SATURDAY SPORT '“ Shariff wins it for Diamonds, Steelmen are beaten and Poppies draw
Nabil Shariff was the late hero as AFC Rushden & Diamonds as they took a giant step towards the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South play-offs with a 2-1 victory over fellow contenders Leek Town at the Dog & Duck.
It was an even first half with few chances and Leek went close when Chris Budrys saw his header come back off the crossbar.
But it was Diamonds who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Nabil Shariff flicked Liam Dolman’s high ball on and Ben Farrell stabbed it home at the far post.
Diamonds went close in the second half when Shariff hit the post and then Farrell’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Alex Morris.
But Leek went close themselves when Tim Grice flicked a header narrowly off target.
The visitors drew level on 68 minutes when a corner from the left was flicked on and Darren Chadwick’s volley found its way in off the underside of the bar.
Sam Grimshaw wasted a great chance for Leek soon after when he blazed over after being sent clear on the left but it was Diamonds who grabbed the crucial winner.
Substitute Tom Lorraine did the leg work and he found Shariff who turned and fired home.
Corby Town’s survival hopes in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division suffered a blow as they went down 3-0 at Barwell.
Gary Mills was able to name an unchanged team again and the Steelmen had the ball in the net in the first half but Phil Trainer was flagged offside after connecting with Ben Milnes pass.
And Barwell responded by taking the lead on the half-hour through captain Brady Hickey.
The Steelmen went close after the break when a cross was deflected onto the post with Craig Stanley clearing the danger.
Former Corby striker Callum Ball almost grabbed a second for Barwell from an Eddy Nisevic cross but the Steelmen’s fate was sealed 10 minutes from the end when Miles Smith headed into his own net.
And Barwell finished things off in stoppage-time when Ryan Baldwin made it 3-0.
Kettering Town claimed a point in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division as they drew 3-3 at Frome Town.
The Poppies were dealt a blow before the game with Brett Solkhon being injured in the warm-up and he was replaced by Liam Canavan.
And they were caught cold when James Fitzgibbon beat Paul White with a shot after a good run after just 30 seconds.
But Kettering hit back to level on 18 minutes when Aaron O’Connor headed home a cross from the lead.
In a topsy-turvy half, Frome regained the lead when Fitzgibbon grabbed his second with a header on 33 minutes.
But the lead lasted just three minutes on this occasion with James Brighton scoring a fine goal after a good break from the Poppies.
Kettering took the lead for the first time in the game on 56 minutes when James Hall’s cross was deflected into his own net by Jordan Walker.
But Frome hit back through Ollie Knight’s volley on 68 minutes and that completed the scoring.