On his 200th appearance for the club Diamonds hero Liam Dolman fittingly clinched this NFA Hillier Cup First round tie with an 87th minute thumping finish from a half-cleared corner. He had provided the assist for Jack Bowen’s 61st minute opener also from a corner in a dominant Diamonds performance.
Diamonds gave Nathan Pickworth and Patrick Casey a starting birth along with Nathan Hicks, Zack Reynolds, Dan Clifton, John Dean and Shawn Richards. Ben Heath, Joel Gyasi, Ben Farrell, Joe Curtis and Jack Bowen were on a strong looking bench.
Diamonds largely dominated possession on a blustery evening and a firm pitch with Dan Clifton coming close twice in the early stages only to be denied by former Diamonds favourite Quincy Shorumnu in the PNS goal. Ty Ward and John Dean also pressed the former Diamonds keeper with half-chances around the half-hour mark and Liam Dolman and Ben Diamond got in on the act late in the half but couldn’t force the opening goal.
Dan Clifton, Ty Ward and John Dean all had good shooting chances early in the second half as Diamonds continued to press before Jack Bowen and Joel Gyasi were introduced on the hour mark. The change brought early dividends with the opening goal on 61 minutes. A corner was flicked on by Liam Dolman in trademark fashion allowing Jack Bowen to nudge the ball over the line with his first touch.
Diamonds never looked in danger of conceding the lead having got ahead in the contest and continued to press Shorumnu into action. That included a heart stopping moment familiar to Diamonds fans when at least 4 Cruyff turns were completed in his own box with the eventual clearance only falling to Ty Ward who fired just over the empty net from 30 yards.
The tie was finally clinched on 87 minutes as another corner was swung in and only half-cleared by Shorumnu to Liam Dolman who lashed home on his 200th appearance for the club.
With no game for Diamonds on Saturday their next contest is their 3rd home league game of the season against St. Ives Town on 29th September.
***Full report and match stats to follow***