Rushden & Diamonds 1 Rothwell Corinthians 0


Rushden & Diamonds beat Rothwell Corinthians by a single Lee Phillips goal in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup Quarter Final.

Despite having much of the play, the Diamonds had only a single goal to show for their territorial domination in a game which featured the Diamonds debuts for Joe Wilcox and Nabil Shariff.

The Diamonds had many chances, but a combination of good goalkeeping from Man-of-the-Match Tom Cross, and poor finishing, kept the scoreline down to the single goal.

The Diamonds were led by a management team of Chris Hope and Justin Edinburgh, and the duo selected Joe Wilcox for his Diamonds debut, after the loanee missed out on Saturday’s game. Wilcox played at right back in a back four alongside erstwhile full backs Michael Corcoran and Clayton Fortune who were at Centre Back. Aynsley McDonald filled the left back role behind Lee Tomlin. In centre midfield were Jake Beecroft and Luke Boden, with Jake McGuinness on the right. Up front were Lee Phillips and Sam Smith.


The visitors lined up with a packed defence, and as a result the majority of the first half was played in their half.

The best chance of the half fell to Lee Phillips on 39 minutes, as a deft through-ball from the impressive Luke Boden saw him break into space with only keeper Cross to beat, but the striker hit his shot directly at the keeper, who was able to scramble the ball away with his legs. The loose ball fell to Lee Tomlin on the corner of the area, but he blazed a shot high into the Airwair stand.

Earlier opportunities had fallen to Boden, who headed wide from a McGuinnes corner, Tomlin who shot wide from a Boden pass, McGuinness whose cross / shot hit the top of the net, and Sam Smith, who was given time in the area to beat two men and then hit a shot too close to the keeper – although he almost prodded home the rebound. Phillips had a second excellent chance after McGuinness found Joe Wilcox from a short corner, and his cross found the head of Phillips, but the header was well saved low down by Tom Cross who was having an excellent evening.

Smith and Phillips also combined as Smith made a run at the defence, and as he was faced with five defenders he squared to Phillips whose shot from 25 yards was easily saved by Cross low to his right.

Half-time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Rothwell Corinthians 0

After being untroubled in the first half, there was an early scare for the Diamonds defence early in the second half. The visitors won a corner as White forced Wilcox into an error, and Ben Johnson saw his corner strike the near post and away to safety.

Joe Wilcox was being given time to make runs down the right, and although much of the time the end product was lacking, he did find Lee Phillips at the near post with a low cross, and the striker’s flick was only narrowly wide of the post.

Much of the Diamonds threat was coming down the right, as McGuinness also hit a telling cross that Lee Phillips met perfectly and looked certain to score before Cross threw himself across goal to make an excellent save. It looked like Lee Tomlin might have a simple chance to slot in the rebound, but good defending also ensured his attempt was blocked.

The Diamonds made their first change by replacing Luke Boden with Lewis Hilliard, clearly a move with the weekend game against Kidderminster in mind. The pattern continued with a Smith shot also bringing out a great save from Cross, and then the Keeper did well to dive at the feet of Hilliard as he broke into the area.


Finally the pressure from the Diamonds told in the 75th minute, as good work from Sam Smith saw him square a ball back across the box onto the head of Lee Phillips who made no mistake with his header, and showed his relief in the goal celebration that the deadlock had been broken.


The second Diamonds substitution saw Nabil Shariff make his Diamonds debut as he replaced Lee Phillips, and the young striker made an immediate impression on the game, with two good runs, and then narrowly failing to connect with a dangerous diagonal ball into the box from Michael Corcoran, and then netting after an excellent shot from Sam Smith had hit the bar, but he was penalised for pushing.

There was still time for more excellent work by Cross in the visitors goal, saving after a Shariff run with several step-overs saw him hit a hard low cross into the box which spiralled off a defender as Smith challenged, and Cross was able to palm onto the bar.

Although the game wasn’t safe, the Diamonds approach had remained positive, with both Fortune and Corcoran getting forwards and being happy to leave McDonald and Wilcox to cover. There were a couple of scares for Joe Day towards the end, most notably when Jonny Bewers had a shot deflected for a corner, and when a tiring Tony Ielapi couldn’t quite get an outstretched leg to connect with a long through ball as he found space between the Diamonds central defenders.

With local rivals Kettering Town being soundly beaten by Daventry Town, there in no longer the prospect of a Diamonds v Poppies clash in the next round. Details of the draw and dates for the next round will be published on as soon as they are available.

The next first team game is against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.

Full-time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Rothwell Corinthians 0


Rushden & Diamonds (White) : Joe Day, Joe Wilcox, Aynsley McDonald, Michael Corcoran (Capt), Luke Boden, Clayton Fortune, Jamie McGuinness, Jake Beecroft, Lee Phillips, Sam Smith, Lee Tomlin

Subs : Lewis Hilliard (for Boden 62), Nabil Shariff (for Phillips 77)

Subs Not Used : Jack Higgins, Lewis Hallford, George Cox


Rothwell Corinthians (Red) : Tom Cross, Chris Torrence, Byron Brown, Lee Deacon, Chris Dunn, Kevin Fox (Capt), Jonny Bewers, Ben Johnson, Mick Coles, Tony Ielapi, Andy White,

Subs : Neil Woolmer (for Dunn 23), Luke Bewers (for Fox 67), Dave Briffa  (for Coles 78)

Subs Not Used : Matty Coles, Joe Cossey

Goal : Lee Phillips (75)

Yellow Cards: Deacon

Referee: P Martin

Attendance: 160

Diamonds Man of the Match : Luke Boden


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