Diamonds return to Hayden Road following a first league defeat of the season with a narrow 1-0 loss at Bromsgrove last week.
At the time of writing the match is almost a sell out, there are a handful of tickets left which are available from here https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/afcrd along with the ability to purchase your match day programme.
Hednesford have had a tough start to the new season, they parted ways with new manager Andy Morrell following 3 defeats and a draw from their opening four games. Interim manager Keenan Meakin-Richards produced a 4-2 victory against Stratford Town last time out.
Diamonds v Hednesford
Last season saw two 1-1 draws between the teams, with that Ben Acquaye goal away at Hednesford and Ryan Dove converting in the reverse fixture at home.
The first team will be wearing the brand new home kit for this game, and supporters can collect their pre ordered shirts or purchase shirts int he club shop from 2pm.
Can’t make the game?
Highlights and interviews will be available after the game at youtube.com/AFCRDTV
AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed their second league victory of the season as they delivered a controlled display to overcome a revitalised Hednesford Town.
Andy Peaks reverted to a back four formation which, as he later described in his post-match interview, fluctuated between a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 depending on the circumstances of the game. The Diamonds manager also made two personnel changes to the side which lost at Bromsgrove; Lorrell Smith and Ryan Hughes came in to replace Matthew Slinn and the suspended Jack Ashton.
The ever-present Richard Walton was in goal. Alex Collard was partnered alongside Patrick Casey in central defence with Ryan Hughes and Zack Reynolds making up the back four. Fernando Bell-Toxtle and Jesse Akubuine were the predominant midfield pairing with Luke Fairlamb and Tom Lorraine lining up on the wings. Chris Wreh and Lorrell Smith lead the attack but often interchanged with their wingers.
The hosts carried on where they left off in Worcestershire as they created multiple chances in the early stages – most notably when Tom Lorraine forced his way through on goal with his effort cleared off the line. After enduring a period of sustained pressure, Hednesford forged an opportunity of their own. Samuel Griffiths delivered a wicked cross which flashed across goal but nobody in a neon shirt was there to convert.
A manic minute saw Diamonds strike the woodwork and win a penalty! Chris Wreh rattled the bar from close-range just moments before Jesse Akubuine was tripped in the box to earn his side a spot-kick. Lorrell Smith stepped up and dispatched the ball into the corner to give Diamonds a 16th minute lead – his fourth goal of the season.
Hednesford responded by taking initiative in possession and managed to conjure up two big opportunities for their efforts. Taylor Allen’s effort from range ricocheted off the post and a lopping header smacked the top of the bar.
Diamonds soon regained control of the match and put the visitors on the back foot once again. They thought they had doubled their lead when Zack Reynolds’ cross was powered home by Tom Lorraine only for the flag to go up for offside. Not long after, Luke Fairlamb raced in on goal but was denied by Cameron Gregory.
Half Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Hednesford Town
Diamonds went in with the lead at the interval but there can be no doubt that Hednesford had their moments. A feeling of content radiated across Hayden Road but with the sides separated by a single goal, it would have been naïve to think that the hosts already had the job done.
Hednesford started the second half with the lion’s share of possession but it was Diamonds who forged the biggest opportunities to score.Lorrell Smith skipped away from his man and ran in on goal but Gregory stood tall to make another key save. Chris Wreh found himself a chance in similar fashion but was the latest to be denied by the Shrewsbury Town loanee in goal.
It was becoming increasingly clear that Diamonds needed a second goal and they managed to do just that with 70 minutes onto the clock. Luke Fairlamb beat the offside trap to latch onto a through ball, shifted the ball onto his left foot and sent a sizzling strike into the top right.
Hednesford weren’t fazed by the second goal and continued to build possession with the ambition of getting back into the game. Daniel Sweeney picked up the ball in between the lines, drove into space and fired a long-range effort in off the crossbar to halve the deficit.
Hednesford continued to control the possession but failed to create any significant opportunities from here on in – much to the credit of the Diamonds shape which offered the Pitmen very little space to work in. Andy Peaks’ side remained true to their manager’s principle – solid and hard to break down as they managed to see out the win.
Full Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 Hednesford Town
This result was Diamonds second league win from their opening six matches and sees them march into fourth position – a rise of eight places from the start of the day. There are seven sides who have accumulated nine points but, thanks to their emphatic win over Hitchin last month, it is Diamonds who sit top of that group and firmly in the play-off places.
Next up for the Diamonds is a trip to Leicestershire to face a Coalville side who top the table with 13 points. The Ravens will no doubt provide a tough test for Diamonds, but Andy Peaks’ side have proved they can compete with the best…
Match Report: Joseph McCormack
|Date||Time||League||Season||Attendance||COVID-19 Secure Capacity||All Ticket?||Man of the Match||Captain|
|October 17, 2020||3:00 pm||Southern League Premier Central||2020/21||410||450||Yes (season tickets are valid)||Fernando Bell-Toxtle||Tom Lorraine|
|Hayden Road Sports Ground, Hayden Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HX|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Ruebyn Ricardo||Abdul Kadir||Cameron Smith|