AFC Rushden & Diamonds were beaten by their young Southern Premier League opponents 4-1 on Tuesday night in an entertaining game that ended their interest in Southern League Red Insure Cup competition at the first round.
The enterprising young Histon side got off to a flying start with two goals inside the first 4 minutes. The first took just 30 seconds as a right wing cross was only partly cleared to Sam Ives who smashed home from 8 yards. The second 3 minutes later resulted from a Diamonds error as Alex Virtue failed to find Brad Harris with a clearance allowing Michael Meacher to surge into the box and fire low past the retreating Virtue.
Courtney Herbert, Scott Joseph and Dom Lawless all had half-chances in the first half, and as Diamonds upped the tempo in the early part of the second half the same players had further chances with Courtney Herbert’s point blank header from 8 yards straight at the Histon keeper the closest to closing the gap. But it was the away side, re-enforced by substitutions who retook the impetus and scored the vital 3rd through Tilney on 70 minutes to effectively kill the game. Dom Lawless notched his first goal for Diamonds on 83 from the penalty spot to give the home side a glimmer of hope but after Mate Kadar’s flicked header went wide minutes later Histon finally put the game to bed on 89 with a 4th from Kairyas.
Manager Andy Peaks rested a number of his key players for this Red Insure Cup tie with just Ollie Wilkinson, Brad Harris, Courtney Herbert, Dan Quigley and Scott Joseph from the heroic FA Cup win on Saturday. Dom Lawless started up front with Scott Joseph, with U21 players Joe Ackroyd in centre midfield with Dan Quigley and James Harvey wide right with Courtney Herbert wide left. Jake Gillingwater was paired in central defence with Brad Harris and Ollie Wilkinson and Charlie Butt at full-back. Matt Finlay, Liam Dolman and Tommy Berwick were on the bench though with Dan Campbell and Mate Kadar.
A young Histon side shocked their opponents with a bright start and a goal inside the first 30 seconds. The ball was played out to the right wing where it was fired across the 6 yard line with the attempted clearance shanked into the air and falling to Sam Ives 8 yards out who fired firmly into the bottom corner.
The Diamonds line-up didn’t really settle in these early stages and Histon added a very quick second on 3.5 minutes. Alex Vitue’s pass from deep in his area didn’t find Brad Harris and was intercepted by Michael Meacher who surged into the right hand side of the box and slotted home across the retreating keeper into the left hand corner.
After that blistering start the game settled into an even balance and would stay that way throughout the first half with fans having to remind themselves that the side were 2-0 down in what seemed such an even game.
Histon continued to threaten in around the Diamonds box with good possession, Sam Ives lofting one effort over Vitue from the edge of the box but seeing it fall just wide, but Diamonds started to create chances themselves.
Dom Lawless looked energetic and threatening all night and fashioned a chance on 7 minutes cutting into the left side of the box and firing a low effort from close range that was cleared off the line with Scott Joseph closing in.
James Harvey was impressing with his energy and ability on the ball and created a chance for Dan Quigley on 24 cutting the ball back to him after a great run down the right, the mid-fielder firing over from the edge of the box.
Diamonds upped the tempo in the latter stages of the half as they got to grips with their own formation and the clever passing and movement of the young Histon side.
Dom Lawless was found on the left edge of the box and he worked a shooting chance well his effort just easing over the bar with the Histon keeper beaten.
Scott Joseph then got in on the action also from the left edge of the box working into the area and shooting low which was being called as a goal in the press box until the Histon keeper just got his fingertips to it to push it round the post.
It had been a high quality entertaining half that was fairly even but for those two Histon goals in the first 3.5 minutes.
Half-time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds o – Histon 2
The pattern of Diamonds in slight ascendency but with Histon still dangerous especially when Diamonds made mistakes continued in the early stages of the second half.
Histon winger Newman pounced on a Diamonds error in the back line on 53 to pick up the ball and fire a long distance effort just wide of Vitue’s right-hand post.
But Dom Lawless, who was really growing into the game, came close getting the goal back Diamonds desperately needed at this stage. Courtney Herbert accelerated amazingly down the left wing on 55 to beat his full-back and pull the ball back to Lawless who was closed down quickly but managed to work a great shooting chance that went just over.
