United Counties League
AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5
Harrowby United 0
Harrowby United travelled to the Dog and Duck, the home AFC Rushden and Diamonds share with Wellingborough Town, and came away defeated by a scoreline which flattered the league leaders.
The opening 20 minutes were evenly contested, both sides looking to create chances and stamp their authority in midfield. The best early chance after 10 minutes fell for former Grantham Town striker Jason Turner. A cross from the right from Elliot Lamb-Johnson found Turner in space but he headed, unchallenged, past the right hand post.
The Arrows then had a couple of chances, firstly skipper Martin Wormall found himself room to get a shot off from the edge of the penalty area which was well blocked by his opposite number Aaron Parkinson. Shortly afterwards, a free kick into the Diamonds box was held up by Wormall who then found Scott Webb out left. The Harrowby wide man took the ball to the byline before cutting it back for Simon Bolland who fired over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
Diamonds took the lead in the 22nd minute when a fine, long diagonal ball from centre back Liam Dolman put the ball in behind Arrows left back Lewis Watson. Lamb-Johnson burst into the penalty area and was felled by Watson as he tried to recover his ground. Referee Mary Harmer awarded a penalty kick with help from her assistant and Turner stepped up to slot the ball into the bottom right hand corner from the spot, giving keeper Jack Drury.
The Arrows responded immediately with a shot from Wormall which brought a save from Diamonds keeper Matt Finlay, parrying the curled effort away as far as Luke Peberdy whose follow up shot found the side netting. The resultant goal kick found its way to Matt Gearing whose attempted ball over the top was headed clear by Billy Stubbs.
Tom Lorraine picked the ball up and advanced through the Arrows defence. Faced one-on-one with Drury, Lorraine’s first effort was well saved by by the keeper’s outstretched leg. His second effort produced another excellent Drury block, only for the ball to fall again for the Diamonds front man who, third time lucky, found the net with a right foot shot from a tighter angle past the unfortunate Drury.
Diamonds went close again after 27 minutes when another Dolman diagonal ball found Lamb-Johnson who laid the ball to Adam Confue. His cross-cum-shot hit an upright and fell for Lamb-Johnson who blazed his shot over the bar.
Five minutes from the break, Drury again came to Harrowby’s rescue, saving from Lorraine who had been played through by a fine ball from his strike partner Turner.
Harrowby suffered a double blow in the closing minutes before half time. Firstly, they were caught out by a through-ball from Confue which again caught Watson napping. Lamb-Johnson won the race to the ball, knocking the ball past Drury before rolling it into an empty net.
Then the Arrows switched off on the stroke of half time and a corner from the right by Lamb-Johnson found Confue completely unmarked just outside the six-yard box. The Diamonds midfielder made the most of the time and space to power a header down and past a helpless Drury on the goal line.
As the temperature dropped at the start of the second period, so did the tempo of the game. Harrowby, playing for pride, looked to bring some respectability to the score but were restricted to a couple of long range efforts from Bolland and Lee Shaw early on.
Lorraine went close in the 55th minute when Lamb-Johnson cut the ball back, but Lorraine’s effort fizzed inches over the bar.
Diamonds hit the woodwork again in the 66th minute and Drury saved from Diamonds substitute Fazel Koriya before Harrowby thought they had got a consolation with four minutes remaining. A corner from the left found its way to Wormall who controlled before firing a shot at goal which was well saved by a diving Finlay. The ball fell for Shaw around four yards out who drilled a shot goalwards which was superbly blocked on the line by full back Sam Brown.
Harrowby conceded a fifth in the third and final minute of stoppage time. Lorraine again played the ball through for Lamb-Johnson on the right. The wide man looked up and squared a perfect ball for Koriya to tap home at the far post and complete Rushden’s nap hand.
Harrowby’s man of the match was Jack Drury.
Harrowby United: Drury, Weatherstone, Watson, Hill (Daykin, 70), Stubbs, Peberdy (Parker, 68), Harper, Bolland (Potts, 58), Webb, Wormall (c), Shaw. Subs not used: Clarke, Hotchin.