Halesowen Town 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 - Report

Halesowen's relegation troubles worsened as promotion-chasing Rushden took all three points through Ben Diamond's second-half winner.

Halesowen defeat
Halesowen defeat

The much changed Yeltz lacked a critical cutting edge in a must-win game and remain five points adrift of safety. By contrast, the visitors are unbeaten since New Year's Day and moved up to third place in the league table.

Home captain Kieran Morris made an excellent last-ditch challenge to stop Tom Lorraine on a chase in front of goal after 11 minutes and Diamond placed a free header straight at home goalkeeper Dan Platt five minutes later. As

Halesowen briefly threatened, Alex Collard was on hand in the six-yard box to clear Callum Coyle's 28th minute free-kick and Jack Till's 32nd minute effort was collected by Diamonds' goalkeeper Ben Heath.

The Diamonds had a good spell before the interval as Lorraine headed against the bar from close range in the 34th minute and a dangerous 41st minute cross from Sam Johnson flew across the face of goal. Declan Rogers curled a 42nd minute free-kick over the bar and Collard headed over t from a first-half injury time corner.

There was plenty of effort in the second-half from the hosts, but visiting goalkeeper Heath was hardly troubled as the Diamonds went on to take all three points.

At the start of the second period, Platt saved a 25 yard shot from Rogers with his chest and then kept out a Collard header. Rogers then planted a 25 yard deflected free-kick past the post but Rushden claimed their 60th minute winner from the resulting corner as Collard kept the ball alive and captain

Liam Dolman headed back across goal for DIAMOND to nod home from close range.

The in-form visitors easily protected their vital lead by repelling Halesowen's late urgency. A 68th minute shot from Ivor Lawton was deflected away for a corner and two further corners were kept out deep in injury time.

Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Sam Griffiths, Tyler Weir, Ivor Lawton (James Spruce 75), Kieran Morris (c), Callam Mendez-Jones, Callum Coyle, Samir Nabi (Joe Fitzpatrick 61), Lee Hughes, Jack Till, Aaron Gilpin. Subs Not Used: Matt Curley, Jack Kelly, Danny Bragoli.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds: Ben Heath; Zac Reynolds, Jack Ashton, Alex Collard, Liam Dolman (c), Nathan Hicks, Declan Rogers, Jack Westbrook, Tom Lorraine (Jack Bowen 79), Ben Diamond, Sam Johnson (John Dean 75). Subs Not Used: Ben Farrell, Ben Acquaye, Joe Curtis.

Referee: Robert Hathaway Attendance: 428

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