Johnson strikes late as Diamonds seal a remarkable win

Andy Peaks saw AFC Rushden & Diamonds team bounce back from their New Year's Day defeat with an incredible 4-3 success at Hitchin Town
Andy Peaks saw AFC Rushden & Diamonds team bounce back from their New Year's Day defeat with an incredible 4-3 success at Hitchin Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed an incredible 4-3 win at Hitchin Town after a remarkable clash in the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central.

Diamonds looked to be in control after they took a 2-0 lead, only for the hosts to hit back to go 3-2 up.

However, having been on the end of a last-gasp goal on New Year’s Day, Diamonds did it themselves as a late equaliser was followed by an even later winner with Sam Johnson’s first goal for the club sealed a fine win and sending Andy Peaks’ team back into the top five.

Peaks was forced into changes with Zack Reynolds and Sam Brown both missing from the squad and that meant recalls to the starting line-up for Matt Berry-Hargreaves and Declan Rogers while recent signing Ben Acquaye was named on the bench.

Diamonds went in front on 15 minutes when Albie Hopkins’ cross was headed back across goal by Tom Lorraine and Ben Diamond was there to nod home.

And the lead was doubled five minutes later when a corner dropped to Alex Collard whose shot was saved by Michael Johnson but it landed at the feet of Lorraine who smashed home.

Hitchin got back into it when a long throw was flicked on and Isaac Galliford fired into the top corner on the volley.

Diamonds were denied a third before the break when Lorraine saw his effort saved by Johnson after he had been sent clear by Hopkins.

But Hitchin levelled the match up in the second half with Galliford on target again as he slid the ball past Ben Heath.

And, just eight minutes later, the Canaries took the lead when Matt Nolan curled an excellent shot beyond Heath, who had made a fine save to deny Galliford his hat-trick moments earlier.

Peaks made a triple change with Johnson, Jack Bowen and Joe Curtis all being introduced.

And the changes eventually paid off in stunning fashion.

Bowen made it 3-3 with a minute of normal time remaining when he looped home a header after Collard had headed on a corner.

And the decisive moment arrived in the third minute of stoppage-time when Matt Berry-Hargreaves’ cross from the right was headed home by Johnson.