AFC Rushden & Diamonds undeserved pre season results continued on a balmy Friday night with a 2-1 defeat at Winslow United.
Due to holidays and injuries manager Dean Thomas was forced to start with a somewhat inexperienced and make shift defence which saw Matt Gearing take up the “Andy Peaks” role of centre back. In an otherwise strong line up which included former RDFC academy player Lewis Hallford on the wing Ben Morgan was given the captain’s armband.
Winslow Utd play in the Spartan South Midlands Division 1 which is Step 6 and the opening exchanges were fairly even with neither team able to take command of the game. On 27 minutes, a Lance Allen cross found Jake Reynolds in space on the penalty spot only for his connection to narrowly go over the bar. The left flank was proving a fruitful avenue and on 33 minutes Ben Morgan crossed to Lewis Hallford on the edge of the area and his shot was blasted just over the bar. It wasn’t all Diamonds as just a minute later Ash Foulger had to tip over a vicious long range effort.
Diamonds continued to press the game and efforts from Lewis Hallford and Matt Foster almost provided the opening. The breakthrough came on 38 minutes when the Diamonds midfield stole the ball and Matt Foster played a delightful ball through for both Ben Morgan and Jake Reynolds who had both beaten the offside trap, Ben Morgan coolly chipped the advancing keeper to give Diamonds a deserved 1-0 lead. Just before half time Ben Morgan had the chance to double the lead when Lewis Hallford again pulled back from the left and Ben Morgan repeated the earlier Diamonds efforts of narrowly placing the ball over the bar.
Half Time : Winslow United 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI 1
The second half Diamonds continued to slightly edge the match when on 54 minutes Foster blistering shot was tipped over the bar, Winslow still looked dangerous in attack and forced a good near post save from Ash Foulger. A flurry of substitutions saw Joe Holmes, Omar Ghavami, Moses Olanrewaju and Mason Thomas replace Matt Foster, Jake Reynolds, Ben Morgan and Lance Allen. On 81 minutes Winslow capitalised on only the first mistake of the night from the Diamonds defence as Shrieves burst through to slide the ball under Ash Foulger for the equaliser.
Moses Olanrewaju was proving a real handful on the left wing and following a jinking run into the box and beating 3 men he squared the ball to Omar Ghavami, his well placed shot was brilliantly saved by the Winslow keeper. On 87 minutes the Winslow striker Shrieves received the ball 40 yards from goal, turned and hit a thunderous drive into the net past Ash Foulger to take a slightly undeserved lead.
Full Time : Winslow United 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
A very harsh scoreline on AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI, again the team would come away thinking they had been the better team for large parts of the game, a great workout and some great individual performances against a very decent Step 6 side.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds : Ash Foulger, Jack Rowe, Kieran Walsh, Matt Gearing, Luke Fathers, Lewis Hallford, Louis Smith, Matt Foster, Lance Allen, Jake Reynolds, Ben Morgan (c)
Subs : Joe Holmes, Omar Ghavami, Moses Olanrewaju, Mason Thomas
Goals : 38 minutes : Ben Morgan (38) 0-1, Vinny Shrieves (82) 1-1, Vinny Shrieves (87) 2-1
Attendance : 60