Shariff's hat-trick sends Diamonds through

Nabil Shariff hit a hat-trick for Diamonds
Nabil Shariff hit a hat-trick for Diamonds

Nabil Shariff’s stunning start to the new season continued as his hat-trick helped AFC Rushden & Diamonds twice come from behind as they edged past Tividale by a 3-2 scoreline in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Diamonds started brightly with Chris Dillon, back in the starting line-up, hitting the bar early on before Nabil Shariff had an effort cleared off the line.

Ben Farrell blazed over from close-range but Tividale also had their chances and Ben Heath saved well from Darragh Bustin before the hosts opened the scoring on 29 minutes when Daniel Smith converted after a ball over the top.

Dillon was denied by a fine save from Ryan Cheshire before the break but the hosts had a big chance to extend their lead early in the second half when Liam Wilkinson shot over from a good position.

And Diamonds made them pay by levelling a minute later when Shariff curled home a fine strike from 25 yards.

The visitors took control from there and Dillon had an effort cleared off the line before Darryl Smith went close with an overhead kick.

However, Tividale stunned Diamonds by retaking the lead when Daniel Smith looped home a header for his second of the afternoon.

But that feat was matched by the in-form Shariff who again brought Diamonds level after good work from Joel Gyasi.

Gyasi forced Cheshire into a good save soon after the leveller but it was that man Shariff who won it when he poked home after Claudiu Hoban’s shot had been saved.

And Diamonds saw things out to book their place in Monday’s second qualifying round draw.