Diamonds’ good run of form was brought to an end by a clinical Stratford on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Hayden Road.
The first half lacked goalmouth action, though Diamonds did threaten when Ravi Shamsi had an early shot blocked and Nathan Tshikuna almost caught the keeper out from distance only to be denied. The visitors threatened with a number of set-pieces and long-throws, with one particular chance falling to Ashley Sammon whose volley flew just wide of the post. Rushden took the lead five minutes before the break when AJ George was fouled, and Nathan Tshikuna stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall and into the back of the net from 25 yards out.
However, Stratford controlled proceedings in the second half as they dominated possession and territory. They levelled in the 56th minute when midfielder Jack Storer hit a screamer from range that flew into the top corner and, after centre-back Jordan Williams headed over when unmarked, they completed the turnaround when Storer coolly side-footed home into the roof of the net. Diamonds tried to find a way back into the match but never truly threatened, and it was the visitors who sealed the success four minutes from time when Sammons curled home a sumptuous strike following a good save from Dean Snedker.
Full match report to follow…
Diamonds take on Stratford Town at Hayden Road on Saturday afternoon in what will be their only home game in December. Away games at Tamworth and Royston preceed the Boxing Day contest at Peterborough Sports before the next home game on New Year’s Day against St. Ives.
Diamonds won their last two home games to improve that home record and are on a run of 5 wins in 6 overall which started with a 2-1 victory over Stratford in October.
Stratford followed that defeat to Diamonds with the exciting FA Cup First Round tie against Shrewsbury Town in front of a 2,800 crowd and TV cameras. A 5-1 defeat was a big blow and three poor defeats followed against Alvechurch, Barwell (0-4) and Rushall (0-3). Back-to-back victories at Tamworth and at home to Nuneaton got them back on track before defeat at home to Lowestoft last time out.
Stratford Town FC
Stratford began in 1941 in local Worcestershire and Birmingham leagues before working through the West Midlands (Regional) League, a short stint in the Hellenic League and the Midland Alliance. They had to reform in 1998 and finally achieved Step 4 status in 2013 joining the Southern League before climbing to Step 3 in 2015.
The “Bards” moved to Knights Lane in 2008 and saw a record attendance of 2,800 for the recent exciting televised FA Cup First Round tie against Shrewsbury Town.
Diamonds broke the sequence of home wins in contests between the sides with that victory at Stratford in October.
Stratford had won the 2 previous contests at Knights Lane 1-0 in 2018/19 and 3-1 in 2019/20. Diamonds scored 6 times in their two home victories in those seasons winning 2-0 in 2018/19 and 4-2 in 2019/20.
Diamonds will be full of confidence after three wins on the bounce but know they will have to show the commitment and work ethic that has characterised their recent run against a tough Stratford side. Stratford have 3 wins in 8 away from home that might have been more without the distraction of that FA Cup run and they won at Tamworth last time on their travels.
Will Jones and Ben Garwood saw action for the U21s in the week with Jones scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win against Step 6 Huntingdon’s first team. They will be pushing for at least a place on the bench today.
Please note the additional COVID regulations in force at the ground on Saturday and please take sensible safe distancing measures.
Radio Diamonds will be in action as ever with the usual Twitter updates, match reports and post match interviews to bring you all the action.
Enjoy the game.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Attendance||Man of the Match||Captain|
|Sat, 11th Dec, 2021||3:00 pm||Southern League Premier Division Central||2021/22||22||322||Ben Diamond||Alex Collard|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Richard Eley||John Stevens||Stephen Davies|
|Hayden Road Sports Ground, Hayden Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HX|