Rushden & Diamonds Strengthen Their Play-Off Hopes


 This week I travelled to Kingsmeadow, the home of AFC Wimbledon. I had never been to the stadium before, but I must say it is an impressive ground for a team that has only been existing since 2002 and have fans who are really passionate about the team.   


 Attendance 3, 640

 AFC Wimbledon’s play-off hopes suffered a dent as they were narrowly beaten by Rushden & Diamonds at Kingsmeadow. However the game will be over-shadowed by the controversial winning goal scored by the Diamonds Craig Farrell, that saw them edge closer towards promotion.   

AFC (blue) and R & D (yellow) battling to win the ball


 The game started brightly, with both teams eager to secure the win, but it was Rushden & Diamonds that created the first meaningful chance of the game on 10 minutes. A throw-in on the right found its way to Aaron O’Connor who found himself one on one with James Pullen in the Wimbledon goal, but his shot was well saved. Wimbledon responded but Brett Johnson’s shot was easily saved by Diamond’s keeper Dale Roberts.   

 Both teams continued to battle throughout the entire first half, but neither team could find that all-important goal. Diamonds left-back Kurt Robinson saw a speculative scissor kick shot sail over the bar, while Wimbledon’s Will Hendry saw his 30 yard strike fly well wide. However Wimbledon had the best chance of the half just after the half hour mark. Glenn Poole received the ball on the left and his cross was met by top scorer Danny Kedwell, but he headed just over and both teams went into the break level at 0-0.

 After the break, the game flowed in much the same fashion as the first. However Wimbledon should have been in front within 5 minutes of the restart. Ricky Wellard passed the ball to Kedwell on the right and his cross was met by Hendry, after Wellard has missed the ball, and he shot straight at Diamond’s keeper Roberts when he should have scored.   

AFC (blue) freekick


 This would come back to haunt Wimbledon as soon after, Rushden & Diamonds were in front. Aaron O’Connor fed the ball through to striker Craig Farrell who ran onto the pass to slot the ball  past keeper Pullen and into the net. However as the ball was played in, Farrell looked offside, but luckily for the travelling fans, the linesman failed to notice and the goal stood, giving them a 1-0 lead.   

 Rushden & Diamonds began to assert themselves on the game, but Wimbledon still searched for that goal to draw them level. Sam Hatton had a free-kick saved by Roberts, while Luke Moore saw his shot sail just wide.   

 With 6 minutes injury time added, Wimbledon continued to push forward with Wellard heading straight at Dale Roberts but the Rushden & Diamonds defence held firm and held on to secure a vital away win.   


AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Judge, Lorraine, Johnson, Poole (Elder 63), Gregory, Hendry (Adjei 54), Wellard, Kedwell, Moore.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Conroy, Duncan   

Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Corcoran, Osano, Stuart, Robinson, Porter, McNamara (Huke 70), Byrne, O’Connor (Akurang 85), Farrell, Tomlin (Louis 74).
Subs Not Used: Day, Wolleaston.   

 Man of the Match- Jamie Stuart (Rushden & Diamonds)

 Captain Jamie Stuart had a solid game today at the heart of the Rushden defence. He dealt with everything that was placed upon him and he and the rest of the defence will be absolutely delighted to come away with 3 vital points.   

 Match Verdict

 Rushden & Diamonds will be delighted with picking up the win today. In an even game that could have gone either way, it was a controversial decision made by the linesman which settled the game. AFC Wimbledon wil be very disappointed not to pick up at least a point today and now face an uphill struggle to clinch a play-off place, which the fans desperately want.