PSF: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Bedford Town 2

Diamonds suffered a second home pre-season defeat in a week after Bedford Town hung on to a 2-1 first half lead on Friday night.

Three goals in 11 first-half minutes promised an action packed game but that turned out to be the extent of the scoring. Jamie Robinson put Bedford ahead on 12 minutes with a mishit cross that slipped through Diamonds keeper Richard Walton’s hands. Trialist (no 10) had Diamonds level on 23 minutes after a mazy run, a one two and a firm strike into the bottom corner. Rene Howe then headed Bedford ahead on 23 minutes to complete the scoring.

The starting eleven was possibly a step down on Diamonds Tuesday night team versus Kings Lynn and included two trialists again alongside Richard Walton, Patrick Casey, Ryan Hughes, Jack Ashton, Liam Dolman, Jesse Akubuine, Ben Ford, Chris Wreh, and Nat Gosnal-Tyler. On the bench were, Fernando Bell-Toxtle, Luke Munro, Will Jones, Matt Slinn, Alex Collard, and two further trialists.

In a bright start to the game Bedford pressed well with Drew Robinson getting the first half-chance with a good shot that was blocked well by the Diamonds defence. And they took the lead on 12 minutes after another promising move saw Jamie Robinson fire in a cross-shot that looked a comfortable stop for Richard Walton but it squirmed through his hands. The Diamonds keeper made amends with a good stop a few minutes later from Connor Robinson, and then saw a Will Summerfield shot fly just over the bar as Bedford dominated.

Diamonds got back into the game in spectacular fashion on 19 minutes as the impressive trialist (no 10) ran at the Bedford defence, cut inside, played a neat one-two and fired low into the bottom corner. Parity did not last long though as more Bedford pressing on 23 minutes saw a Connor Tomlinson cross firmly headed home by Rene Howe.

Diamonds were struggling for cohesion in the first half against a seemingly more motivated Bedford Town side. They gradually began to press though and earned a series of corners but were unable to fashion any genuine chances to level before half-time.

Half-time changes saw Fernando Bell-Toxtle, Will Jones, and a trialist introduced, with Alex Collard and a further trialist soon joining the action. Bedford were nearly gifted a third in the early stages as a chested back pass fell short of Richard Walton allowing Dan Walker to get an effort in that Walton manged to block well.

Patrick Casey has been impressive going forward in pre-season and his cut-back saw trialist (no 10) get a good effort in that was deflected over the bar. And just minutes later the trialist (no 10) skipped past a number of challenges before lifting his effort just over the bar.

Diamonds pressed in much better fashion as the half wore on and Nat Gosnal-Tyler had a curling effort go just wide and had a strong penalty appeal for hand ball which had prevented a dangerous through ball turned down.

Will Jones had the final efforts to bring Diamonds level as first he drove into the area and saw his strong effort blocked by the keepers legs and then headed Patrick Casey’s cross just wide.

Bedford deserved the victory for their effort and commitment to the game which Diamonds couldn’t match especially in the first half. The second half was better for Diamonds with trialist (no 10) and Will Jones coming close to earning a draw.

Next-up for Diamonds the traditional match up against ground share partners Rushden & Higham which is now scheduled for Tuesday 1st September.

Match Report: Paul Judd, Radio Diamonds (credit to Joseph McCormack for his excellent notes)