AFC Rushden & Diamonds beat Histon FC 6-1 in the Preliminary Round replay of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Goals from Taylor Orosz (2), Tom Lorraine (2), Nabil Shariff and substitute Jake Newman had given the Diamonds their lead before a late consolation for the hosts.
Diamonds Manager Andy Peaks made a single change to the starting line-up that drew at the Dog & Duck on Saturday, with Ash Deeney making his first start for the club in a right back role. This meant Kyal McNulty moved forward into midfield with Robbie Parsons sitting out the game on the bench. Taylor Orosz was given the role in right midfield with Tom Lorraine able to provide more support to Nabil Shariff up front.
The game started brightly with the Diamonds quickly gaining control of the contest. With the game entering the fourth minute some crisp passing from back to front saw Nic Evangelinos spray the ball out to the right flank where Taylor Orosz was able to power forwards and fire home from the edge of the area to open the scoring.
Further efforts on goal were the reward for some bold attacking play with Evangelinos coming close to increasing the lead. The Diamonds defence were continuing to look as solid as they did on Saturday, but all of the back four were able to help their midfield with rapid and incisive ball distribution.
Apart from a couple of wayward shots the hosts were unable to produce much of a response, although a foul on Matty Allan by Jason Lee provided a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. The Diamonds backline was much changed, yet all three “newcomers” looked like they had played together many times, and their performance was even more impressive when considering both Winters and Deeney had played little football in recent weeks. It was only Rory Winters fifth start for the club, with the previous four having been in four different competitions.
Nabil Shariff was profiting from the improved delivery to his feet, and he was able to provide the pass that set Taylor Orosz in space to score the second Diamonds goal as he cut back in from the right and finished well with his left foot.
Home keeper Conroy had little chance with the opening two goals, but his display prevented the Diamonds from further increasing their lead, with excellent stops from a Tom Lorraine header and a Nic Evangelinos shot as well as an even better save of an acrobatic effort from Nabil Shariff. Tom Lorraine was making the sort of runs he has used to great effect throughout his Diamonds career, when his injury problems have allowed, with the home defence struggling to keep up, and seeing a goalbound effort deflected wide for a corner.
As half-time approached there was a sense that a third Diamonds goal would settle the contest, and it arrived shortly before the break. Tom Lorraine demonstrated his progress as he recovers from his long term injury issues when he showed his turn of pace to burst past a couple of challenges before cutting inside and blasting home the Diamonds third.
Half-Time: Histon FC 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3
With the hosts making a change at the break they were able to make a threatening start to the second period, having their two best chances of the game so far within a few minutes of the restart. Any thoughts that the Stutes might be able to get back into the game were dispelled by the Diamonds fourth goal, and this time it was Nabil Shariff who got the goal his play deserved, when good work from Sam Brown down the left allowed Shariff to latch onto a ball bouncing in the area, and the Diamonds striker was able to chip the ball neatly over keeper Conroy and into the net.
Tom Lorraine then scored his second when a Shariff header was parried by Conroy and he was able to slot home at the far post. Nic Evangelinos has assumed control of dead-ball situations in recent games, and he was able to take advantage of the aerial threat of Lee and Winters with a number of corners that could easily have resulted in further additions to the scoreline.
Referee Byrne was called into action around the hour mark, as a late challenge from Matty Allen on Matt Finlay produced a rare reaction from the Diamonds keeper, and both players were shown a yellow card. Both Tom Lorraine and Taylor Orosz looked like they might get their hat-trick, with Lorraine coming close after fine interplay with Shariff, and Orosz seeing a chance blocked, although he had been flagged offside.
The five-nil scoreline by the hour mark allowed the Diamonds to bring on Jake Newman for Nabil Shariff, and he quickly joined his fellow strikers on the scoresheet as he made it 6-0 with a well struck effort as a long ball from defence allowed him to cut in from the right and volley home with his left foot.
Chris Wreh joined the action in place of Ash Deeney, with Kyal McNulty moving to right back and Tom Lorraine dropping into midfield. Newman and Wreh began to cause the tiring home defence problems of their own, with Tom Lorraine always willing to link with them from a deeper role. Both Lorraine and Newman had good chances, with keeper Conroy continuing to be the last line of defence, but he looked beaten when Newman was free again, and this time he unselfishly squared to Wreh, but as he was slightly overrunning the pass, Wreh improvised with a back-flick that game back off the post. This was one of the few efforts from the Diamonds strikers that might have been regarded as “off target”, as they avoided wasting opportunities with wayward shots, and it was credit to the home keeper that the scoreline was kept down.
Any thoughts of challenging Diamonds scoring records were dampened shortly afterwards when the hosts got a goal back with a great strike from Danny Gould that left Matt Finlay with no chance.
Full-Time: Histon FC 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 6
An excellent performance brought back memories of the last time the team faced an away cup replay when they produced a much improved performance in an FA Cup tie at Bedford. Whilst the Stutes had taken advantage of an indifferent Diamonds performance on Saturday, the game was quickly taken out of their reach by a much improved Diamonds side.
The victory means the Diamonds will now host Coalville Town on October 29th in the First Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Diamonds Man of the Match: Tom Lorraine
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Niall Conroy
2. Chris Hyem
3. Elkanah Sibanda
4. Harry McGregor
5. Max York (Capt)
6. Cameron Watson
7. Jos Gwynne
8. Pat Bexfield
9. Matty Allen
10. Jake Chambers-Shaw
11. Will Gardner
12. Simon Unwin (for McGregor 46)
13. Aaron Chapman
14. Danny Gould (for Sibanda 55)
15. Aysa Ourtilbour
16. Ollie Habergham (for Chambers-Shaw 72)
17. Matt Finlay
2. Ash Deeney
3. Sam Brown
4. Rory Winters
5. Brad Harris
6. Jason Lee
7. Nabil Shariff
8. Kyal Mcnulty
9. Taylor Orosz
10. Tom Lorraine (Capt)
11. Nic Evangelinos
13. Joe Haynes
14. Jake Newman (for Shariff 66)
15. Robbie Parsons
16. Chris Wreh (for Deeney 73)
Goals: Gould (84)
Goals: Orosz (4, 17), Lorraine (43, 52), Shariff (49), Newman (70)
Yellow Cards: Hyem, Sibanda, Allen
Yellow Cards: Lee, Finlay, Orosz
Referee: George Byrne
Assistants: Tom Beresford, Tim Doe
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