Match deleted from records in MaY 2020 after 2019-2020 season voided due to coronavirus


BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Dove (86)

Hednesford Town

Glover (43)

(0) 1

(1) 1



Current Form

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Shaun Rowley



Stourbridge (H) 25.1.20

The Pitmen have to be content with a point this evening as they are pegged back late on by ten-man AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Hayden Road to deny them a third successive win on the road in the league

Saturday's ugly win at Alvechurch had seen the Pitmen move back within four points of the play-off places in the process ahead of tonight's trip to Northamptonshire. The visitors made two changes to the side that had started at Lye Meadow, with Osebi Abadaki passed fit again after a bout of illness to replace Ethan Jones in the starting XI and Ben O'Hanlon coming in for Elliot Hodge. Stoke City youngster Soiyir Sanali had joined the club on a month's loan since the weekend game and was named amongst the substitutes for this evening's mid-table encounter

Diamonds were sitting a place above the Pitmen in the Southern Premier League Central table ahead of tonight's game, coming off a 4-2 win over struggling Stratford Town at Hayden Road at the weekend. Manager Andy Peaks made one change to the side that had started against Stratford, recalling Nat Gosnal-Tyler at the expense of Matt Slinn as in-form Diamonds went in search of a fifth win on the bounce since the start of 2020

The game got off to an explosive start with a straight red card for Rushden's Ben Acquaye in just the third minute of the game; Matt Curley and Acquaye clashed off the ball, with the Diamonds midfielder aiming an elbow at the Hednesford right-back that caught referee Mr Davis's eye. He had no concerns about showing Acquaye a straight red card for the offence, despite the protestations of players and fans alike

The numerical advantage gained at such an early stage of the game was a big plus for the away side, who spent long periods of the first period inside the Rushden half and stroked the ball around at will as they looked to break down a home defence that was now looking to close ranks. Neat play down the left wing on eighty minutes saw Abadaki get the better of Paddy Casey and send over a deep cross that Danny Glover headed well wide of goal

Four minutes later, a neat pass from James Hurst found Curley in space on the right-wing, with his outswinging cross headed over the crossbar by Reece King

Hurst himself was guilty of a lack of composure on fourteen minutes after winning the ball out on the right flank and cutting inside, lashing his shot high and wide of goal from a ridiculously acute angle when both Glover and Zak Reid were arriving in the six-yard box

O'Hanlon - playing in an unfamiliar anchor role in midfield, produced a wicked left-footed cross from a free-kick on twenty-one minutes, finding Charlie Gatter's head with the ball. The centre-back - under pressure from the burly Liam Dolman - could only head high over the crossbar rather than get any real purchase on the cross

A huge long throw from Sam Brown on twenty-six minutes caught the Hednesford defence out as the left-back launched one right into the Pitmen's six-yard box, with Reid finally scrambling the ball away after Dolman had got his head to the ball and initially headed towards goal

Against the run of play, Diamonds almost found themselves in front on thirty-five minutes as an angled drive from Ben Farrell found the side netting after one of his corner kicks had been partially cleared by the Hednesford defence back to the corner taker

Five minutes later, Nabil Shariff forced Shaun Rowley in a smothering stop at his near post following a cross out on the left wing from Jesse Akubuine that had been deflected into the path of the striker

Despite this positive spell of play from the hosts, it was the Pitmen who struck just before the break as Danny Glover once again came up with the goods in front of goal with his fifteenth goal of the season. A free-kick from O'Hanlon was floated into the Rushden penalty area, finding King unmarked at the far post. His firm header across goal was turned goalwards by Glover, prompting Diamonds keeper Ben Heath to make a stop from close range.The ball rebounded into the path of the striker, who turned the ball home at the second attempt from a tight angle to give his side the lead going into the half-time break

The hosts were a very different prospect at the start of the second half, making light of their lack of numbers as they forced the Pitmen onto the back foot for much of the second period. Rowley made an early stop from Shariff on forty-eight minutes, turning the striker's angled shot away from goal with a sharp save at his near post

Osebi Abadaki was booked for the Pitmen on fifty-three minutes for kicking the ball away, although some of the Rushden management team should ben taking a long, hard look at themselves with some of their antics in attempting to sway the referee's decision by demanding that he 'evened up the numbers' and sent the winger off for this minor indiscretion. Faux anger and childish touchline antics have become an unwelcome distraction to the game in recent seasons, as much at this level of football as the higher levels of the game

Rowley was equal to a Farrell free-kick on fifty-eight minutes as the visitors continued to press before Dolman curled a twenty-five yard free-kick inches wide of Rowley's post a minute later

The Pitmen could have sewn up the points five minutes later as Glover somehow failed to find the net for the second time in the evening as his effort from Hurst's cross was somehow cleared off the line by Casey before Reid turned the rebound wide of goal

Another Farrell corner on sixty-five minutes was headed over the bar by Jack Ashton after he had been afforded too much time to meet the ball by the Hednesford defence

Rowley was once again impressing his new club with an authoritative approach to the game between the sticks, making another good save with twenty minutes to go to hold a Nathan Hicks effort

The Pitmen made their first change of the evening three minutes later, with new boy Sanali given a late run-out for his Hednesford debut as he replaced the tiring O'Hanlon

The hosts were throwing everything at the Pitmen from this point onwards, playing ten yards higher up the pitch and pushing the like of Dolman further on to compete for set-pieces. A Farrell corner kick on seventy-five minutes was met by Ashton once more, with his header drifting onto the top of the Hednesford crossbar on its way out of play

Rowley made a quite breathtaking save to keep the Pitmen in the lead with ten minutes remaining, turning Brown's goal-bound effort from the edge of the penalty area away with a fantastic one-handed stop down to his right-hand side

With seven minutes remaining, the Pitmen made the final change of the evening as Abadaki was taken off in place of Hodge down the flank for the final minutes

You felt that a Rushden goal was coming, and it duly arrived with four minutes remaining as substitutes Tom Lorraine and Ryan Dove combined; Lorraine stole a yard on Sam Griffiths down the right flank and send over a low cross that was bundled home by Dove from close range, despite Curley's best efforts to stop him getting to the ball

There was still time for a winner either way, with Ashton going close in added time as his header was well claimed by the Pitmen's man of the match Rowley to ensure they would take a point with them

It had been an entertaining evening's football from both sides, with a sprinkling of drama and pantomime in there for good measure. A draw at such an in-form side, in the middle of a tough run of games, is not something to be sniffed at for the Pitmen, who will no doubt be a little gutted at not seeing the game out with only four minutes left on the clock. It's yet another tough encounter for Hednesford at the weekend, as play-off chasers Stourbridge visit the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park looking to get their own charge up the table back on track and avenge September's 3-0 defeat inflicted on them by the Pitmen in the process

AFC Rushden & Diamonds: Heath, Casey, Brown, Ashton , Dolman ©, Akubuine, Farrell, Shariff (Dove 82), Acquaye ▆ (3), Gosnal-Tyler (Lorraine 73), Hicks (Macleod 78)    Subs Unused: Kelly, Munro  

Hednesford Town: Rowley, Curley, Griffiths, Gatter, Bailey ©, Hurst, Reid, KingD. Glover, O'Hanlon (Sanali 73), Abadaki ▆ (Hodge 83)   Subs Unused: Fry, Jones, Veiga

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