Diamonds secure a replay with Alfreton

Joel Gyasi celebrates after giving AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead at Alfreton Town. Picture courtesy of B&O PRESS PHOTO
Joel Gyasi celebrates after giving AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead at Alfreton Town. Picture courtesy of B&O PRESS PHOTO

AFC Rushden & Diamonds earned an Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round replay against Vanaram National League North side Alfreton Town after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Impact Arena.

Diamonds, from two levels below, stunned their hosts by going 2-0 up inside half-an-hour.

Joel Gyasi, who made a welcome return from injury, fired them in front after battling his way through the defence.

And Diamonds were heading for a famous victory just a few minutes later when Luke Fairlamb’s cross was converted by top scorer Nabil Shariff.

But Alfreton hit back before the break when a free-kick from the left was tapped in at the near post by Brody Robertson.

Diamonds had their chances after the break while Alfreton also piled the pressure on.

And Andy Peaks’ men were finally broken down with seven minutes to go when Brendon Daniels’ cross was headed home by Billy Priestley.

Shariff had a golden chance to win it at the death but was denied by a good save.

The two teams will now meet again for a place in the third qualifying round at Hayden Road on Tuesday night (7.45pm).