Diamonds' hopes are hit as Steelmen pick up a point

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks saw his team beaten 1-0 at Stratford Town
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks saw his team beaten 1-0 at Stratford Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central play-off hopes suffered a setback as they went down 1-0 at fellow contenders Stratford Town.

Substitute James Fry grabbed the only goal of the game with 15 minutes to go as the hosts gained revenge on Diamonds following their 2-0 defeat at Hayden Road nearly three weeks ago.

Diamonds goalkeeper Ben Heath was forced into a good save by Wilson Carvalho early on before Ben Diamond flicked a header at home stopper Laurence Bilboe at the other end.

Heath was called into action again when he brilliantly tipped over an effort from Mikey Taylor but Stratford went even closer after the restart when a cross from the right smacked off the crossbar with Alex Collard clearing the loose ball off the line.

However, the hosts did make the breakthrough on 75 minutes when the ball broke for Fry 30 yards from goal and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.

Heath made a decent save to deny Will Grocott and Diamonds piled the pressure on late on and had claims for a penalty waved away in stoppage-time when Collard’s volley was blocked by what the visitors felt was a hand.

Andy Peaks’ team will now be hoping to bounce back when they head to Rushall Olympic for a re-arranged game on Monday night.

Jamie Anton’s late goal ensured Corby Town halted a two-game losing run as they battled back to claim a 1-1 draw at Thame United in the Evo-Stik South League Division One Central.

The Steelmen, who had Connor Kennedy back after a four-match ban, went close early on with Steve Diggin’s shot coming back off the post.

And when Corby did have the ball in the net thanks to an Elliot Sandy header, the celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

It was the play-off chasing hosts opened the scoring on 26 minutes when the ball fell to Lynton Goss whose half-volley found the far corner.

Delroy Gordon saw two headers saved by the Thame goalkeeper and he also tipped another Sandy header over the bar.

The Steelmen had two penalty claims waved away in the second half after Gary Mulligan and then Joel Carta appeared to be fouled in the box.

Sandy saw a low strike saved but the Steelmen kept going and were eventually rewarded on 85 minutes when the ball fell to Anton who smashed home.

Corby will now be looking to build on that point when they take on struggling North Leigh at Steel Park next weekend.