AFC Rushden & Diamonds defeated Thrapston Town 5-1 at Chancery Lane on Saturday afternoon. First-half goals from Alex Deakin, Matt Gearing and Jack Wisniewski were followed in the second half by goals from Alfie Taylor and Lance Allen either side of a consolation goal for the hosts.
With Chris Hope and Ben Morgan unavailable, and the need to get certain players match fit, Diamonds manager Mark Starmer had intended to bring in Aaron King, Deven Ellwood and Joe Merrill to the starting line-up, but Merrill had reported he was not 100% so he started on the bench. Jake Newman and Brad Harris were rested to the bench.
On a springlike afternoon with a large number of Diamonds fans swelling the gate to mean that Chancery Lane was hosting the largest gate in Northamptonshire, the Diamonds quickly settled into their rhythm. With less than 3 minutes on the clock Jack Wisniewski was fouled near the right touchline. Matt Gearing took the kick and Arron Parkinson won the ball in the air, flicking it across to the far post where Alex Deakin was on hand to side-foot the ball home.
Just a minute later the returning Deven Ellwood couldn’t quite connect as he latched onto a long throw that had been flicked on by a defender. Alfie Taylor then shot over as he raced clear, and Ellwood was unfortunate to see a strike deflect wide off a defender.
After 18 minutes the Diamonds got their second with the best goal of the game. Alfie Taylor made a run down the right channel and then cut inside, and although he was challenged the ball ran out towards the right corner of the area, from where Matt Gearing lashed an unstoppable shot the clipped the near post as it flew into the net.
Jack Wisniewski was having an impressive afternoon on his return to Chancery Lane, and after 21 minutes he got the goal his performance deserved. Quick thinking by Jake Gillingwater saw him take a quick throw, launching it 25 yards over the home defence for Jack Wisniewski to run onto and fire home the Diamonds third.
Just before the break Alfie Taylor made another powerful run down the right channel and into the area, this time cutting across towards the penalty spot, but it appeared three Diamonds players got in each other’s way as they tried to get in a shot. This was one of the few chances the Diamonds had wasted during a first half that they had dominated.
Half-Time: Thrapston Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3
The Diamonds had led several games during the season to date by three goals at the break without being able to add to their tally in the second period, and for a while it looked like there may be a repeat. The hosts had their best period of the game just after the interval although their shots were ending up in the spinney behind the goal rather than troubling Quincy Shorunmu.
With the game almost an hour old Jack Wisniewski was unlucky to see a powerful shot rebound off the crossbar as he finished off an excellent Diamonds move that had started with a ball forwards from Deakin that had set Taylor free on the left, and then his ball was worked across to Wisniewski on the right.
Wisniewski then had a shot saved by Burrows as he cut inside from the right after a good ball forwards from Arron Parkinson. Shortly after Lance Allen had joined the action the Diamonds fourth goal came after a powerful run by Matt Gearing saw him set up Alfie Taylor for his 17th goal of the season.
Taylor then made way for Jake Newman, and he might have scored with his first touch as his flick to a Merrill cross was deflected away for a corner.
Alex Deakin was forced to concede a free-kick just outside the area to halt a dangerous Thrapston break with seven minutes left, but Jedd Whiteman’s powerful shot deflected off Joe Merrill and into the net for a consolation goal.
Conceding the goal did seem to give the Diamonds fresh energy, and Lance Allen scored the Diamonds fifth with a sweetly hit shot with the outside of his right foot after a ball forward from Jack Wisniewski, and then Newman saw a header cleared off the line, before the final action was a Gearing shot which was blocked.
With all the Diamonds rivals for promotion also picking up three points, the Diamonds run of nine consecutive wins will need to continue, with each game as important as the next. Potton United are the visitors to the Dog & Duck on Tuesday evening.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Alex Deakin
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. James Burrows
2. Ben Sunderland
3. Danny Wells
4. Callum Noble (Capt)
5. Joe Chubb
6. Dan Pegg
7. Ryan Geoghegan
8. Jedd Whiteman
9. Iain Blaikie
10. Richard Makra
11. Luke Cummins
12. Jordan Cross (for Geoghegan 77)
14. Luke Stevens (for Cummins 75)
15. Nick Fairhurst (for Makra 81)
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Arron Parkinson
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. Aaron King
9. Alfie Taylor (Capt)
10. Deven Ellwood
11. Matt Gearing
12. Jake Newman (for Taylor 78)
13. Ashley Foulger
14. Joe Merrill (for Gillingwater 72)
15. Lance Allen (for Ellwood 68)
16. Brad Harris
Goals: Whiteman (83)
Goals: Deakin (3), Gearing (18), Wisniewski (21), Taylor (71), Allen (85)
Yellow Cards : None
Yellow Cards: None
Referee: Danny OSullivan
Assistants: Piotr Juszczyk, Chris Dance
For match highlights and post-match interviews click here.
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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