Diamonds just edged out at Hendon

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Andy Peaks
AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Andy Peaks

AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ FA Cup journey was ended as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Ryman League Premier Division high-fliers Hendon.

Andy Peaks’ side gave an excellent account of themselves and created a number of chances but were beaten, courtesy of Leon Smith’s second-half goal.

After a scrappy start, Diamonds goalkeeper Matt Finlay was forced into his first save of the game but it was the visitors who went closest to opening the scoring in the first half.

Matt Gearing whipped in a corner, it was met by Joe Henderson and Ben McNamara was at full-stretch to stop it.

Adam Confue forced McNamara into another save while the hosts, who enjoyed plenty of possession, had an effort ruled out for offside.

Gearing shot wide early in the second half and Diamonds were out of luck again when Fazel Koriya and Sam Brown combined well down the left. Brown crossed to Jason Turner but his shot was well saved again by McNamara.

That proved crucial as the hosts took the lead on 66 minutes with Leon Smith scoring after on the counter-attack.

Diamonds were not about to lie down, however, and Turner was inches away from connecting with a Gearing cross as they looked to respond.

Liam Dolman shot wide late on but they couldn’t find an equaliser.

Hendon: McNamara, Seeby, Sprague, Fisher, Brathwaite, Diedhiou, Murphy, O’Leary, Smith, Ibe, Taggart. Subs: Worrell, Costa, McCann, Flegg, Dean.

Diamonds: Finlay, Merrill, Henderson, Dolman, Brown, Harris, Bunting, Confue, Koriya, Gearing, Turner. Subs: Shorunmu, Lorraine, Parkinson,Hewitt, Lamb-Johnson.

Goals: Smith (66 mins, 1-0).

Attendance: 424.