Long Buckby AFC 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1

Alfie Taylor scored the only goal of the game to secure a hard fought win at Long Buckby on a chilly November evening. The win takes Diamonds up to 7th in the UCL Premier League table – still with several games in hand on the teams above.

Manager Mark Starmer, made one change from the starting eleven which beat Cogenhoe United the previous Saturday, with Jake Gillingwater coming in for the injured Joe Merrill at right back. Aaron King returned from suspension to take a place on the bench, while substitute keeper Adam Whybrow was unavailable.

Long Buckby were on a run of five consecutive defeats going into the game, and had gone 10 League games without a win. Manager Phil Mason named former Diamonds James Allcock, Nat Liburd and Lance Allen in their starting line-up, together with former Kettering midfielder Wes Emery, and the experienced former Birmingham and Peterborough striker, Howard Forinton.

Overnight rainfall had made the pitch very heavy, and within the first few minutes, it was evident that close ball control would be very difficult. The first chance of the game fell to Diamonds on 10 minutes as Alfie Taylor tested home keeper Jak Riley at the near post after being set up by Matt Gearing. Neither side were able to create much in the opening period, but it was Diamonds who carved out the opening goal on 18 minutes. Sam Brown crossed the ball from the left for Gearing to flick into the path of Alfie Taylor – firing low into the corner of the net. That goal was the 50th scored by the strike force of Koriya, Dunkley and Taylor.

The goal seemed to give Diamonds more confidence going forward, and the lead was very nearly doubled just three minutes later as a long kick from Tom Cross was touched on by Koriya and Dunkley to Taylor, but the keeper blocked the goal-bound shot with his legs. Moments later, it was Taylor again, this time chipping the ball over the keeper, but just wide of the post.

Diamonds were dominating play and another Sam Brown cross from a Gearing free kick also found the back of the net, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside against Arron Parkinson. Taylor provided another chance for Russ Dunkley on the half hour mark, Nat Liburd deflecting his shot just wide of the post. The Bucks failed to put any pressure on the Diamonds goal as the referee brought the first half to an end.

Half-Time: Long Buckby AFC 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 

Diamonds created the first chance of the second period on 51 minutes as a nice one-two between Gearing and Taylor saw Koriya sliding in, but just failing to connect with Gearing’s cross. But while Diamonds dominated the first half, the second was a different affair as the home side battled back to try and force an equaliser. Moments after Koriya’s chance, Lance Allen got clean through on goal to place the ball past keeper Tom Cross, striking the outside of the far post. Jean Dakouri shot wide from a corner kick, before Josh Crawley missed another great chance.

Jamal Clarke picked up his 5th yellow card of the season just after the hour for persistent fouling as the game became very scrappy. Diamonds struggled to test the Buckby keeper much in the third quarter but on 71 minutes, Sean McBride headed keeper Riley’s kick straight back towards Dunkley and his cross from the left only just evaded Taylor.

Ben Morgan and Aaron King replaced Taylor and Koriya on 78 minutes to provide some fresh legs, but Buckby still pressed to get level. Parkinson deflected a Liburd free-kick away from danger and together with some good defending from Clarke, they saw out the remaining minutes to keep only the 5th clean sheet of the season.

Full-Time: Long Buckby AFC 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1

Diamonds take a break from League action next Saturday (16 November),  with a visit to AFC Wulfrunians in the 2nd Round of the FA Vase (3pm kick-off).

 Man of the match : Sean McBride

Attendance: 226


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Long Buckby

17. Tom Cross

2. Jake Gillingwater

3. Sam Brown

4. Séan McBride

5. Arron Parkinson (capt)

6. Jamal Clarke

7. Matt Gearing

8. Brad Harris

9. Russ Dunkley

10. Alfie Taylor

11. Fazel Koriya


12. Ben Morgan (for Taylor 78)

13. Connor Brown

14. Aaron King (for Koriya 78)

15. Alex Deakin

16. Deven Ellwood (for Gearing 87)

1. Jak Riley

2. Todd Sawko

3. Dan Bucciero

4. James Allcock

5. Jon Crockett (c)

6. Nat Liburd

7. Jean Dakouri

8. Wes Emery

9. Howard Forinton

10. Lance Allen

11. Josh Crawley


12. Robson Kightley

14. Ashley Stewart

15. Joe Power (for Dakouri 82)



Goals: Taylor (18)


Yellow Cards: Clarke (62) Harris (90+3)

Yellow Cards: Allcock (87)

Referee: Mr Mark Wardell

Assistant Referees: Mr Martyn Allen & Mr Terry Whenham



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