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Saturday 14th April 2018

Evo-Stik League South East

Hayden Road Sports Ground, Rushden Attendance: 626

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

4 1

Aylesbury United

  Half-time: (2-0)  
  • Goal 63 : Own goal
Ben HEATHPlayer Image13
Blaize PUNTERPlayer Image2
Sam BROWNPlayer Image3
Jack WESTBROOKPlayer Image4
(c) Liam DOLMANPlayer Image5
15 81m Ross OULTONPlayer Image6
Joel GYASIPlayer Image7
Joe CURTISPlayer Image8
16 82m Ryan ROBBINSPlayer Image9
14 68m Spencer WEIR-DALEYPlayer Image10
Luke FAIRLAMBPlayer Image11
John DEANPlayer Image12
10 68m Ben FARRELLPlayer Image14
6 81m Ben FORDPlayer Image15
9 82m Tom LORRAINEPlayer Image16
Jack ASHTONPlayer Image19
  Andy PEAKSManager ImageM
1Player ImageJack HOPWOOD6
2Player ImageOllie STANBRIDGE7
3Player ImageJake BEWLEY7
4Player ImageJack WOOD (c)7
5Player ImageCallum MAPLEY8
6Player ImageOllie HOGG7
7Player ImageJamie KEEN12 65m 7
8Player ImageGreg WILLIAMS7
9Player ImageHarry JONES14 78m 6
10Player ImageBen SEATON7
11Player ImageMatt PEAKE-PIJNEN7
12Player ImageMaciej TAJS7 65m 
14Player ImageJonny MILLER9 78m 
15Player ImageBen WILLIAMS
13Player ImageArchie DAVIS
MManager ImageBen WILLIAMS
Match Report



Despite their best efforts, Aylesbury failed to cause an upset in the Evo-Stik South East title race as AFC Rushden & Diamonds eventually ran out comfortable winners at Hayden Road.

For the first thirty minutes of this tie the tension was palpable, Diamonds on a stuttering run of form and in desperate need of the three points having relinquished top spot to Beaconsfield Town in midweek.

And with every misplaced pass the groans and moans of the 600-strong crowd grew louder.

Aylesbury were playing well, hassling and harrying their opponents into making mistakes and whilst clear cut openings for the Ducks were scarce, Rushden could barely muster an attack.

The complexion changed entirely on 34 minutes when a cracker from Ryan Robbins broke the deadlock. It was the proverbial ‘goal out of nothing’, the experienced striker receiving a long ball 25-yards from goal and striking a sensational shot that gave Jack Hopwood no chance as it arrowed into the top corner. 1-0 AFC Rushden

Before that, the depleted Ducks – missing senior players Aaron Berry, Sonny French and Jeanmal Prosper meaning a full debut for Jamie Keen – had half chances when Matt Peake-Pijnen fizzed the ball across goal in the first minute, and Ben Seaton tried his luck with a couple of long rangers.

Home goalkeeper Ben Heath’s palms were stung on 20 minutes by the lively Peake-Pijnen whose drive was caught after Jake Bewley’s pass had seen him make room for a left footed shot.

Another well constructed move saw a hoisted ball in from Bewley touched sideways by Jack Wood to Ollie Hogg, whose shot was deflected towards goal before being cleared.

Then, a minute before Rushden went ahead with what was their first shot on goal, a Bewley free kick bounced awkwardly on the irregular surface and came back off Heath’s chest with nobody in amber able to profit.

Robbins went close to doubling his side’s lead seven minutes before the break when a short corner kick routine ended with Joel Gyasi’s cross headed out as far as Liam Dolman, the giant defender producing an exquisite flick into the path of Robbins who thumped an effort against the outside of the post.

Diamonds wouldn’t have to wait long for their second. Spencer Weir-Daley was played clean through and although his attempted lob was saved by Hopwood, he collected the rebound before finishing from an impossible looking angle to give his side a commanding lead. 2-0 AFC Rushden

With the earlier nerves now long gone, there could have been a third when Robbins ran straight through the United rearguard, but Hopwood was off his line quickly to smother the ball.

Half-time: AFC Rushden 2-0 Aylesbury

Facing a two-goal deficit and confidence their hosts’ renewed confidence might have been an ominous prospect for Aylesbury as they emerged for the second half, but they signalled intent to make a game of it early on when a corner kick was played deep to Jack Wood who crossed it back to Greg Williams who was given acres of space but could only head over.

At the other end Weir-Daley beat the offside trap before cutting the ball back to Luke Fairlamb whose shot skipped up off the same penalty box area that caused Heath trouble in the first half, rebounding off Hopwood in a very similar manner.

Two minutes later and Peake-Pijnen robbed a ponderous Jack Westbrook before running on and directing a shot wide of the target as Rushden were fired another warning that they weren’t to be allowed an easy ride in the second half.

That proved the case just past the hour mark as Aylesbury were gifted a way back into proceedings. Ex-Duck Liam Dolman could only watch aghast as his pass back to Heath took an horrendous bobble and lead to the goalkeeper completely missing his kick as the ball trickled into the net behind him. 1-2

If there was any blame placed on the goalkeeper, Heath redeemed himself seconds later with a fine save from Peake-Pijnen’s firmly struck drive after some fine play on the right wing to set him up.

Aylesbury’s unlikely comeback was then halted by a third Rushden goal to clinch the three points. A quick counter attack lead by Joel Gyasi saw him switch the ball to Fairlamb whose shot was spilled by Hopwood allowing Curtis to roll the ball into the empty net. 3-1 AFC Rushden

Ross Oulton then had a good chance for 4-1 when the ball was squared inside to him, but he placed his shot over the bar, whilst Fairlamb also went close when he dragged an effort wide of the target.

The closing stages of the game saw Jonny Miller come on for his first minutes of the season following long-term injury, before Rushden added another goal to give the scoreline something of a flattering look.

Substitute Tom Lorraine had only been on the pitch seven minutes when he took a through ball in the left channel before producing a composed finish past Hopwood for his 15th goal of the season. 4-1 AFC Rushden

Three minutes into stoppage time an only the crossbar prevented a fifth courtesy of a Callum Mapley own goal, desperately sliding onto Gyasi’s low cross but coming perilously close to finding his own net.

Well beaten, but far from disgraced once again against one of the league’s top sides, plenty for manager Ben Williams to contemplate from this game going into Aylesbury’s last home match of the season.