AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Hednesford Town - Report

Hednesford Town travelled to the league’s form team AFC Rushden & Diamonds hoping to get back on track after Tuesday’s narrow 1-0 defeat at Stratford Town.


Riley O'Sullivan returned to the starting line-up for the ninth placed Pitmen, while Lewis Hayden made his first start after two lively appearances as a substitute, Chay Tilt and Kyle Bennett dropped to the bench. The Diamonds, in fifth place, had not played for two weeks were disrupted by the departure of manager Andy Peaks to Tamworth after eight years, Andy Burgess stepping in as interim manager. Leading goalscorer Ty Deacon also departed to Kettering Town.

The Pitmen dominated the opening twenty minutes of the game, maintaining possession and winning a series of corners, with defender Harvey Portman glancing a header narrowly wide of the post. An appeal for a handball from Reece Flanagan's freekick into the area was denied before Riley O'Sullivan forced a good save from Dean Snedker as the game remained goalless. The Pitmen were forced to make a change following a clash between Andre Landell and Liam Dolman, Chay Tilt eventually replacing the injured Landell in the 38th minute. A useful freekick delivery from Sam Warburton was met by Diamonds skipper Alex Collard who cleared the bar by some distance, before George Cater went much closer for the Pitmen, seeing his shot go inches over the crossbar. The game remained goalless going into the break with clear chances few and far between with the defences on top.

Each side had a good opportunity to take the lead in a quickfire start to the second half, firstly for Diamonds as Warburton forced Joe O'Shaughnessy to tip the ball over the crossbar, before substitute Tilt's effort was snuffed out by Snedker. The game returned to being the cagey affair of the first half, the Pitmen enjoying possession without creating chances. Diamonds made a double substitution in the 64th minute when Jesse Akubuine and Will Jones replaced Shane Bush and Adriel George in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Following a barge from Lycett on Akubuine, Diamonds were awarded a freekick which was put behind for a corner that was headed powerfully home at the far post, giving O'Shaughnessy no chance, by Collard to give the home side the lead in the 75th minute. In the 89th minute a goal line clearance from Paddy Casey prevented O'Sullivan from scoring the equaliser. A disappointing afternoon in Northamptonshire, when the Pitmen were unable to convert their possession, particularly in the first half, into goals.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds; Snedker, Casey, Warburton, Bell-Toxtle, Dolman, Collard (c), Tshikuna (Slinn 86), Diamond, Bush (Jones 64), George (Akubuine 64), Furlong. Subs not used; Hughes, Snelus,

Hednesford Town; O'Shaughnessy, Atkinson, Lycett, Portman, Ison (c), Flanagan, Cater, Parker, O'Sullivan, Hayden (Bennett 76), Landell (Tilt 38, Rashad 84). Subs not used; Endall, Williams.

Attendance 478

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