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Stratford Town fall to defeat at AFC Rushden & Diamonds





FOOTBALL

Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-0 Stratford Town

Report by Bryan Hales

A SPARKLING second half performance from AFC Rushden & Diamonds sent Stratford Town tumbling to defeat at the Hayden Road Sports Centre last night, Tuesday.

Without the suspended duo of Jamie McAteer and Jordan Williams, Stratford had the unfamiliar pairing of Albi Skendi and Lewis Wilson in the centre of their defence while Jimmy Fry and Wilson Carvalho were recalled to the starting line-up after being on the subs bench at the weekend.

Stratford had the advantage of kicking down the slope in the first half and Chris Cox had an early shot blocked, but they had a let-off in the 15th minute when the Diamonds won their first corner.

Ross Etheridge came to collect it but failed to do so and it was eventually cleared by Wilson

Ross Oulton, playing against his former club, was then yellow carded for bringing down Sam Johnson 30 yards out, but Declan Rogers could only slam the free kick straight into the Stratford wall.

The Diamonds were looking sharp going forward and their leading scorer Tom Lorraine had a header comfortably held by Etheridge, but it was Stratford who went close to opening the scoring five minutes before the break when Nabil Shariff’s shot on the turn was pushed away by Diamonds keeper Ben Heath.

With the slope now in their favour the Diamonds were soon on the attack after the restart.

A surging run from Johnson set up a chance for Lorraine but the danger was snuffed out by a perfectly timed Cox tackle followed by Etheridge turning behind a fierce effort from Nathan Hicks at the foot of his right hand post.

But the Diamonds pressure told in the 59th minute when Etheridge pushed out a header from Ben Diamond and Liam Dolman blasted the lose ball into the net.

And ten minutes later the Diamonds doubled their lead when a long ball over the top sent Johnson racing clear to thump it past the advancing Etheridge.

Stratford tried hard to get back into the game but the closest they came to pulling a goal back was a Wilson Carvalho free-kick which was spectacularly palmed over by Heath with two minutes to go.



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