Diamonds fight back to force FA Cup replay

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Mark Starmer

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Mark Starmer

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AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be in Monday’s FA Cup second qualifying round draw after they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Cockfosters.

Alfie Taylor and Russ Dunkley were on target for Mark Starmer’s side and they will now look to finish the job at the Dog & Duck on Tuesday night.

The first half proved to be fairly even but it was the hosts who went in front on 40 minutes when Stuart Blackburne headed home from six yards.

Diamonds, who enjoyed plenty of possession, did produce an immediate response, however, when Taylor drilled a shot home from 15 yards.

Nat Liburd had an early effort cleared off the line in the second half but it was the hosts who regained the lead on 64 minutes when Blackburne converted another header.

But once again, the Diamonds’ response to that setback was swift as Dunkley nodded home Fazel Koriya’s cross to force a replay.

Diamonds line-up: Cross, Merrill, Brown, Harris, Deakin, Clarke, Liburd, King, Dunkley, Taylor, Koriya. Subs: McBride, Shorunmu, Gillingwater, Allen, Dent.