Diamonds were twice pegged back by third-placed Coalville in a thrilling clash on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors got off to the perfect start inside five minutes when Jordan Graham volleyed home a Connor Furlong cross, but the lead only lasted a minute as Thomas McGlinchey converted a cross from the left despite looking in an offside position. The frenetic start continued as Rushden re-assumed their lead moments later when Jordan Graham used his strength and turned well in the box before his deflected strike looped up and over into the corner of the net. Chances continued as Nathan Tshikuna dipped a free-kick just over, and the hosts were denied by a header off the post and several strong Dean Snedker saves.
After Diamonds had gone close at the start of the second half through Furlong, Coalville equalised in controversial circumstances. A corner was flicked on for defender Chris Robertson to turn in at the far post and, though the offside flag was initially raised, the goal was then awarded following consultation between the ref and linesman. Either side could have won it as Snedker made more crucial saves to deny Tyrell Waite and Luke Shaw, and Tshikuna went close on a few occasions down the other end, but a draw was a fair result in the end.
Full match report to follow…
Diamonds are on their travels on Saturday as they head to Leicestershire and the home of Coalville. Just 4 games remain in what has been a long, at times surprising season but 5th place Diamonds will take on 3rd place Coalville with a degree of confidence.
Diamonds have drawn 3 of the last 4 but maintained their play-off momentum with away wins at Lowestoft and Redditch in the last 6, scoring 3 each time. The only defeat in the last 6 was at Peterborough Sports when a 2-1 reverse didn’t really do credit to Diamonds’ performance.
Coalville have been in the top 3 since game 7 of the season and have guaranteed their play-off place as Banbury United have been confirmed as Champions.
They have a fantastic home record, dropping just four points with a pair of draws before a recent home blip. Their defeat at home to Royston 3-2 on Tuesday night followed a 0-0 draw at home to Hednesford and another 3-2 home defeat to Lowestoft, their first home defeat of the season.
The form guide shows the two sides very even over the last 10 games with 5 wins each and Diamonds one more draw and one less defeat. Diamonds won the reverse fixture in exciting fashion with a last gap 2-1 win. They then got well beaten in the FA Cup so Saturday will be the third contest of the season.
Diamonds have a 5 point gap over the only team who could realistically deny them a play-off spot with 4 games remaining. Alvechurch won at local rivals Stourbridge last week and make the short trip to Hednesford this week and will not be expecting Diamonds to take anything from hard-to-beat Coalville.
We know how focused this team is though under Andy Burgess and they are scoring more goals recently so will travel with expectation. The defence will be stretched without Alex Collard but we have some exciting young talent in that area that will be desperate to shine.
Radio Diamonds will be in action as ever and if you’ve never listened tomorrow could be a great place to start. Knowledge, humour and undoubted enthusiasm make it a great listen.
We’re looking forward to what should be a cracking game and hope you will join us.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Attendance||Man of the Match||Captain|
|Sat, 9th Apr, 2022||3:00 pm||Southern League Premier Division Central||2021/22||37||491||Jordan Graham||Fernando Bell-Toxtle|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Ben Cooke||Matthew Broadhurst||Ian Croston|
|Owen Street Sports Ground|
|Owen Street, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3DE|