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Match Report

Diamonds went down 4-0 to a very good MK Dons side on Tuesday night in the latest pre-season friendly.

League One MK Dons scored twice in each half with Josh McEachran converting a 23rd minute penalty and Dan Kemp finishing in style on 38 minutes. Connor Furlong got in behind MK Dons a number of times and Patrick Casey came close to a connecting with a right wing corner in Diamonds best first half moments.

Nathan Tshikuna hit a fierce 30-yard free-kick as Diamonds improved as an attacking force early in the second half and was through one-on-one on 60 minutes only to be denied by the keeper. Just 5 minutes later MK Dons added their third with a superb Nathan Holland strike and they dominated the last 20 minutes but only had Ethan Robson’s excellent 89th minute strike to show for it.

Andy Burgess had three trialists in his starting line-up with two named previous trialists Evan and Courtney Lashley and they were alongside Dean Snedker, Patrick Casey, Connor Furlong, Jesse Akubuine, Nathan Tshikuna and Jack Snelus.

A fantastic crowd of 862 gave a real buzz around the ground and they saw a competitive start to the game. MK Dons moved the ball well and probed the Diamonds well organised defence without breaking through and Diamonds getting forward in wide areas with Connor Furlong prominent.

Both sides had good chances from corners with MK Dons head a knock-back just wide from 10 yards and Patrick Casey coming really close to connecting with a right wing corner from a similar distance.

MK Dons gradually started to boss possession and were denied deep into the box a couple of times before being awarded a 23rd minute penalty. A winger cutting inside from the right was tripped on the edge of the box and Josh McEachran converted coolly.

They then wasted a good opportunity from the edge of the box to double the lead on the half-hour before Diamonds threatened through Connor Furlong down the right whose cross was punched away and Courtney Lashley who ran superbly from half way where he was jostled all the way but managed to wriggle past his man and see his cut-back blocked away for a corner.

MK Dons got the second on 38 minutes with Dan Kemp surging forward skipping in and out of tackles deep into the box and striking superbly over Dean Snedker into the top corner.

Half-time: Diamonds 0 MK Dons 2

A few changes were made at half-time and with a new striker and a very solid looking midfield trialist introduced along with Ryan Hughes slotting into the back four.

Diamonds started the period brightly and really threatened MK Dons earning a free-kick on 55 minutes that Nathan Tshikuna struck well but just over the bar at The Peter De Banke end. Nathan Hicks (confirmed as one of the trialists) was combining well with Tshikuna and tried to get him through on goal a couple of times before succeeding on 60 minutes. Tshikuna clean through went deep into the box and tried to round the keeper rather than shoot and the keeper managed to block it away.

2 minutes later and MK Dons made it three. Another excellent passing move. The ball was finally laid off on the edge of the box for Nathan Holland to sweep the ball superbly across Dean Snedker into the far corner.

MK Dons then put in a series of excellent moves that had Diamonds working extremely hard to keep the score down. They missed with a point blank header flashing just wide, saw Ryan Hughes cut-out a dangerous cut-back and flashed a dangerous effort just wide when well placed.

Diamonds were still a threat on the break with Connor Furlong wriggling past his man inside the box and seeing his effort from an angle blocked by the keeper and Courtney Lashley again getting away from some rough handling to get to the by-line where his cross just evaded Connor Furlong at the back post.

MK Dons managed a 4th goal on 89 minutes as Ethan Robson struck superbly from inside the box at the end of another devastating move and they should have added a 5th in added on time as Matt Dennis lashed over from just 15 yards.

Full-time: Diamonds 0 MK Dons 4

It was a great atmosphere at Hayden Road and really competitive game that both managers would have wanted. MK Dons superior passing and movement and clinical finishing deservedly won the game but Diamonds who worked really hard defensively deserved a goal from the chances they created.

The trialists pretty much all showed promise including the defensive ones who were under most pressure and will give Andy Burgess food for thought. The stronger looking midfielder and striker in the second half also looked promising and the named former trialists Courtney Lashley and Evan along with Nathan Hicks all looked like contendors for Andy Burgess squad.

Next up a visit to Stamford AFC on Saturday afternoon.

Reporter’s Man of the Match: Connor Furlong

Attendance: 862 (with c.140 tuning in to Radio Diamonds)

Match Report: Paul Judd


Diamonds welcome MK Dons to Hayden Road on Tuesday 5th July (7:30 pm kick-off) for their first home game of the 2022/23 pre-season schedule.

Admission prices are as follows:

Adults: £9

Concessions: £6

Under-18s: £2

Tickets can be purchased in advance here or you can pay by cash or card at the turnstiles.

Our visitors

They play at the MK Arena and currently ply their trade in the Sky Bet League One. The Dons finished 3rd in the 2021/22 season, only one point off an automatic promotion spot, but were defeated 2-1 on aggregate by Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals.

Their head coach is Liam Manning. To find out more about the club, visit their website.

Last time out

Diamonds played their opening match of pre-season on Saturday which resulted in an entertaining 3-3 draw at Kempston Rovers. They raced into a 3-0 lead at half-time following goals by two trialists and Connor Furlong, but the Step 4 hosts hit back in the second half to equalise in the closing stages.

Click here for manager Andy Burgess’ reaction.

Can’t make the game?

Our Radio Diamonds team will be providing live commentary as the action unfolds – tune in at Listeners will be able to message with their comments and thoughts on 07394 309591.

We will also doing live updates on our Twitter account at Highlights and interviews will be available after the game at

Match preview: Ollie Mortimer




Date Time League Season Match Day Attendance Man of the Match Captain
Tue, 5th Jul, 2022 7:30 pm Pre-Season Friendlies PSF 2022/23 Pre-Season Friendly 862 Connor Furlong Patrick Casey


Club1st Half2nd HalfFull Time Score
The Diamonds000
MK Dons224


The Diamonds

13Dean Snedker Goalkeeper
3Courtney Lashley Defender
5Evangelos-Nikalaos Empochontsif Defender
6Patrick Casey Defender
7Connor Furlong Midfielder
8Jesse Akubuine Midfielder
10Nathan Tshikuna Midfielder
11Jack Snelus Forward
12Ryan Hughes Defender
17Charlie Nixon Goalkeeper

Manager: Andy Burgess

MK Dons

1Franco Ravizzoli Goalkeeper
2Tennai Watson Defender
4Jack Davies Defender
5Warren O’Hora Defender
6Josh McEachran Midfielder 23'
7Dan Kemp Midfielder 38'
8Callum Tripp Midfielder
9Tommy Blennerhassett Forward
10Conor Grant Midfielder
11Lewis Johnson Forward
17Charlie Waller Defender
1Ronnie Sandford Goalkeeper
2Edward Gyamfi Midfielder
4Zak Jules Defender
5Jack Tucker Defender
6Ethan Robson Midfielder 89'
7Matt Smith Midfielder
8Darragh Burns Forward
9Matthew Dennis Forward
10Joel Anker Midfielder
11Nathan Holland Forward 65'
12Brooklyn Ilunga Forward

Head Coach: Liam Manning
Assistant Head Coach: Chris Hogg


Hayden Road
Hayden Road Sports Ground, Hayden Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HX

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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