AFC Rushden & Diamonds fell to their first away league defeat of the season, going down 1-0 to Hayes & Yeading United at the SkyEx Community Stadium. A first half goal from Ismael Ehui was enough to earn the three points for the hosts, as the Diamonds couldn’t find the net and ultimately drop down to eighth in the league.
The Diamonds went into the game unchanged in the starting 11, with Fernando Bell-Toxtle replacing Ben Ford on the bench.
Both teams were battling against some very strong winds, and it took a while for the sides to adapt to the weather. For much of the first half, the wind was holding up the ball from any long Diamonds pass, while many of Hayes & Yeading’s were being blown too far. It was thanks to this that Diamonds had seven goal kicks in the first half alone.
Hayes & Yeading’s Luke Joyce-Dwarika threatened the Diamonds defence on numerous occasions in the first half. The right winger fired narrowly over twice within the first ten minutes.
Right back Callum Westwood found himself in the book on 11 minutes with a late sliding challenge by the right touchline.
In a game of few clear chances, the hosts scored the one and only goal on 26 minutes. Joyce-Dwarika found a gap in the Diamonds’ right channel to send Ehui through on goal to place a simple finish past Heath.
Diamonds’ had a good chance on 32 minutes. Claudiu Hoban worked his way forward well into a good shooting position, but he hesitated too much and his effort was blocked, falling to Gyasi with some time but he sent his effort over.
Westwood found himself in trouble again on 41 minutes. Joyce-Dwarika went down after Westwood had pulled away from the tackle. The winger stayed down for a few minutes with a shoulder injury from the fall, and for a moment it looked like the referee was going to issue a second yellow card but instead decided to give the young full back one last chance.
AndyPeakshad other ideas, however, and chose not to risk getting a man sent off by sending Cameron Gilchrist on to make his debut, replacing Westwood on 44 minutes.
Seconds before the half time whistle, Nabil Shariff hit the post. He collected the ball on the right hand side where there seemed to be little danger, but he managed to come inside and shoot with his left foot, cannoning the ball off the right hand post and back into play.
Half-time: Hayes & Yeading United 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0
Hayes & Yeading made two half time changes. Danger man Joyce-Dwarika couldn’t shake off the shoulder injury he got himself before half time, and was replaced by Manny Duku, fortunately for Diamonds as Joyce-Dwarika had been a handful in the first half. The other change was Keano Robinson coming on for Melvin Adesida.
Diamonds started the half well, getting plenty of crosses into the box and seeing the most of the ball. On 52 minutes, after going past his man into the box, Gyasi went down under a tackle but the referee ignored the penalty pleas from the Diamonds players.
A minute later, Gilchrist put a good cross in which was touched down by Farrell into the path of Shariff to fire a powerful shot right at the keeper who couldn’t hold.
On 67 minutes, Hoban got into the box well and fired at goal from a tight angle but it was well saved by Smith. Minutes later, there was a good one two between substitute Darryl Smith and Gilchrist on the right before the latter put a good cross in for Farrell to header but his goal bound effort was cleared off the line. Two minutes later, Shariff had a turning shot well saved.
Andy Peaks brought on Darryl Smith and Tom Lorraine to try and salvage something from the game. Blaize Punter and Luke Fairlamb were the departees, meaning Diamonds went for three at the back in the closing stages.
Coming towards the final period of the game, a long ball over the top was missed by the Hayes defence, putting Shariff through in a lot of space down the right side of the box but he couldn’t find the target.
There was a succession of bookings in the last ten minutes, firstly for Hayes striker Duncan Culley, then for Richard Bunting, and one for substitute Keano Robinson in stoppage time.
The Diamonds struggled to string any kind of move together in the final ten minutes, resulting in a lacklustre performance away from home.
Full-time: Hayes & Yeading United 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0
The defeat drops Diamonds down into eighth place in the league. The next game is at Hayden Road and we play host to Barton Rovers on Tuesday night. After that, the Diamonds have a rare Saturday off, so therefore won’t have a game for 11 days before the visit of table topping Moneyfields.
Diamonds Man of the Match: Joel Gyasi
Match Report by Adam Benney
Hayes & Yeading United
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Jack Smith
2. Melvin Adesida
3. Danny Hutchins
4. Frankie Jones
5. Danny May (c)
6. Komal Llewellyn-Reid
7. Rohdell Gordon
8. Toby Little
9. Duncan Culley
10. Ismael Ehui
11. Luke Joyce-Dwarika
12. Joakim Ehui
14. Ola Olajubu (on for Duku, 75)
15. Andrew Ofosu
16. Manny Duku (on for Joyce-Dwarika, 45)
17. Keano Robinson (on for Adesida, 45)
13. Ben Heath
2. Callum Westwood
3. Sam Brown
4. Blaize Punter
5. Liam Dolman
6. Ben Farrell
7. Joel Gyasi
8. Richard Bunting (c)
9. Claudiu Hoban
10. Nabil Shariff
11. Luke Fairlamb
14. Cameron Gilchrist (on for Westwood, 44)
15. Darryl Smith (on for Fairlamb, 70)
16. Fernando Bell-Toxtle
18. Joe Curtis
19. Tom Lorraine (on for Punter, 76)
Goals: Ehui (26)
Yellow cards: Duku (72), Culley (79), Robinson (90+3)
Yellow cards: Westwood (11), Bunting (81)
Referee: Mr Stu Kyle
Assistants: Mr Michael Heavey
Mr Thomas Healy