Diamonds with 12 trialists on display were held by an energetic Kempston Rovers side in their first pre-season friendly of the new season on Saturday after a 3-3 draw.
Diamonds led 3-0 at half-time after a positive attacking display; trialists scoring the first two goals and Connor Furlong adding the third. Kempston had missed a number of first half chances as the Diamonds defensive trialists struggled but scored three second half goals against a much changed Diamonds side to deservedly draw the game.
Manager Andy Burgess included 6 trialists in the starting line-up alongside Dean Snedker, Ryan Hughes, Jesse Aqubuine, Connor Furlong and Nathan Tshikuna.
The wing back trialists pressed high up the field in the early stages and Diamonds shaded possession and moved the ball well, threatening around the box but not penetrating the area too often. The back three including Ryan Hughes and two trialists were repeatedly exposed as they got used to each other, allowing Kempston to run through on goal a number of times. Poor finishing, the excellent Dean Snedker and some good last ditch challenges denied them a goal.
Connor Furlong and the right wing back were most dangerous along with Nathan Tshikuna and Trialist 10. Furlong stuck well from outside the box and combined with the right wing back to drive into the area to see his close range effort blocked.
The opening goal came on 33 minutes as Trialist 10 in centre midfield combined well with Nathan Tshikuna to strike from 20 yards his shot deflecting over the goalkeeper and in off the bar. A minute later it was 2-0 as the right wing back surged forward and aimed a cross towards Trialist 9 in space only to see it drift over the keeper into the top corner.
It was three on 42 minutes as Connor Furlong started a move which included Nathan Tshikuna and Trialist 10 and 9. It broke down on the edge of the box but the loose ball was collected by Furlong who placed his effort into the far corner.
Half-time: Kempston Rovers 0 Diamonds 3
7 changes were made at half-time with 5 trialists including the keeper and Fraser Corden and Jack Snelus coming on.
Kempston were better in possession at the start of the second half and probed around the box as the new look Diamonds struggled to retain possession. The first goal back was coming but it was an absolute beauty. From 30 yards, after cutting inside, the shot was high and curling and accurate right into the top corner.
Diamonds improved after the hour mark creating a couple of half chances through the left wing back who had stayed on and the new right winger No. 14 who really impressed.
The Kempston youngsters were really impressing as their confidence grew and they grabbed a second with a shot from outside the box which wasn’t the firecrest but found the bottom corner.
The game was in the balance going into the last 10 minutes as both sides pushed but it was Kempston who completed the come back with a scooped effort from just inside the box that bobbled past the keeper into the bottom corner.
Final Score : Kempston Rovers 3 Diamonds 3
An entertaining game that looked over at half-time with Diamonds leading 3-0 but Kempston fought back well to draw the game. Diamonds were better in possession in the first half but 3-0 flattered them a bit with Kempston missing a number of chances. Ironically Diamonds defended better in the 2nd half but were not as good in possession and they conceded 3 times. Andy Burgess will have learned much from this first game with some of the trialists impressing. The centre half who played 90 minutes, the two wingbacks from first half, the goalscoring No. 10 who is a familiar face together with No. 14 2nd half winger. The trialist defenders in the second half also looked good.
Next up is the visit of MK Dons on Tuesday night. Over 200 tickets already sold so a good crowd is expected for an exciting fixture.
Reporters Man of the Match: Connor Furlong
Match Report: Paul Judd
Rolling substitutes used.
Kempston Rovers goals: 55 min, 74 min & 88 min.
Diamonds goals: 33 min (Trialist #10), 35 min (Trialist #2) & 42 min (Connor Furlong)
Diamonds will travel to Kempston on Saturday 2nd July (3:00 pm kick-off) for their opening game of the 2022/23 pre-season schedule.
The fixture is ‘pay on the gate’ and admission prices are as follows:
- £5 adults
- £1 under-18’s
Kempston play at Hillgrounds Stadium, Hillgrounds Road, Kempston, MK42 8SZ and currently play in the Southern League Division One Central (Step 4).
They finished 18th in the 2021/22 season which led to them contesting a one-off play-off match as one of the remaining six third-from-bottom teams against one of the six runners-up from Step 5 that had the fewest points per game (PPG) at the end of the season. After a 2-2 draw after extra-time against Eccleshill United, Kempston emerged victorious 5-4 on penalties to preserve their Step 4 status.
Chris Nunn was officially appointed as their new first-team manager in May. To find out more about the club, visit their website.
Meetings between the clubs
Diamonds and Kempston have faced each other on nine previous occasions (the last three during pre-season), with Diamonds winning all but one of the matches which was drawn.
The full list of results between the two sides have been:
Diamonds 3-0 Kempston (Gearing, Taylor, Koriya) – United Counties League Premier, 28th December 2013
Kempston 1-3 Diamonds (Harris, Morgan, Parkinson) – United Counties League Premier, 15th March 2014
Diamonds 5-1 Kempston (OG, Dunkley, Koriya, Dolman, Lamb-Johnson) – United Counties League Premier, 21st October 2014
Kempston 1-2 Diamonds (Harris x2) – United Counties League Premier, 24th March 2015
Kempston 1-1 Diamonds (Gyasi) – Southern League Division One East, 28th August 2017
Diamonds 3-1 Kempston (Robbins x3) – Southern League Division One East, 26th December 2017
Kempston 0-2 Diamonds (Ward, Diamond) – Harry Robinson Trophy (pre-season friendly), 31st July 2018
Kempston 1-2 Diamonds (Trialist, Lorraine) – pre-season friendly, 22nd August 2020
Kempston 1-7 Diamonds (Smith, Jones x3, Diamond x2, Trialist) – Harry Robinson Trophy (pre-season tournament), 6th July 2021
Can’t make the game?
Our Radio Diamonds team will be providing live commentary as the action unfolds – tune in at mixlr.com/radiodiamondsafc. Listeners will be able to message with their comments and thoughts on 07394 309591.
Match preview: Ollie Mortimer
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Attendance||Man of the Match||Captain|
|Sat, 2nd Jul, 2022||3:00 pm||Pre-Season Friendlies||PSF 2022/23||Pre-Season Friendly||248||Connor Furlong||Jesse Akubuine|
|Hillsground Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire MK42 8SZ|