Scott Joseph then swept an excellent effort just wide from inside the box on 57 after a great run by the impressive James Harvey and Diamonds best chance came just 2 minutes later. Lawless again held the ball up well and fed the overlapping Ollie Wilkinson whose right win cross was inch perfect for Courtney Herbert 8 yards out but his header was straight at the Histon keeper. Either side would have given the keeper no chance and been the goal the diamonds side deserved.
Histon made three substitutions around this point and it seemed to galvanise them and they got back to some slick passing and got some impetus back into their game. Impressive substitute Clayton fired an incredible effort from 40 yards that smacked off the bar and bounced down and away to safety on 60, Tilney had a low shot well saved by Alex Vitue low down at his near post on 64, and the vital 3rd goal then came on 70 minutes.
Clayton slid a lovely ball inside the Diamonds back four for Freeman to run onto, he worked the position and fired a low cross that Tilney steered towards goal from close range the ball finding the net off Alex Vitue’s legs.
Tommy Berwick was soon forced into the action as Scott Joseph pulled up with some kind of leg strain and Dan Campbell and Mate Kadar made their debut’s coming on for James Harvey and Courtney Herbert.
The game that had been good to watch to this point appeared to drifting towards a 3-0 final score line when Diamonds gave themselves a glimmer of hope on 83 minutes. A low corner was fired into the area and as Dan Quigley tried to surge towards the ball he fell under pressure and a penalty was awarded.
Dom Lawless confidently stroked the ball home into the left-hand corner and ran to collect the ball indicating that Diamonds felt the game wasn’t over.
They pressed hard for the remaining minutes with Lawless firing wide from 20 yards at the end of a good move on 85, and Mate Kadar coming so close to adding a second on 87 with a flicked header from a left-wing cross that went agonisingly wide.
Histon did well to relieve the pressure with some good possession football and finally clinched the game on 89 minutes in slightly fortunate fashion after a long distance shot ricoched into the path on Kairys who coolly collected and slotted past Vitue.
Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 – Histon 4
The 2 goal start by Histon was clearly the vital moment in the game as the rest of the contest was even with chances shared. Diamonds could even claim to have had the better chances but found the Histon defence in good form to match the passing and movement of the rest of their impressive young side. Young Diamonds players James Harvey, Joe Ackroyd and Alex Vitue recovered really well from slightly shaky starts to really impact the game and Dan Campbell and Mate Kadar did well as second half substitutes, all looking well capable of the step up to senior football. Dom Lawless deserved that first goal on his full debut for an impressive performance and Courtney Herbert looked back to his pacey dangerous best.
Diamonds return to Southern League action at the Dog & Duck on Saturday with the visit of 10th place side Potters Bar Town, and follow that with the visit of Fleet Town on Tuesday 20th. And then we’re off to Barwell in the cup!!
Man of the Match: Courtney Herbert
Match Report by Paul Judd
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
17. Alex Vitue
2. Ollie Wilkinson
3. Charlie Butt
4. Joe Ackroyd
5. Jake Gillingwater
6. Brad Harris
7. Courtney Herbert
8. Dan Quigley
9. Dom Lawless
10. Scott Joseph
11. James Harvey
12. Dan Campbell (for Herbert 73)
14. Liam Dolman
17. Matt Finlay
18. Mate Kadar (Harvey 78)
19. Tommy Berwick (Joseph 77)
1. Denzel Gerrar
2. Luke Trotman
3. Ben Tilney
4. Evan Key
5. Dan Rumens
6. Curtis Fulcher
7. Matt Meacher
8. Ryan Auger
9. Josh Oyinsan
10. Sam Ives
11. Nick Freeman
12. Jordan Nicholson
14. Jack Uttridge
15. Lewis Clayton (for Oynisan 58)
16. Dovydas Kairys (for Ives 75)
17. Joe Carden (for Meacher )
Goals: Lawless (83 Pen)
Goals: Ives (1), Meacher (3), Tilney (70), Kairys (89)
Referee: Michael Scriven
Assistants: Robert Whittaker, Simon Fradley