Leslie strikes to send Diamonds into the top five

Lewis Leslie scored the second-half winner as AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed a fine 1-0 success at Lincoln United
Lewis Leslie scored the second-half winner as AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed a fine 1-0 success at Lincoln United
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Lewis Leslie grabbed the only goal of the game as AFC Rushden & Diamonds moved into the top five of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South for the first time this season thanks to a 1-0 success at Lincoln United.

Diamonds finally recorded a win over their rivals in the fourth meeting between the two clubs in this campaign after Lincoln had dumped Andy Peaks’ side out of the FA Trophy after a replay last month.

But Peaks’ men secured another fine away success and extended their unbeaten run in the league to an impressive 17 matches.

And it came after they had endured a tricky journey to Lincolnshire, which resulted in the kick-off being delayed until 8.15pm.

Diamonds made one change to the team that drew 1-1 at leaders Shaw Lane at the weekend with Fazel Koriya returning after suspension in place of Tom Lorraine who wasn’t included in the squad.

Matt Finlay was forced into an early save from Kallum Smith while Jake Newman’s shot at the other end was well saved after he latched on to Lewis Leslie’s flick.

Richard Bunting was forced to clear an effort off the line following a corner before Nabil Shariff shot over the bar after linking up well with Newman.

But Lincoln finished the half the stronger and Finlay was forced to palm away Jordan Hempenstall’s fierce strike.

There were fewer chances in the second period and Lincoln had the better of things with their best opportunity being a free header, which went wide.

But the crucial moment arrived with 14 minutes to go when Leslie hammered home from 10 yards following a corner.

Diamonds withstood some late pressure from the hosts but held on for a crucial victory, which moved them up to fifth place.

Peaks’ team return to action on Boxing Day when they take on Stamford at the Dog & Duck.

Don’t miss more Diamonds news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph