league champions Spalding United at the Dog & Duck on Saturday.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Glen Giles
2. Dan Pegg
3. Glenn Robinson
4. Richard Conway
5. Ben Williams
6. Jamie March
7. Martin Anderson
8. Jack Burrows
9. Jamie Clarke
10. Rob Maddox
11. Taras Petranyuk
12. Joe Wright (for Petranyuk 69)
14. Peter Macdonald (for Conway 69)
15. Liam Conaghan (for Robinson 69)
16. Jack Bettles
17. Matt Finlay
2. Joe Henderson
3. Sam Brown
4. Brad Harris
5. Jack Ashton
6. Jamal Clarke
7. Matt Gearing
8. Richard Bunting
9. Tom Lorraine
10. Fazel Koriya
11. Greg Ling
12. Ben Morgan (for Lorraine 72)
13. Adam Whybrow
14. Arron Parkinson
15. Scott Joseph (for Ling 61)
16. Noah Bryant (for Harris 75)
Goals: Harris (27), Koriya (39/49), Joseph (65/71), Gearing (85)
Yellow Cards: None
Yellow Card: Finlay
Referee: Martyn Gospel
Assistants: Peter Moore, Sam Brough
Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.