SATURDAY SPORT '“ Diamonds make it 12 league games without defeat as Poppies and Steelmen both draw
AFC Rushden & Diamonds returned to winning ways and made it 12 games without defeat in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South with a 3-0 success at Loughborough Dynamo.
Diamonds welcomed back Brad Harris and top scorer Nabil Shariff after suspension while Tom Lorraine also returned after a virus and Ben Ford was handed a start.
However, there was no place for Nic Evangelinos with it is believed he has now left the club due to a change in personal circumstances.
Ford shot over early on but Diamonds did take the lead on six minutes when a corner wasn’t cleared properly and Lorraine fired home.
Rory Winters had an effort cleared off the line but Diamonds did double their lead just past the half-hour when Ford turned on the left of the box and shot home inside the near post for his first goal for the club.
Danny Durkin went close for the hosts but Diamonds were only denied a third when the home goalkeeper saved well from Lorraine.
Diamonds’ cause was helped 10 minutes into the second half when Sean Phillips was sent off for a second bookable offence when he tripped Lorraine.
Taylor Orosz flashed an effort wide soon after and then Shariff clipped the bar from a tight angle.
But it was 3-0 on 73 minutes when a long throw from Sam Brown found Lorraine at the far post and he side-footed home to complete the victory.
Gary Mills claimed his first point since taking over at Corby Town as they battled out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Ashton United at Steel Park in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Mills handed debuts to goalkeeper Louis Connor and midfielder Steven Leslie who joined the club this week while Jamie Tank, Stefan Moore and Phil Trainer all made their first home starts.
Corby started well with Jordon Crawford shooting into the side-netting before they took the lead when Tank fired a low shot home for his first goal for the club, shortly after Ritchie Branagan had saved Brad-Lee Gascoigne’s header.
But Ashton levelled when Alex Frost bundled home after Richard Smith’s header had come back off the crossbar.
The visitors were gifted the lead on 33 minutes when Connor and Nathan Fox collided for a long ball and Lee Gaskell scored into the empty net.
But the Steelmen drew level before the break when Moore scored from the penalty spot after James Jepson had been fouled by Mason.
Ashton regained the lead when Connor was unable to hold on after a first effort from Frost and the defender fired home his second of the day six minutes into the second half.
There were few chances after that but Corby drew level with 15 minutes to go when Moore raced through and was brought down by Branagan as he went round him.
And Moore picked himself up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
Branagan saved a low strike from Moore soon after
Kettering Town claimed a useful point as they returned from high-flying Hitchin Town with a 0-0 draw in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
Rene Howe returned to the Poppies’ starting line-up but there was no place in the squad for either Matthew Barnes-Homer or Aaron O’Connor.
Kettering were only able to name four substitutes with one of them being James Brighton, who returned after suffering a knee injury in last weekend’s FA Trophy defeat at Witton Albion.
The first half proved to be open and even with Liam Gooch saving from Spencer Weir-Daley before Dean Snedker saved Robbie Burns’ shot before scrambling back to gather it off the line.
Weir-Daley went close when he shot just wide and Liam Canavan was also off target before the break.
The Poppies started the second half on the front foot with Gooch denying Weir-Daley again before James Haran had an effort blocked.
Gooch saved from Rene Howe and Weir-Dalley had a shot blocked as the chances kept coming.
The home goalkeeper made two good stops to deny Howe while Snedker made a good late save from Dan Webb’s header as neither side was able to find a breakthrough.