Rushden & Diamonds 1 Long Buckby 2

 

A second half goal by Russell Dunkley gave Long Buckby a deserved win over Rushden & Diamonds in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup Semi-Final.

On a cold Northamptonshire evening, the Diamonds started with a strong attacking line-up including Daryl Clare, Simon Brown and Sam Smith, as well as Leo Roget making his return at the back alongside debutant Jack Higgins. Marcus Kelly was playing in central midfield alongside Luke Boden, leaving Brown in a wide role along with Jamie McGuinness.

The visitors took a deserved lead mid-way through the first half, courtesy of a Jon Crockett header following a Craig Kelly free-kick.

The visitors had missed several other good chances during the first half, with Crockett also going close with a header shortly before he scored, and Ben Foster failing to convert a clear chance when set up by Ryan Nash, as he jinked past two defenders but then shot straight at Day. The Diamonds also saw two great chances fall to Simon Brown, who clipped both attempts wide of the right hand post. Jamie McGuinness also came close with a run and shot that was tipped over by Farhad Afandiyev. Daryl Clare was also guilty of a couple of misses when he shot straight at the visiting keeper. He did see one audacious chip from the corner of the box fly just over the angle of post and bar.

Foster almost gave the visitors a two goal lead on the half-hour when he sprang a tentative offside trap and hit a shot towards the far corner, but Day did well to deflect it wide with an outstretched foot. Just as the Diamonds looked to be going into the break with a one goal deficit a super strike from Daryl Clare from over 20 yards levelled the scores.

Half Time : Rushden & Diamonds 1 Long Buckby 1

The second half started with more Diamonds pressure, but it was the visitors that took the lead on 55 minutes as a excellent run and cross by Ben Foster set up Russell Dunkley to knock home the winner.

Foster had gone close a few minutes earlier as he was allowed to turn and shoot in the box. At the other end Jamie McGuinness had a shot gathered at the second attempt by Afandiyev, and Marcus Kelly almost set up George Cox with a defence splitting pass through the middle, but the substitute could not quite stretch to reach it.

The visitors had a couple of chances to increase their lead as the Diamonds struggled to create chances on a frosty evening at Nene Park, with Foster beating the offside trap again, cutting inside to shoot wide.

At the other end the nearest the Diamonds came in normal time was from a Leo Roget shot which was well saved.

As the game moved into injury time the Diamonds won a free kick which Nabil Shariff headed against the bar, and although Sam Smith netted from the resultant corner, the whistle had already gone for an infringement.

The defeat was the first for the Diamonds in the competition since their return to the Conference, having won the competition for the previous two seasons. The result thus makes the performances in the forthcoming cup and league games even more important in the search for silverware this season.

Full Time : Rushden & Diamonds 1 Long Buckby 2

Teams :-

Rushden & Diamonds :- Joe Day, Joe Wilcox, Aynsley McDonald, Leo Roget, Jack Higgins, Luke Boden, Marcus Kelly, Jamie McGuinness, Sam Smith, Daryl Clare (Capt), Simon Brown

Subs : George Cox (for Boden HT), Lewis Hallford (for Brown 61), Nabil Shariff (for Clare 62),

Subs Not Used : John Wigglesworth, Adam Sharpe

Long Buckby : Farhad Afandiyev, Matthew Green, Craig Kelly, Mark Hewitt, Dan Chilton, Jon Crockett, Ryan Nash, Richard Bunting (Capt), Russell Dunkley, Ben Foster, Lee Botterill

Subs :Lacoh Chimponda (for Botterill 74)

Subs Not Used : Dan Renshaw, Joe Mwanburi, Andy Peaks, Paul Wornock

Match Attendance : 155

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