VERDICT – Diamonds must do it all again at Histon

Tom Lorraine, who scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' goal, in action during the 1-1 draw with Histon in the FA Trophy preliminary round. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Tom Lorraine, who scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' goal, in action during the 1-1 draw with Histon in the FA Trophy preliminary round. Pictures by Alison Bagley
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AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Histon will do it all again in the FA Trophy preliminary round on Tuesday night.

Diamonds looked to be heading through to take on Coalville Town in the first qualifying round after Tom Lorraine had put them in front late in the first half at the Dog & Duck.

Histon goalkeeper Niall Conroy makes a flying save to deny AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the Dog & Duck

Histon goalkeeper Niall Conroy makes a flying save to deny AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the Dog & Duck

But the home side’s inability to capitalise on having the majority of possession came back to haunt them as Ben Yeomans headed home a second-half equaliser for the young Stutes side.

In the end, it was hard to argue with the final outcome.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Diamonds didn’t quite do enough to advance at the first attempt while Histon, who have had a miserable time of it in the Southern League Division One Central, will argue that their hard-working effort was worthy of another chance.

Andy Peaks once again had to work around the injury crisis his squad is enduring and Jason Lee was thrown straight into the starting line-up after rejoining the club this week.

It was uninspiring stuff for the most part in the first half, despite there being plenty of endeavour from both sides.

Robbie Parsons fired high over the bar for Diamonds while Jake Chambers curled an effort wide at the other end.

But the hosts came to life 10 minutes before the break.

A well-worked free-kick routine saw Lee find Nic Evangelinos and he played in Taylor Orosz whose shot was tipped over by Niall Conroy.

Conroy saved a Nabil Shariff from the resulting corner but Diamonds did find a way through soon after.

Rory Winters had claims for a penalty waved away after he was barged over in the area but the ball was recycled to Evangelinos and his low cross was finished off by Lorraine.

Diamonds were unable to seize the initiative in the second half, however.

Chances were few and far between and Histon took advantage when they levelled with 20 minutes to go.

Yeomans’ long-range strike resulted in Matt Finlay scrambling the ball away for a corner. But, from that set-piece, Max York headed the ball back across goal and Yeomans was there to nod home.

That proved to be the end of the scoring but Diamonds did give it a go late on.

Substitute Jake Newman was unable to get on the end of Orosz’ cross-shot before Winters found himself with a bit of space in the area in stoppage-time but Conroy saved well with his legs.

And, from the resulting corner, Orosz’s shot was deflected over with what proved to be the final chance.

So, it’s off to Cambridgeshire on Tuesday evening.

Diamonds will surely still fancy their chances of finishing the job but they will need to be a bit sharper in the final third if they are to advance.

Diamonds: Finlay; McNulty, Winters, Lee, Brown; Parsons (sub Newman, 62 mins), Lorraine, Harris, Evangelinos (sub Deeney, 78 mins); Orosz, Shariff. Subs not used: Haynes, Wreh, Bradshaw.

Histon: Conroy; Bexfield, York, Watson, Sibanda; Gwynne, Chambers, McGregor, Gardner; Allen; Yeomans. Subs not used: Ourtibour, Gould, Unwin, Nickels.

Referee: Robbie Dadley.

Goals: Lorraine (37 mins, 1-0), Yeomans (70 mins, 1-1).

Bookings: Chambers, Harris, McGregor (all fouls), Winters, Gwynne (unsporting behaviour),

Attendance: 333.