PSF: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 King’s Lynn Town 1

An 84th minute Ross Hawkins strike was all that separated these sides in a competitive pre-season friendly contest at Hayden Road on Tuesday night.

Diamonds had a Tom Lorraine effort cleared off the line by eventual goal scorer Ross Hawkins and a Jack Ashton header loop onto the bar as the home side mastered the blustery first-half conditions a tad better. The introduction of Jamah Loza at half-time was the catalyst for a more dominant performance by the National League side and a pair of excellent efforts had his side broadly on top. And it was his cross on 84 minutes that saw an effort crash onto the post and back into the path of Ross Hawkins 15 yards out to slam home the only goal of the game.

Manager Andy Peaks picked a strong line-up with just the two trialists. One played in the back line in front of Richard Walton and alongside Patrick Casey, Jack Ashton, and Liam Dolman. Matt Slinn, Fernando Bell-Toxtle, and Jesse Aqubuine started in midfield with Chris Wreh and Tom Lorraine partnered by another trialist upfront who would become a post-match signing – striker Lorrell Smith. Ben Ford, Ben Farrell, Ryan Dove, Alex Collard, Nat Gosnal-Tyler, Zack Reynolds and Luke Munro were joined by a further trialist.

0ver 200 spectators enjoyed the return of football to Hayden Road on a blustery night. King’s Lynn forced Richard Walton into the first save of the game with a low shot which was well held and Michael Gash curled a great effort just wide of the home keeper’s post on 20 minutes. Tom Lorraine then came close for Diamonds with a header that away keeper Alex Street just parried allowing eventual goal scorer Ross Hawkins to clear right off the line. Diamonds pressed well in the closing stages of the half and a Matt Slinn free-kick saw Jack Ashton flick a header onto the bar.

King’s Lynn made a number of half-time changes and it very much improved their control of the game. The pacey Jamah Loza caused most damage running dangerously at the Diamonds defence having one effort blocked and another just deflected over the bar. Diamonds stayed in the game by pressing the Lynn defence and came closest when an over hit back pass evaded the away keeper and just went wide of the post.

Ben Farrell and the sub trialist then came on for Diamonds closely followed by Ben Ford, Nat Gosnal-Tyler, Will Jones and Ryan Dove.

King’s Lynn were finishing the game strongest and created the only goal of the game through the illusive Jamah Loza. His run and cross on 84 minutes saw an effort crash back off the post and into the path of Ross Hawkins 15 yards out to fire into the roof of the net.

Diamonds responded with a really good finish to the game and saw a Will Jones header just saved and Ben Farrell strike a crisp effort just over the bar in added on time.

Diamonds matched up well to their National League opponents particularly in the first half but were beaten by that extra bit of quality that came with the half-time changes.

Next up for Diamonds the visit of Bedford Town on Friday night.

Match Report: Paul Judd, Radio Diamonds