Diamonds hit back twice to earn a point

Ben Diamond scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' second goal in their 2-2 draw at Redditch United
Ben Diamond scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' second goal in their 2-2 draw at Redditch United

AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ final game before Christmas brought with it a share of the spoils on the road as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Redditch United.

Diamonds dropped out of the play-off places in the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central as a result of their second successive draw away from home but remain firmly in contention to challenge for a top-five spot in the second half of the season.

There were chances at both ends early on with Ahmed Ali curling one over for the hosts before Redditch did break the deadlock on 28 minutes when Harry Franklin beat Ben Heath with a low shot after the ball dropped for him.

Micah Jebbison sent a free header over as the hosts hunted a second but Diamonds go themselves back into it on the stroke of half-time.

Home goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse denied Ben Farrell but the visitors got back on level terms soon after when a long throw from Sam Brown was missed by Whitehouse and Declan Rogers’ header was deemed to have crossed the line before a defender cleared.

Redditch regained the lead 12 minutes into the second half when Andrew Parsons’ header beat Heath, despite the stopper getting a hand to it.

But Diamonds continued to battle away and Whitehouse tipped an Albie Hopkins effort around the post before the second equaliser arrived with nine minutes to go.

This time a cross came in from the left and Ben Diamond headed it up and over Whitehouse.

And Diamond so nearly nicked all three points for his team in stoppage-time when his shot following a corner was blocked with Redditch eventually clearing the danger.

Diamonds return to Hayden Road on Boxing Day when they take on St Neots Town.

Corby Town’s clash at Welwyn Garden City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

With leaders Peterborough Sports winning, it means the Steelmen are now six points off top spot in the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central while they are four behind second-placed Bromsgrove Sporting.

Steve Kinniburgh’s team should return to action on Boxing Day when they take on Coleshill Town at Steel Park.