Hayes & Yeading 1 Rushden & Diamonds 6

The Diamonds returned to winning ways on the road with a convincing win over Hayes. The winning margin equalled the scoreline at Barrow earlier in the season, and the victory was as emphatic.

The Diamonds took the lead early in the game, and were 3-0 up by half time. An own goal from Tom Cadmore was followed by one of Lee Tomlin’s best goals for the club, before Aaron O’Connor made it 3-0 in first-half injury time. Three further goals after the break included a Jamie Stuart header and a brace from substitute Craig Farrell before the home side got a late consolation through Scott Fitzgerald. There was a concerning late injury for Steve Basham, who was taken off with a neck brace as the game entered added time, but he was later given the "all clear".

Justin Edinburgh made two changes from the team that drew with Wrexham in midweek, with Aaron O’Connor replacing Craig Farrell, and Rob Wolleaston being rested in favour of Max Porter.

Garry Haylock made a single change for Hayes and Yeading United with Craig Watkins replacing Ram Marwa.

The first half started with the Diamonds dominant, and the home team unable to get out of their own half as they could not get to grips with the Diamonds 4-3-3 formation, using the pace of skills of Tomlin and O’Connor alongside the aerial domination of Jefferson Louis up front. In midfield the trio of Byrne, Porter and Terry showed the benefits of the understanding they have built up between them, At the back Stuart and Downer were solid, forcing the home side to play long balls that were gathered by Roberts.

In the first minute Jefferson Louis headed an Osano cross narrowly wide, possibly with the help of the Hayes keeper, but a few minutes later the Diamonds opened the scoring as Mark Byrne found Lee Tomlin, whose ball into space allowed Jefferson Louis to run clear down the left channel, although his low cross towards O’Connor looked certain to be cut out, it was Tom Cadmore who diverted it into his own net, with Overland flat-footed.

Hayes finally got some meaningful possession in the Diamonds half after five minutes of play in their own half, but a Watkins shot was well dealt with by Roberts. Jefferson Louis set up Lee Tomlin for an attempt that was blocked, and then Mark Byrne saw a header go over the bar as the Diamonds domination continued.

After 19 minutes the Diamonds got a deserved second goal – and what a goal it was !  Lee Tomlin picked up the ball on the right, and dribbled past both Green and Ruby in a crossfield run, before a challenge flicked the ball wide to Mark Byrne, who chested it back to Tomlin, who hit a first time lob over Overland and into the far side of the goal.

Both Kurt Robinson and Curtis Osano were making dangerous runs forwards, with Robinson rather unlucky to see his shot deflected wide after a Mark Byrne dummy put him in the clear,

Tomlin had a shot blocked from a Louis flick-on, and Paul Terry did well to flick on a Tomlin freekick to Aaron O’Connor who was just offside.

Jefferson Louis almost scored the goal his first half performance more than deserved as he headed an Osano cross past Overland, but Tom Cadmore was covering back to clear. Louis then flicked on a long ball from Roberts perfectly into the path of Aaron O’Connor, who was able to run clear, but his shot was too close to Overland and the keeper smothered the danger.

The Diamonds play was breathtaking at times, with Lee Tomlin revelling in his forwards role. His first touch is as good as players in several leagues higher, and he showed this as he scooped a long crossfield pass from Porter past Adam Green, leaving the defender flailing in his wake, although this time his attempted cross / lob flew harmlessly over the goal.

Curtis Osano picked up a knock as he cut out a rare Hayes attack. While his replacement warmed up he pushed forwards into midfield, with Max Porter dropping back, but despite this he was able to flick a ball forwards to Aaron O’Connor, who appeared unlucky to see his run on goal flagged offside. Osano was then replaced by Michael Corcoran, who proved an able deputy.

Dale Roberts was picking out of the air any of the long balls pumped forwards, and his distribution was also very good, helping to create a number of dangerous Diamonds attacks with his throw-outs as well as the long kicks.

As half-time approached there was a feeling that the Diamonds might be somewhat disappointed to go in at the interval only 2-0 ahead, given their complete domination, so the Diamonds third goal was a reflection of their performance in the first period. Jefferson Louis had put in a storming performance in the first half, and as he turned Matt Ruby and looked like he might get a run on goal he was fouled by the defender who picked up a yellow card. The Tomlin free kick was cleared for a corner by Green, but Tomlin hit a powerful low corner which was headed home by Aaron O’Connor, ably supported by Michael Corcoran.

