Match Report - AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Kettering Town FC: 0
AFC Rushden & Diamonds: 0
Kettering Town FC: 1
Herve Pepe-Ngoma 171
AFC Rushden & Diamonds: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: The Poppies had the vast majority of the possession and chances in this game, particularly in the second period, but only scored once due to some resolute defending by the Diamonds. Diamonds took the lead on 18 minutes through Shawn Richards and Kettering equalised 15 minutes later through Herve Pepe-N’Goma – his first goal for the club. The game was won in the final minute of added time in the second half when Jack Ashton headed in.
THE SQUAD: Both sides were depleted for various reasons, although both had eleven starting players who had featured regularly in their line-ups. Kettering had Gary Mulligan out injured and Dom Langdon deputised in the absence of the cup-tied Chris Carruthers and potential player Ollie Thorne, who was also injured.Wilson Carvalho was suspended and Will Grocott started.
HOW THE GAME UNFOLDED: Diamonds started with just Tom Liversedge up top in a 4-4-1-1 formation and Kettering had Silvano Obeng up alongside Rene Howe in their 4-4-2.
Kettering started well, moving the ball around and a four man move early on saw Will Grocott lob wide. Then Ben Stephens got on the end of Grocott’s cross but fired wide.
Diamonds got forward on 11 minutes but Tom Manship’s cross was over the line and out for a goal kick.
Kettering responded and Stephens’ free kick was punched away by keeper,Matt Finlay, with Liam Canavan volleying the loose ball just over the bar.
On 17 minutes Kettering skipper, Brett Solkhon gave the ball away and Liversedge sent Andy Hall away- but the wide man had strayed offside. Within a minute Diamonds took the lead with their first effort on goal.
A quick free kick sent Liversedge away down the left and he flicked the ball across goal with the outside of his right foot superbly into the path of Shawn Richards. The header went in off the bottom of the right post.
Rene Howe’s shot on the turn went wide, and a couple of minutes later Diamonds had a great chance with their second effort on goal.
Claudiu Hoban got the better of Solkhon and worked a good sight of the goal- but his shot was into the side netting.
Kettering came straight back and Stephens was over in the penalty area but appeals for a penalty were denied. The ball dropped for James Brighton and his cross was headed into Finlay’s arms by Howe.
Brighton was beginning to get forward on the left and he put in a couple of great crosses before a third effort went into the side netting.
The Poppies equalised in the 33rd minute. Good work by Silvano Obeng set up Stephens on the right for a cross which Herve Pepe-N’Goma met at the far post with a diving header past Finlay.
The Poppies gained in momentum with Grocott firing over the bar and Pepe- N’Goma heading a Grocott corner just wide at the far post.
The half finished with Canavan firing over and Stephens having a shot blocked and the hitting the rebound past the post.
Half Time: AFC Rushden and Diamonds 1 - 1 Kettering Town
Stephens’ early effort drifted wide as Kettering started the second period where they had left the first.
Diamonds did have an early effort on goal as Hall got the better of Brighton and his shot was held by Hill.
It really was all Kettering now, and Diamonds were heavily reliant on their central defenders and keeper, who were all playing well.
Finlay saved a Canavan effort, and then Stephens had an opening, but delayed the shot, which came eventually, and was just wide of the right post.
Bateman and Obeng had to leave the field with the recurrence of injuries and were replaced by youth teamers Bleu McNeil and Ben Baker.
McNeil had a great cross cleared and Stephens saw a shot excellently blocked as Kettering piled on the pressure.
Rene Howe’s 61st minute left foot shot was destined for the corner, but a defender got in a great deflection and a combination of Dom Langdon and a Finlay error saw the ball cleared off the line from the restart.
On 63 minutes and, in a flash, Richards broke away on the left for Diamonds and did everything right- only to see Hill make a good save.
On 65 minutes Grocott’s shot was saved by Finlay and a minute later Canavan’s audacious left foot chip beat Finlay but landed on top of the net.
Hill was in action again on 69 minutes as he easily saved Dan Quigley’s shot.
As the half got into the 70th minute, it seemed that Diamonds were more and more comfortable defending and they began to frustrate the Poppies who began to run out of ideas.
Richards got a cross in on 78 minutes and Liversedge headed over.
The Poppies were not giving up on that winning goal though, and McNeil’s drive from the right was well parried by Finlay. Stephens collected the loose ball and with a great chance, leaned back and put the ball just over the bar.
Finlay was again in action on 87 minutes as he saved from Stephens.
The Diamonds came out of their shell in the final minute. Hall’s cross come shot fell onto the top of the net and in the 94th and final minute Liversedge forced a corner.
Taken from the left it was met by a bullet header from Jack Ashton to win the game.
Diamonds took the Trophy and other presentations included a volunteer award to Kettering’s long term volunteer and car park controller, Barry Collier.
AFC Rushden and Diamonds 2 - 1 Kettering Town
Attendance: 1322 (Poppies fans 686)
Poppies Man of the Match: Herve Pepe N’Goma
Overall NFA Man of the Match: Jack Ashton.
Team Starting line-ups:
AFC Rushden and Diamonds: Matt Finlay;Brad Harris;Luke Hipwell;Jack Ashton;Liam Dolman;Tom Manship (Robbie Parsons 82);Shawn Richards;Dan Quigley;Tom Liversedge;Claudiu Hoban;Andy Hall. Subs Unused:Alex Vitue;Charlie Butt;Joe Ackroyd;James Harvey.
Kettering: Craig Hill;LiamBateman (Bleu McNeil 53));James Brighton;Brett Solkhon (Captain);Dom Langdon;Herve Pepe-N’Goma;Will Grocott;Liam Canavan ;Rene Howe;Ben Stephens;Silvano Obeng (Ben Baker,59)
Subs Unused: Ben Bradshaw;Peter Sweeney;Paul Walker.
Yellow cards: AFC Rushden & Diamonds:Quigley,65;Manship,77.