Diamonds won the battle of the in-form sides with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Stourbridge at Hayden Road on Saturday afternoon.
There was little sign of the recent attacking form from either side in a goalless first half on a bobbly pitch and in a strong wind. Stourbridge had a close range header from a corner and a 20 yard effort saved by Dean Snedker with Diamonds just having nearly moments for Ben Diamond and Connor Furlong snuffed out by away keeper Charlie Price.
The second half started with a bang for Diamonds with a Nathan Tshikuna fierce free-kick deflected up to the far post where Alex Collard headed through Charlie Price’s hands to give them a vital lead. Stourbridge had two efforts cleared off the line and one clawed back by Dean Snedker as they tried to respond. Diamonds defended the area well though and were moving the ball much better on the break. On 67 minutes Nathan Tshikuna won the ball near halfway and strode in on goal for a cool finish and a 2-0 lead.
Stourbridge pressed but couldn’t breach the Diamonds defence with Alex Collard and Liam Dolman in commanding form.
Full report and lineups to follow….
Match Summary: Paul Judd
Diamonds return to Hayden Road on Saturday to take on Stourbridge FC in the battle of the in-form Southern League Premier Central sides.
Diamonds sit 2nd in the last 8 game form table with Stourbridge 3rd. Only Banbury sit above them and ironically beat both sides 2-0 in an only defeat in the last 5.
Stourbridge had a tricky start and were still 18th after 12 games. They started to pull away from the bottom with some good wins but then had a very erratic sequence of results that saw a 6-2 home defeat (Nuneaton) a 5-1 away defeat (Alvechurch) and a 4-0 home defeat (Hitchin), surrounded by a home win against Biggleswade and an away win at Needham Market. 4 wins in 5 with the encouragement of new joint managers Stuart Pierpoint and Paul Broadhurst have seen the Glassboys climb to 10th and they have also progressed brilliantly in the FA Trophy with wins against AFC Telford and Guiseley AFC.
Diamonds have 10 wins in 13 which has pushed them from lower mid-table to genuine play-off contenders. 3 wins from 4 in 2022 have continued the good run and that includes back-to-back home wins against St. Ives and Needham Market scoring 6 and not conceding. And winning the crunch match at play-off rivals Alvechurch last week 2-1 means Diamonds come into the game full of confidence. Stourbridge have won their last three on their travels so will be equally confident but this is a first away game of 2022.
Stourbridge have won 2 of the 4 previous games between the sides both 2-1 wins in 2018/19. Diamonds won the only game of the aborted 2019/20 season in an exciting 5 goal thriller and the game earlier this season at the War Memorial Ground finished 1-1.
It has all the makings of a cracking contest between sides that pretty much always score goals and are bang in form. So get your ticket in advance for what should be a well attended game with Stourbridge having sold out their coach. Cash can be taken on the turnstiles now so we should be guaranteed a great atmosphere.
Radio Diamonds will be on air as ever to bring you live commentary if you can’t make the game and the usual Twitter updates will bring you all the action.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Attendance||Man of the Match||Captain|
|Sat, 29th Jan, 2022||3:00 pm||Southern League Premier Division Central||2021/22||28||478||Alex Collard||Alex Collard|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Mark Stevens||Paul-Valentin Mihalache||Daniel Jones|
|Hayden Road Sports Ground, Hayden Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HX|