Half-Time: Hayes & Yeading 0 Rushden & Diamonds 3

With both sides having had to make a substitution during the first half, there were no changes at half-time. The Diamonds immediately continued where they had left off, with a Jefferson Louis break in the left channel being blocked by Overland, and then both Byrne and Porter had half-chances as the ball was kept in the danger area.

If was thus no surprise to see the Diamonds get a fourth goal. After Lee Tomlin was fouled just outside the left side of the penalty box. Tomlin took the kick, and Jamie Stuart rose alongside Steve Basham to head home what was initially thought might be a second own-goal.

Michael Corcoran was showing his distribution skills, with one 40 yard crossfield pass to Tomlin trapped "on a sixpence" by his team-mate. Jefferson Louis was finding space as well as winning most of the high-ball challenges, and he ran clear from just inside the United half, but his shot was high and wide into the Diamonds fans who were singing his name for much of the game.

Craig Farrell replaced Lee Tomlin, who had taken a blow to the head in an earlier challenge, and he was quickly in the action to score the Diamonds fifth goal. Simon Downer had made a rare run into the opposition half when he was fouled. He took the kick himself, and Craig Farrell had made space in the area to flick the ball home over Overland.

Kurt Robinson also got in on the action as he set up Craig Farrell to make a powerful run and strike to score the Diamonds sixth goal five minutes later in a manner similar to one of his goals at Barrow.

The Diamonds did relax somewhat in the last fifteen minutes, and this allowed the home side to get a consolation goal. Paul Terry had an excellent game supporting the defence as well as starting the creative moves forward, but he was guilty of a poor flick towards his defenders, which allowed Scott Fitzgerald to run on and lob the ball over Roberts, thus robbing the Diamonds defence of the clean-sheet their performance deserved. Jamie Stuart also made his one mistake of an otherwise flawless performance a minute later, allowing Watkins to get past him and force a corner.

The game ended on a note of concern, as Steve Basham went down after what looked a routine challenge for the ball, but he had to be put in a neck brace and stretchered from the field. He was taken to hospital still in his football kit, but was later given the "all clear".

Referee Ross had an excellent game, and he took the sensible decision to blow the final whistle without playing the full period of added time as clearly there was concern about Basham’s condition,

Full-Time: Hayes & Yeading 1 Rushden & Diamonds 6

This was one of the Diamonds most dominant performances, either at home or away, since they rejoined the Conference. With some well taken goals, as well as outstanding performances from all fourteen players that took to the pitch, it will be a game that lives long in the memories of the 120 or so Diamonds fans that made the trip.

The watching Lee Harper must have been impressed with the Diamonds firepower, as their six goals took them to equal top of the away goal scorers table – and near the top of the total goals scored list. They now have a week to reflect on this game before another trip south – this time to face Grays Athletic.

 

Teams:

Hayes & Yeading: Simon Overland, Danny Allen-Page (Ram Marwa 56), Adam Green, Tom Cadmore (capt), Matt Ruby (Sami El-Abd 69), James Mulley (Scott Fitzgerald 24), Marc Canham, Dale Binns, Justin Cochrane, Craig Watkins, Steve Basham.

Subs Not Used: Toby Little, Chris Baker

Diamonds: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano (Michael Corcoran 43), Kurt Robinson, Paul Terry, Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Mark Byrne, Max Porter, Aaron O’Connor (Rob Wolleaston 71), Jefferson Louis, Lee Tomlin (Craig Farrell 61)

Subs Not Used: Joe Day (GK), Sam Smith

Goals: Cadmore (og) (4mins, 0-1), Tomlin (19, 0-2), O’Connor (45+2, 0-3), Stuart (51, 0-4), Farrell (71, 0-5), Farrell (76, 0-6), Fitzgerald (80, 1-6)

Yellow Cards: Ruby (45+1), Fitzgerald (70)

Referee: S Ross

Attendance: 377 (Away approx 120)

Diamonds Man of the Match: A Team Performance

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