Match Report: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1(P)-1 Kettering Town FC

AFC Rushden & Diamonds have advanced to the Semi-Finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup after eliminating near neighbours Kettering Town. The two sides could not be separated in normal time as the match finished level at 1-1. A penalty shootout was required to decide the winner and the Diamonds prevailed 4-2 on spot kicks to progress.

TEAM NEWS

Andy Peaks made two changes to the side which completed the dramatic comeback against Hednesford Town at the weekend with Ben Diamond and AJ George replacing Nathan Tshikuna and Connor Furlong.

The Diamonds lined up in their 4-2-3-1 that we are accustomed to seeing; Dean Snedker played in goal. The back four consisted of Patrick Casey, Alex Collard, Ryan Hughes and Sam Warburton. The midfield contained Fernando Bell-Toxtle and Matthew Slinn with Ben Diamond operating as a number ten. Ravi Shamsi and AJ George took up the wings with Ty Deacon leading the line.

FIRST HALF

Rushden made a bright start to the game and subsequently produced the first opportunity on goal for either side. Ravi Shamsi tiptoed through the Kettering defence and fired his shot into the side netting.

However, it was the visitors who struck with the opening goal of the night. The ball broke for Jordan Crawford, following a long throw into the box, who fired it across goal for Connor Johnson to turn in at the back post.

Clear chances came at a premium for the remainder of the half. Jordan Crawford blazed an effort over the bar for Kettering before Ravi Shamsi saw his free kick rise marginally over the top for Diamonds.

SECOND HALF

Diamonds came flying out of the traps for the second half and wasted no time in creating chances to equalise. Alex Collard’s thunderous header was cleared from the underside of the bar and off the line.

Rushden continued to turn the screw and soon after found the goal to level the scoring. As Kettering struggled to clear the danger, Ty Deacon pounced onto the loose ball and bundled it home for his first goal in Diamonds colours.

The match started to open up with both sides carving out chances in search of a winning goal. Connor Kennedy steered a header wide for Kettering with Ravi Shamsi drawing Paul Davis into an expert save.

Kyle Perry saw a couple of headers drift wide later on but neither side could force a decisive goal in normal time.

PENALTY SHOOTOUT

Dean Snedker stamped his authority in the shootout with two excellent saves to deny Kyle Perry and Claudio Ofosu.

In addition to this, Diamonds scored all of their penalties in emphatic fashion! Sam Warburton, Will Jones, Nathan Tshikuna and Connor Furlong all found the net to ensure Diamonds overcame the Poppies and won the tie.

FT: AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS 1-1 KETTERING TOWN (AFC R&D WIN 4-2 ON PENALTIES)

Andy Peaks’ side have now progressed to the Semi-Finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup and are now potentially one game away from a Final at Sixfields.

Man of the Match: Fernando Bell-Toxtle

Attendance: 475

Match Report: Joseph McCormack

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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