Rugby Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3 – Integro League Cup

Ben Farrell starred for Diamonds with two goals and an impressive all round display to help them to an ultimately comfortable 3-1 victory at Butlin Road, Rugby on Tuesday night in the Integro League Cup.

The midfielder opened the scoring for a strong Diamonds side with a well struck penalty on 6 minutes after Lewis Wilson’s effort from the edge of the box struck a Rugby hand. Tom Lorraine came close to doubling Diamonds lead when he was played in by Taylor Orosz on 20 but his low effort was saved by the home Louis Connor in the home goal.

After Diamonds dominant start Rugby grew into the game and had plenty of possession in front of the Diamonds defence but had to wait until 40 to break into the Diamonds penalty area and equalise. A poor defensive header was whipped into the box and came down off the underside of the bar where it was twice struck towards goal before being stabbed over the line by Chris Sterling. The home side were only level for 2 minutes though as a Sam Brown long throw was only half cleared, Liam Dolman touched it sideways into the path of Ben Farrell 25 yards out who struck a superb low rasping effort into the bottom right corner.

The second half opened in entertaining style with first Rory Winters seeing a firm header from a corner headed off the line, and then Rugby breaking to put a striker free into the area only for Brad Harris to make a superb blocking tackle. Then Tom Lorraine broke quickly from half-way squaring to Taylor Orosz who let the ball run through to Lewis Wilson in plenty of space but his effort was saved low down at the far post.

Diamonds began to dominate as Rugby continued to struggle to take neat passing around half-way through to the final third as Diamonds defence were rock solid. Ben Farrell was commanding in midfield and well supported by Joe Curtis. The clinching goal finally came on 80 as a Liam Dolman free-kick from 25 yards was saved by Louis Connor coming out to Joe Curtis who chipped towards Tom Lorraine on the edge of the area. His header fell to Taylor Orosz to smash home a great looking volley much as he had at Belper earlier in the season.

Manager Andy Peaks showed how seriously he takes this competition with a strong looking side containing 6 changes but including all the substitutes from the last game against Bedworth plus fresh starter Robbie Parsons. Ben Heath came into the goalkeeper slot, Brad Harris dropped into his now familiar right back berth alongside Liam Dolman, Rory Winters and Sam Brown. Ben Farrell and Joe Curtis took centre midfield with Taylor Orosz, Lewis Wilson, Robbie Parsons and Tom Lorraine across the front four.

Rugby had made 7 changes to the side starting their last game and they were rather overrun in the opening stages. Robbie Parsons broke into the area and saw his near post effort palmed wide by the home keeper Louis Connor in the first minute, and Taylor Orosz found space in the box to get a shot away on 4 also producing a corner.

The goal that Diamonds threatened came on 6 minutes as neat play outside the left side of the box saw Lewis Wilson surge inside and fire away a snapshot that caught a Rugby blocking hand for pretty clear penalty. Ben Farrell stepped up and firmly struck into the bottom left corner to give Diamonds the lead.

The bulk of the play was in the Rugby half at this point with Diamonds probing across a mobile front four and it was Robbie Parsons who would have the next good effort on 14. He seized on a loose ball and worked a good position on the edge of the box where he fired just over the angle of left hand post and bar.

On 20 they came closer still as a neat ball forward from Ben Farrell split the Rugby defence allowing Taylor Orosz to knock the ball inside to an unmarked Tom Lorraine 15 yards out but his first time low effort was just saved by the Connors’s legs.

Rugby appeared to take comfort from not conceding an early second goal and grew into the game moving the ball well in the middle third but frequently failing to make any progress when engaging the Diamonds back 4 and centre midfield pair. They had a half penalty appeal on 24 as a ball finally played into the box saw Sterling stooping to head and falling to the floor under pressure from Rory Winters but a penalty decision was never likely.

A rare corner produced another half chance on 26 as the ball fell for Blaine Punter to head unmarked at goal but it went harmlessly over the bar.

Sam Brown was keen to get involved in attacking play and showed some typically neat touches down the left hand side in support of his forward players and nearly created a chance for Tom Lorraine on 34 with a fired in deep cross that the Connor just plucked off the strikers head.

Rugby were finally rewarded for attempting some enterprising play when they pounced on a Diamonds error on 40. A poor headed clearance was whipped across goal beating Ben Heath and crashing down off the underside of the bar. It was stabbed towards goal twice catching he bar again before Chris Sterling finally forced the ball home.

