Wellingborough Town 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 AET
(Wellingborough Town won 4-3 on pens)
Despite a greatly improved performance over the previous weekend, Diamonds still lacked that killer instinct in front of goal as they lost this 1st Round League Cup tie in a penalty shoot-out. They went in front twice through Jake Newman, and again from Ben Morgan but were pegged back as Wellingborough Town took the tie in to extra-time and penalties, with the Doughboys holding their nerve to win 4-3 on spot kicks.
Manager Mark Starmer was without the ever-present Joe Merrill who was unavailable for the game, with Jake Gillingwater returning to the side in a full-back role. One other change from the side which lost at Eynesbury saw Jamie Gilsenan drop to the bench and George Cox promoted into midfield. Wellingborough boss Phil Mason made three changes to his side which had lost 8-1 at Huntingdon in midweek.
Diamonds got off to the perfect start with the first attack producing a goal after just two minutes when George Cox set Jake Gillingwater away on the right. His firmly hit cross was initially blocked by Botterill, but fell perfectly for Jake Newman to blast the ball into the roof of the net.
Wellingborough were unable to get out of first gear, but got a lucky break on 12 minutes when Jon Tite was adjudged to have been fouled by Gillingwater some ten yards outside the box. Diamonds failed to clear Wes Emery’s free kick to the far post, and defender Joe Rich was on hand to knock the ball in.
Diamonds looked more likely to score as the half progressed and they did just that on 27 minutes. As they moved the ball forward, Sam Brown managed to hold off a challenge from Ben Ekins, and thread the ball through to Ben Morgan who fired in from 15 yards.
As the half drew to a close, Jack Wisniewski tried an effort from a tight angle, forcing a save from Dan Wallis while Brown and Morgan combined well during another attack, but failed to find the target. A poor tackle by Ellwood on Emery on 45 minutes saw him receive a yellow card, with Emery also going into the book for dissent.
Half-Time: Wellingborough Town 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2
Wellingborough looked a little more dangerous at the start of the second half and they leveled again on 58 minutes when a corner kick from Emery was only half cleared and fell to Stefan Gatting, who fired in from the edge of the area.
Midway through the half, Diamonds started to dominate possession again with Wellingborough under pressure. Sean McBride’s long ball through to Newman saw the strikers shot tipped onto the bar but it was brought back for a narrow offside decision. Cox and McBride both received yellow cards in the space of a couple of minutes, together with Town’s Joe Rich as the game became more physical.
With four minutes remaining, Diamonds thought they had scored the winning goal as Gillingwater’s corner was headed home by Alex Deakin, but the referee disallowed it for pushing. Wisniewski also had a shot blocked just before the end, but the score remained level at 90 minutes.
Full-Time: Wellingborough Town 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2
As with the previous 90 minutes, it was Diamonds who had the better chances in extra time but they failed to convert these into goals. In the first period, Gillingwater fired over and Wisniewski’s shot was tipped around the post by the keeper as Wellingborough failed to test Shorunmu. The second period saw Morgan shoot at the keeper, but the best chance came on 116 minutes as McBride and Gilsenan combined to set up Wisniewski. Despite being brought down in the area as he raced towards goal, the referee gave nothing and waved away the penalty appeals.
After Extra-Time: Wellingborough Town 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2
So the game was decided on penalties in front of the De Banke Terrace. Chris Hope took the first and struck the crossbar to give Wellingborough the advantage, as the next four all went in with Gilsenan and Wisniewski on target for Diamonds. There was hope after Chris Difante’s shot was saved by Quincy Shorunmu, but Louis Smith also had his effort saved to give the advantage back to the Doughboys. Although Morgan scored his, Town’s last two penalties were also on target, with keeper Dan Wallis’ final penalty kick securing the win for Wellingborough. They progress to take on Thrapston Town in the next round.
Diamonds Man-of-the-Match: Sean McBride
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
1. Danny Wallis
2. Michael Boyle-Chong (Capt)
3. Jon Tite
4. Joe Rich
5. Ben Ekins
6. Steve Botterill
7. Stefan Gatting
8. Wes Emery
9. Glen Hawkins
10. Chris Difante
11. Nathan Heycock
12. Jordan Pendered
14. Ryan Gormley (for Gatting (112)
15. Pawel Aurcadniczek
16. Ryan Cherry (for Botterill 46)
17. Quincy Shorunmu
2. Jake Gillingwater
3. Sam Brown
4. Séan McBride
5. Chris Hope (Capt)
6. Alex Deakin
7. Jack Wisniewski
8. George Cox
9. Jake Newman
10. Deven Ellwood
11. Ben Morgan
12. Jamie Gilsenan (for Cox 90+1)
13. Domenico Roggero
15. Louis Smith (for Ellwood 105)
16. Alex McDonald (for McBride 118)
Goals: Rich (12), Gatting (58)
Pens: Emery, Boyle-Chong, Gormley, Wallis
Goals: Newman (2), Morgan (27)
Pens: Gilsenan, Wisniewski, Morgan.
(Hope & Smith missed)
Yellow Card: Emery, Rich.
Yellow Card: Ellwood, Cox, McBride.
Referee: Karl Yesek
Assistants: David Brunton, Mark Morton
Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography
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