AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Tamworth played out a pulsating game of football which ended all square at Hayden Road. Lauric Diakiesse and Shane Bush scored goals in quick succession as Diamonds raced into a two-goal lead but Andy Peaks’ Tamworth fought back and forced them to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Andy Burgess made two changes to the side which were defeated at Peterborough Sports in midweek. Liam Dolman replaced the injured Ryan Hughes and Lauric Diakiesse came in to make his first start for the club ahead of Connor Furlong.
Diamonds have occasionally changed their shape during matches but for the first time this season, Rushden deviated from their conventional 4-2-3-1 and lined up in a different formation.
Dean Snedker remained in between the sticks. Patrick Casey and Sam Warburton were deployed as full backs with Liam Dolman and Alex Collard marshalling the centre of defence. Ben Diamond partnered Fernando Bell-Toxtle in midfield with AJ George and Nathan Tshikuna off the wings and Lauric Diakiesse up front alongside Shane Bush.
Proceedings got underway at a high tempo with both sides scrapping for possession and looking for entries into their opponent’s final third. The first major opportunity came from a Tamworth set-piece as Jordan Clement’s curling free kick was expertly tipped away by Snedker at full stretch.
Diamonds began to carve out some presentable chances as the half developed. Dolman and Bush had close range efforts blocked and Warburton saw his half-volley flash over the top of the bar.
Burgess’ side continued to turn the screw and their efforts were soon rewarded with the opening goal. Warburton fired a low cross into the box and Tamworth failed to clear their lines which allowed Lauric Diakiesse to pounce and fire an excellent sweeping shot beyond Jasbir Singh for his first Diamonds goal.
It did not take long for Diamonds to harness that momentum and double their advantage. Diamond headed the ball back into the area, following a Tamworth clearance, and Shane Bush spun in behind to dink the ball past Singh into the net – yet another player to register his first Rushden goal.
Tamworth regrouped and responded well to the quickfire goals – so well that they managed to pull one back before the break. Dexter Walters broke clear of the defence, Snedker denied the initial opportunity with a save but James Hurst was first to react and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
Half Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 Tamworth FC
Both sets of supporters were treated to an exhilarating first half of football at Hayden Road but there is no doubt that Tamworth planted a seed of doubt in the minds of the Diamonds fans when they halved the deficit. Andy Burgess would have been happy to see his side come in with the lead but he would have been aware of the threat that the Lambs were set to offer with the wind now firmly in their sails.
Tamworth controlled the possession to begin the second period and they managed to turn their pressure into an equalising goal. Dexter Walters displayed his trickery on the wing before delivering a cross into the box which ricocheted off the unfortunate Liam Dolman and into the corner of the net (goal awarded to Jordaan Brown).
The Lambs had found their rhythm as they searched for a third goal. McKeown, fresh from the substitutes bench, saw his effort cleared off the line with Clement bending a delicious effort marginally wide of the far post.
Diamonds grew back into the game and started to apply pressure of their own. Collard steamed in at the back post to head Furlong’s corner wide and Warburton struck a fierce free kick which stung the gloves of Singh.
The hosts kept up the pressure and created the most notable chance of the closing stages. Bush latched onto Tshikuna’s whipped cross but struggled to direct his header on target.
Full Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-2 Tamworth FC
Andy Burgess and his players will be frustrated to have squandered a two-goal lead, but amidst the sub-plot of Andy Peaks returning to Hayden Road and a frantic second half with plentiful chances for both sides, Diamonds will be content to take the point and move onto the next assignment.
Rushden will travel to the Trico Stadium next weekend to face a Redditch United side who will provide a stern test having lost only one of their last ten matches. The fixture will also take place on the annual Non-League Day so Diamonds supporters are encouraged to take advantage of the special discounts on entry prices and drinks.
Match Report: Joseph McCormack
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Attendance||Man of the Match||Captain|
|Sat, 19th Mar, 2022||3:00 pm||Southern League Premier Division Central||2021/22||34||528||Fernando Bell-Toxtle||Alex Collard|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Joshua Crofts||Harry Organ||Scott Postin|
|Hayden Road Sports Ground, Hayden Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HX|