The home side were only level for 2 minutes though as a Sam Brown long throw was only half cleared, Liam Dolman touched it sideways under pressure into the path of Ben Farrell 25 yards out who struck a superb low rasping effort into the bottom right corner. It was a brilliant finish and second goal capping a superb all round first half display by the midfield man.

There was just time for one final rasping Diamonds effort as the lively Taylor Orosz seized possession 35 yards out and struck a fierce effort that faded just wide with Connor well beaten.

Half Time: Rugby Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2

The second half opened in entertaining style with first Rory Winters seeing a firm header from a corner headed off the line, and then Rugby breaking to put a striker free into the area only for Brad Harris to make a superb blocking tackle. Then Tom Lorraine broke quickly from half-way squaring to Taylor Orosz who let the ball run through to Lewis Wilson in plenty of space but his effort was saved low down at the far post.

Rugby responded again with a move that took them to the edge of the area where a chipped effort back across goal fell well over the bar when a fired in effort may have been more profitable.

But Diamonds began to dominate as Rugby continued to struggle to take neat passing around half-way through to the final third. The Diamonds defence were rock solid all night and with Ben Farrell in commanding form in-front of them supported by Joe Curtis they won the ball back quickly from Rugby breaks and set up more challenging attacks.

Ben Farrell made a number of surging runs from midfield after winning possession or seizing on the good work of his colleagues. On 60 he surged down the right to the edge of the box to seize on a loose ball, his cross fired into the box hit Tom Lorraine’s backside as he had fallen under a previous challenge.

On 64 he won the ball, lost it, won it again and tried an excellent reverse pass on the edge of the area to the free running Taylor Orosz that was only just cut out. On 68 it was Taylor Orosz turn to seize on a Farrell ball out wide to cut back and fire in a cross that Tom Lorraine made contact with but just couldn’t guide his low header on target.

The clinching goal that Diamonds had been threatening finally came on 80 as another free-kick was won 25 yards out. Liam Dolman struck well but the Connor got down well and the ball was just pushed out of the area. Joe Curtis chipped it back in to Tom Lorraine on the edge of the area whose header fell to Taylor Orosz to smash home a great looking volley to the delight of the travelling faithful behind the goal.

Ryan Baird was amongst late substitutions replacing Robbie Parsons, Lewis Leslie replaced Tom Lorraine and Kyal McNulty replaced Ben Farrell on 88 to allow the midfielder to take well deserved plaudits from the crowd for his Man of the Match performance.

There was time for one more surging run from midfield, this time by a combination of Kyal McNulty and Lewis Leslie but the final shot on goal couldn’t quite be set up.

Final Score: Rugby Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3

This was a strong Diamonds performance from start to finish with Ben Farrell prominent with his two goals and an excellent all round performance. Against a much changed Rugby side they dominated in the final third and pleasingly threatened goals throughout.

Rugby worked hard and were neat in possession but floundered every time they got close to the Diamonds area with Liam Dolman, Rory Winters, Sam Brown and Brad Harris in commanding form.

The combination of Ben Farrell and Joe Curtis worked really well and the front four were mobile and a threat all night.

The win keeps an excellent run going, particularly away from home, and Andy Peaks will have some interesting selection decisions for the visit of Kidsgrove Athletic to the Dog & Duck on Saturday.

Man of the Match: Ben Farrell

Attendance: 147

Match Report: Paul Judd

 

Rugby Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1.   Louis Connor

2.   Gary Moran

3.   Aiden Print

4.   Scott Hadland

5.   Mason Rowley (C)

6.   Blaize Punter

7.   Harry Holloway

8.   Aaron Moses-Harvey

9.   Chris Sterling

10. Ryan Quinn

11. Lewis Hudson

Subs

12. Callum Burgess

14. David Kolodyanski (for Hadland 74)

15. Mitchell Thomson

16. Leigh Philips

17. Dan Jezeph

17. Ben Heath

2.   Brad Harris

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Rory Winters

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Ben Farrell

7.   Joe Curtis

8.   Robbie Parsons

9.   Taylor Orosz

10. Tom Lorraine

11. Lewis Wilson

Subs

12.  Kyal McNulty (for Farrell 88)

13.  Matt Finlay

14.  Lewis Leslie (for Parsons 86)

15.  Ryan Baird (for Lorraine 80)

Goals: Sterling (40)

 

Goals: Farrell (6 Pen, 42), Orosz (80)

Yellow Card:  

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Scott Robertson

Assistants: Tom Bowkett, Peter Crowe

 

 

 

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