Diamonds were held to a 1-1 draw by Daventry Town in the latest pre-season friendly action on Saturday afternoon.
Diamonds dominated the early stages and took a 25th minute lead as Jesse Aqubuine’s deep free-kick was headed back by Jack Ashton for Tom Lorraine to head home. Injuries to both Will Jones and Lorrell Smith before half-time disrupted Diamonds attacking intentions and an improved Daventry took the 2nd half initiative. Diamonds were holding the lead fairly comfortably though until a misplaced pass by a trialist on 72 minutes allowed Luke Emery to run through on goal and finish past Richard Walton in the Diamonds goal.
With two weeks to the league opener at Nuneaton Manager Andy Peaks had to pick a weaker matchday squad than he would have wanted due to injuries and unavailability. A tribalism started at the back alongside Zack Reynolds, Liam Dolman, and Jack Ash with Richard Walton in goal. Patrick Casey played in holding midfield with Jesse Aqubuine and Fernando Bell-Toxtle and Tom Lorraine was up front alongside Will Jones and Lorrell Smith. On the bench were Luke Munro, Ben Ford, Alex Collard, Matt Slinn, Nat Gosnal-Tyler and a further trialist.
“Match report courtesy of Joseph McCormack, Radio Diamonds”
The visitors started brightly and dominated the early proceedings. Once they settled into the game, they started to create openings – most notably when Will Jones charged at the Daventry defence and drove his effort just over the top.
Daventry were content with sitting off and absorbing the pressure but they soon conjured up a big chance of their own. A cutback from the left was cleared but only as far as the midfielder steaming into the box whose effort struck the upright.
Will Jones was unfortunately withdrawn due to a tight hamstring but seconds later, Diamonds broke the deadlock in trademark fashion. A free-kick was floated into the area by Jesse Akubuine, knocked back across by Jack Ashton and headed into the corner by Tom Lorraine.
Lorrell Smith soon followed Will Jones in being forced off through injury which clipped the wings of the Diamonds attack as they struggled to create for the rest of the half.
Half-time: Daventry Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Daventry took the initiative of possession in the early stages after the break but it was Diamonds who mustered up the first chance. Nat Gosnal-Tyler latched onto a through ball, cut back onto his left foot and fired his shot just wide of the far post.
The hosts were not fazed and continued to build possession but their equaliser came in a contrasting manner. A Daventry midfielder pounced on a wayward pass and played it through for Luke Emery. The Daventry striker made no mistake in slotting the ball into the corner.
The goal seemed to reignite the visitors as they took control of the game once again. Diamonds created some half-chances but saw two big opportunities go begging later on. Fernando Bell-Toxtle hit the side netting following a scramble off a set-piece and Tom Lorraine suffered a loose touch as he looked to break in behind on the half-turn.”
Final score: Daventry Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Diamonds were undoubtedly disrupted by the loss of their two young forwards “Smith and Jones” (Lorrell and Will) before half-time and by the lack of more “first choice” contenders in the squad. They worked hard and were well organised but were unable to consistently press their opposition and will be disappointed to concede in the way they did in the 2nd half.
Next up is the visit of Barton Rover to Hayden Road on Tuesday night before the final pre-season outing on Saturday at Brackley Town.
Match Summary: Paul Judd, Radio Diamonds.
Match Report: Joseph McCormack