Thurnby Nirvana 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1


AFC Rushden & Diamonds were beaten for just the second time in the league this season after Saturday’s afternoon 2-1 defeat at Thurnby Nirvana.

Having lost at Boston on the same weekend last year Diamonds knew this would be one of their toughest away trips against free scoring Thurnby whose last two home games were a 7-3 win and a 3-3 draw. After a pair of chances for each side in the opening stages – Lorraine and Turner for Diamonds from close range, and Mwanyongo and Canavan for the home side – the first half lacked quality in the final third despite plenty of promising play by both sides and finished goal less. Diamonds looked a little more dangerous in the second half and took a deserved lead on 56 minutes through Richard Bunting low half volley from the edge of the box. Thurnby were always dangerous particularly out wide but their threat looked to have been held off when they were awarded a penalty on 83 minutes which Ashley Day cheekily converted. They then shocked their high flying visitors with a simple winning goal on 89 as a ball over the top was slid under keeper Finlay by substitute Patrocinio to win the game.

Manager Andy Peaks was forced into two changes to his line-up with Brad Harris coming back into the side for the suspended Adam Confue, and Fazel Koriya replacing injured Matt Gearing. Jack Ashton came back onto the bench with Liam McInally and Danny Harmon.

Diamonds started brightly on a chilly afternoon with Tom Lorraine having a great chance for the early goal that so helps on away trips like this. A defensive slip in just the second minute left him through on goal coming in from the angle after he flicked the ball past the last defender but his shot from just 8 yards was blocked by Thurnby keeper James Flinders.

On 8 minutes Elliott Lamb-Johnson went on a great run down the right hand side, cut into the box and hit a low ball to the near post that Jason Turner was just unable to turn goal wards from 5 yards out.

Thurnby were proving to be an excellent passing side with real penetrating runners down each wing causing both Diamonds fullbacks problems. On 10 minutes Ashley Day turned Charlie Butt inside out down the left hand side and squared for Jouel Potter in space 15 yards whose shot on the turn was saved by Matt Finlay, the rebound falling to Pearson Mwanyongo who blasted over when well placed.

Just a minute later leading scorer Liam Canavan had a free header from a corner that Matt Finlay again saved well.

This burst of chances were not repeated for the rest of the half with both sides unable to turn promising positions into genuine chances. Richard Bunting had a volley from the edge of the box for Diamonds saved at the second attempt by keeper James Flinders and Liam Canavan blasted well over twice from good shooting positions for Thurnby.

The best chance fell to Tom Lorraine who got to Sam Brown’s high cross before Flinders, flicked the ball over him only to see O’Neill Brooks clear from near the line.

Half-time: Thurnby Nirvana 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

After a bright start to the second half by Thurnby which saw the impressive Canavan again blast over after working some good space just outside the box, and then get in down left hand side of the box jink between defenders and see his firm low cross saved by Finlay, it was Diamonds who took the lead.

On 56 minutes Elliott Lamb-Johnson broke down the right after a great work in the middle of the field by Tom Lorraine. His low cross was half-blocked on the near post, and then pushed into the path of Richard Bunting who struck a low half-volley from just inside the box past keep Flinders.

With the vital first goal in the bag Diamonds looked to be in control and although Thurnby were always dangerous breaking forward it looked like they would see off the threat. UCL top scorer Canavan was always a threat, clever in possession and working space for his colleagues. He came very close on 65 minutes when having a shooting chance from just 8 yards out which the brilliant Finlay touched just wide.

Then on 69 his free-kick from 30 yards was again just touched wide by Finlay.

Diamonds were themselves dangerous on the break but unable to fashion the killer chance and it was more trickery from Canavan on 83 minutes that pulled Thurnby level. Again inside the box on the left-hand side he pulled the ball back into the path of Reece Morris who was bundled over by a challenge from Charlie Butt and referee Wayne Chalmers pointed straight to the spot. Ashley Day stepped up and dinked the ball straight down the middle as Finlay dived for a cheeky finish.

Both sides pressed for a late winner with second half substitute Scott Joseph firing in a shot from the edge of the box, and Matt Finlay making another good save from Morris.

It looked like a well-earned draw for both sides before a very simple ball over the top from a quickly taken free-kick caught the Diamonds defence out, allowing second half substitute Celson Patrocinio to run in on goal and slide the ball under Finlay for a last gasp winner.

Final Score: Thurnby Nirvana 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1

It was only Diamonds 2nd defeat of the season but it felt no less disappointing than the defeat at Boston last season at the same time. They created enough chances to have won the game without really clicking in the final third, but Thurnby will feel the same and a draw would have been a fair result before that last minute sucker punch.

Next up the festive double header at the Dog & Duck against Wellingborough Town.

Man of the Match: Matt Finlay

Attendance: 185

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Thurnby Nirvana

17. Matt Finlay

2.   Charlie Butt

3.   Sam Brown

4.   Brad Harris

5.   Liam Dolman

6.   Aaron Parkinson

7.   Elliott Lamb-Johnson

8.   Richard Bunting

9.   Tom Lorraine

10. Jason Turner

11. Fazel Koriya


12. Jack Ashton (for Bunting 86)

13. Rhys Redding

14. Danny Harmon (for Lamb-Johnson 80)

15. Scott Joseph (for Lorraine 80)

16. Liam McInally

1.   James Flinders

2.   Shaun Phillips

3.   Shaquille O’Neill Brooks

4.   Luke Day

5.   Alex Biggs

6.   Eddy Samba

7.   Pearson Mwanyongo

8.   Liam Canavan

9.   Jouel Potter

10. Reece Morris

11. Ashley Day


12. Jaudach Taylor

14. William Gonga (for Biggs 79)

15. Sean Doy (for Canavan 87)

16. Celson Patricinio (for Potter 60)

17. Alpher Kallon

Goals: Bunting (56)

Goals: Day (83), Patricinio (89)

Yellow Cards: Lanb-Johnson, Turner

Yellow Cards: Canavan, Samba

Red Cards:

Red Cards:

Referee: Wayne Chalmers

Assistants: Christopher Watkins, Oliver Mackey



Updated player profiles with appearance and goalscoring details are now available.
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AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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