Diamonds’ brilliant run is ended at Dover

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer

AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ brilliant FA Cup run was finally ended on the Kent coast as they went down 3-1 at Skrill South side Dover Athletic.

But the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side gave their hosts more than a few scares and were level at 1-1 at half-time thanks to Alfie Taylor’s goal.

However, the hosts scored soon after the break and went on to wrap up the victory to seal a place in the fourth qualifying round draw in front of a crowd of 735.

Fazel Koryia and Taylor forced Dover goalkeeper Mitch Walker into a couple of early saves.

But it was the hosts who took the lead on 14 minutes when a disputed corner was sent in and Sean Raggett headed into the top corner.

Ricky Modeste had an effort ruled out for offside soon after but Diamonds fought back and drew level before the break.

A ball forward was flicked on by Russ Dunkley and Taylor prodded the ball over Walker.

But the Diamonds suffered a disappointing start to the second half when Tom Cross dropped a tame ball into the area and it bounced off another boot and into the net.

It should have been all over three minutes later when Craig Stone was brought down in the penalty area. It looked a soft one but justice was done when Tom Murphy blasted the spot-kick over the bar.

But the hosts continued to threaten and Michael Bakare hit the outside of the post before Barry Cogan did make it 3-1 on 74 minutes with a shot into the corner.

AFC Diamonds line-up: Cross, Merrill, Brown, Harris, Parkinson, Clarke, Liburd, King, Dunkley, Taylor, Koriya. Subs: Deakin, Whybrow, Gillingwater, Wisniewski, McBride, Gearing, Allen.