An AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI shared the spoils with Winslow United at Elmfields Gate on Tuesday evening. Mark Walsh took charge of the team, with the game being played on the same evening as a game at Long Buckby, and with a strategy to ensure that as many of the fit / available members of the first team squad as possible had significant game time in one of the fixtures.
United play in Division 1 of the Spartan South Midlands League, and Mark Walsh chose a team to face then with five members of the first team squad on duty, plus a couple of triallists in the side that lined up in what Mark described as a 6-4-0 formation.
With triallist Michael Patterson in goal, Jamie O’Grady started at right back, with Jake Gillingwater and Alex McDonald the centre back pairing, and Zach Farden completing the back four. The midfield six then featured George Cox, Louis Smith and Troy Johnston as well as a triallist and two U18 players.
Jake Gillingwater has a well established reputation for scoring goals which began during his youth team days at Nene Park, and he was able to capitalise on a loose ball following a corner by finding space to strike the ball home with 27 minutes on the clock.
In an even first half, with Winslow creating more chances with direct balls taking advantage of the Diamonds full backs playing very high up the pitch, the hosts equalised after 39 minutes.
Half Time: Winslow United 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI 1
The Diamonds had the better of the second period, dominating play with good passing combinations and movement, and they retook the lead after 56 minutes when Omar Ghavami broke down the right and cross for Jake Reynolds to head into the top corner.
However, Winslow were not beaten and were able to quickly force in an equaliser three minutes later, and despite late Diamonds pressure the score remained 2-2.
Full Time: Winslow United 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI 2
AFC R&D team: Michael Patterson, Jamie O’Grady, Jake Gillingwater, Alex McDonald, Zach Farden, Savvas Hamp, Steve Blood, George Cox, Troy Johnston, Luke Fathers, Louis Smith. Subs: Omar Ghavami for Fathers (HT), Jake Reynolds for Savvas (HT), Ben Clarke for Patterson (61), Luke Fathers for Johnston (61), Savvas Hamp for Blood (61) (both Fathers and Hamp were returning to the field).
AFC R&D goals: Gillingwater (27), Reynolds (56).