AFC Rushden & Diamonds long unbeaten run came to an end as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Jubilee Park on Tuesday evening. Declan Rogers scored for the home side on the hour mark following a long throw from the right. This is also the first time the Diamonds have failed to score in a senior game – despite starting with the same line-up as in the previous two games where they had netted 11 goals.
The Diamonds had the better of the first half, but could not convert their chances, and a lack-lustre second half performance meant the hosts had much the better of the second period.
Diamonds Manager Mark Starmer named the same starting line-up for the third game running, but shuffled things around on the bench, with Ben Morgan and Aaron King joining Nat Liburd, Jake Gillingwater and Brad Harris. That meant the Diamonds did not name a substitute keeper with Quincy Shorunmu unavailable due to work commitments.
With an excellent away following at the neat Jubilee Park ground the game started slowly, with neither side dominating, as the uneven bounce seemed to cause problems. After 15 minutes Russ Dunkley broke clear but his effort hit keeper Trebes. Dunkley then headed over the bar from close range as he got on the end of a Sam Brown cross.
At the other end Curtis Fulcher shot across goal in one of the host few goalscoring chances in the first period. Jack Wisniewski was having another good game, constantly harrying the Croms defence, and he was able to find space for a shot which appeared to hit a defender on the arm, but referee Hanna waved away the penalty claims. Russ Dunkley saw his third good chance cleared off the line as he got onto the end of a Gearing corner.
Shortly before the break there was a rare scare for the Diamonds as a scuffed clearance from Cross went straight to Jamie Graham, but he lingered on the ball too long allowing Jamal Clarke to get in a tackle.
Half-Time: Huntingdon Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0
The second period was a total contrast to the first, with the home side showing the qualities that had taken them to fourth place in the league last season. Whereas the Diamonds had been winning 50-50 challenges and being first to the “second-ball” in the first half, it was the hosts who controlled play in the second period. After 59 minutes Jamal Clarke was pressured towards the corner flag and was forced to concede a throw on the Huntingdon right. Croms right back Ollie Medwynter had showed his long-throw abilities in the first half, and he launched the ball in the box, where the Diamonds defence failed to deal with it, and Declan Rogers headed home to open the scoring.
The Diamonds were unable to lift the tempo of their second half performance, despite bringing on Aaron King and Nat Liburd with 15 minutes left, and the hosts were able to close the game down to hold on for a 1-0 victory.
Full-Time: Huntingdon Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0
On Saturday the Diamonds travel to face Northwood FC in the FA Cup Preliminary Round – see here for the match preview.
The current UCL League Table can be found on the AFC Diamonds website here, and the updated Match Stats, Player Stats, Form Guide and Attendance figures are found in the summary stats area here. Updated player profiles are also available.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Tim Trebes
2. Ollie Medwynter
3. Ryan Spencer
4. Pat Bexfield
5. Charlie De’ath
6. Stephen Owens
7. Curtis Fulcher
8. Micky Hyem
9. Ben Seymour-Shove
10. Jamie Graham
11. Declan Rogers
12. Dan Moyes (for Rogers 87)
14. Chris Jones (for Graham 90)
15. Victor Torres (for Fulcher 59)
16. Jack Warwick
17. Tom Cross
2. Joe Merrill
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Alex Deakin
6. Jamal Clarke
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Elliot Dent
9. Russ Dunkley (Capt)
10. Alfie Taylor
11. Matt Gearing
12. Aaron King (for Dent 72)
13. Nat Liburd (for Wisniewski 75)
14. Jake Gillingwater
15. Ben Morgan (for Gearing 88)
16. Brad Harris
Goals: Rogers (59)
Yellow Cards: Fulcher, Bexfield, Spencer, Medwynter
Yellow Cards : McBride
Referee: Daniel Hanna
Assistants: George Younger, Ellis Mills
For video highlights of the game and post-match interviews with the two managers and Diamonds captain Russ Dunkley see here.