FA Cup – Diamonds upset Northwood but Poppies and Ar Tarn go out

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas

AFC Rushden & Diamonds caused one of the upsets of the FA Cup preliminary round with a fantastic 2-1 success at Northwood.

But it was a bad day for Kettering Town and Desborough Town who suffered 2-0 and 4-2 home defeats to Gresley and Loughborough University respectively.

Mark Starmer’s ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division Diamonds went 2-0 up in the first half against their Calor League Division One Central opponents thanks to Alfie Taylor and Matt Gearing.

And they held on to go through to the first qualifying round despite the hosts pulling a goal back in the second half.

Northwood started the better with Tom Cross making a couple of early saves.

But it was Diamonds who struck with two goals in the space of five minutes to put themselves in control.

Joe Merrill found Taylor and he fired home with the aid of the far post. If that was good, better was to follow when, on 35 minutes, Gearing took aim from 25 yards and his stunning strike made it 2-0.

Northwood pulled a goal back just past the hour as Niko Muir finished well.

But Diamonds held on for a famous win and might have added another late on from Russ Dunkley.

At Latimer Park, Kettering boss Dean Thomas made two changes to the team that won 1-0 at St Ives Town with Jake Newman coming in for James Tricks and Dave Deeney replacing Andy Gooding, who started a three-match suspension.

It proved to be a fairly even first half with few chances at either end as Rob Spencer blasted wide for the visitors while Jake Newman glanced a header wide for Kettering.

But it was Gresley who went in front three minutes before half-time. Eric Graves was released on the right and his cross was met by Royce Turville who beat Michael Quirke to the ball and finished into an empty net.

Kettering went close early in the second half when Jonathon Thorpe’s shot was brilliantly tipped over by Ross Etheridge.

But Gresley grabbed their second when Rob Spencer stabbed into an empty net after Michael Quirke’s poor clearance was knocked back to the Gresley striker.

The Poppies rarely threatened after that and could have no complaints as they went out.

Steve Walker’s Desborough found themselves 2-0 down with Josh Hill putting the students in front before an incredible run and finish from Tristan Dunkley doubled the visitors’ advantage.

However, Ar Tarn were given hope before half-time when Paul Caswell pulled a goal back and they carried on from that goal in the second half as Michael Byrne pulled them level on the hour.

However, Loughborough missed a penalty five minutes later but still went on to claim victory with two further goals.