MIDWEEK SPORT '“ Diamonds march on with a crucial victory as poor Poppies are held at home
AFC Rushden & Diamonds claimed a crucial win as they beat Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central promotion rivals St Ives Town 2-0 at the Dog & Duck.
Second-half goals from Tom Lorraine and Claudiu Hoban secured a priceless three points as Diamonds maintained their push for automatic promotion.
Diamonds had the better of things in the first half with Jon Stevenson forcing Tim Trebbs into an early save before Dan Quigley fired over from the rebound.
The hosts had a penalty shout waved away for an apparent push on Brad Harris and they went even closer to taking the lead when Claudiu Hoban struck the post with a 25-yard effort.
Diamonds had another appeal for a penalty when a cross from Luke Hipwell appeared to strike an arm and then Hoban hit the woodwork again when his shot crashed off the crossbar early in the second half.
But Diamonds did take the lead on 52 minutes when the ball fell to Tom Lorraine after good work from Hoban and the striker lashed home from 18 yards.
Lorraine had a great chance to double the lead but he could only shoot straight at Trebbs after a good pass from Hoban.
St Ives were off target with a couple of opportunities but Diamonds grabbed the second goal with 10 minutes to go when Hoban found the top corner with a free-kick.
Kettering Town’s play-off hopes in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division suffered a blow as struggling Frome Town fought back to earn a well-deserved 1-1 draw in the Poppies’ first home game of the year.
The hosts soon got into their stride and Spencer Weir-Daley had a shot saved by Darren Chitty before he also blocked a far-post header from the frontman.
But Kettering took the lead on 18 minutes when a shot from Rene Howe hit an opposing hand and Wilson Carvalho stepped up to score from the spot, despite Chitty getting a good hand to it.
Marcus Mapstone headed wide for Frome and George Miller was just off target with another effort.
But the Poppies finished the half well with Howe and Liam Canavan both being denied by Chitty.
Canavan was off target with a volley early in the second half but Frome remained a threat and Craig Hill made a decent save to deny James Fitzgibson after he raced clear.
The visitors continued to work their way back into it as the Poppies struggled to retain possession and it was no surprise when they equalised with 13 minutes to go.
Gary Mulligan brought down Mitchell Page in the area and Kris Miller sent Hill the wrong way from the spot.
Hill tipped over a header from Jake Jackson soon after and Frome should have won it at the death when substitute Josh Jeffries had time to pick his spot but shot straight at Hill.