SATURDAY SPORT: Diamonds' lead cut again after another loss as Steelmen are well beaten
AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered a second defeat in a row as they went down 2-1 at Hartley Wintney.
Having held an eight-point advantage at the top of the Evo-Stik South League East at one stage, Diamonds’ lead at the summit is now down to two points while the chasing pack have also closed the gap in the battle for the two automatic promotion places.
Things started perfectly as Diamonds took the lead after just two minutes when Ben Farrell latched onto Joel Gyasi’s through-ball and found the net.
But Hartley, who are one of those chasing Diamonds at the top end of the table, levelled things up just past the half-hour when Dean Stow curled a fine shot into the top corner.
The hosts were presented with the chance to take the lead just before the hour when they were awarded a penalty after Liam Dolman was adjudged to have handled in the area.
And Stow stepped up to beat Ben Heath from 12 yards.
Tom Lorraine went close on two occasions and new signing Spencer Weir-Daley saw an effort saved after he came off the bench.
But Diamonds were unable to find a leveller and will now hope to bounce back when they entertain Uxbridge on Tuesday night.
Corby Town’s hopes of finishing in the play-offs in the Evo-Stik League South look to be all-but over after they were beaten 5-2 at Lincoln United.
The Steelmen handed a debut to young goalkeeper Dan Smith and they should have gone in front early on but Phil Trainer volleyed over an open goal.
The hosts took the lead two minutes later when Charlie Ward scored after a scramble but they had to wait until early in the second half for their second as Sean Wright headed home.
Matt Cotton’s fine curling shot and a Paul Grimes goal made it 4-0 before Jamie Anton pulled one back from a corner.
Former Steelman Phil Watt grabbed Lincoln’s fifth and Jordon Crawford’s effort proved to be only a consolation as Corby were well beaten.
The Steelmen now sit in 11th place, 11 points off the play-off places ahead of Monday night’s home clash with Kidsgrove Athletic at Steel Park.