First Team vs. AFC Rushden and Diamonds (1 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield FC were left cursing their luck at The Home of Football, writes Stuart James, as they came up a fraction short in a 2-1 home defeat against AFC Rushden and Diamonds.
In front of the largest home crowd of the season, Club fell behind after an 8th minute goal from Ben Farrell, with Tom Lorraine getting a second on 65 minutes.
However, a late surge and an 81st minute James Gregory header saw Diamonds holding on for dear life, and were thankful for a penalty miss and a last ditch goal-line clearance to send them home with all three points.
It was an entertaining battle from the off, and having forced AFCRD onto the back foot with a succession of early corners, it was the visitors that struck first.
Diamonds took the lead in the 8th minute, as Sam Brown’s long throw was only half cleared by the Sheffield defence, with FARRELL finishing with a spectacular bicycle kick from 10 yards out that evaded keeper Danny Haystead.
Sheffield looked rather jaded for the rest of the first period, and seldom looked the potent threat that had done in their last two league games, with Haystead clearly the busier of the two keepers.
As they had in the first half, Club came out the blocks quickly in the second period, and could easily have levelled through Matt Roney and Pat Lindley’s efforts.
Diamonds doubled the lead midway through the half, as a free-kick from Joe Curtis wasn’t cleared well enough, with the ball falling kindly to LORRAINE who was able to poke it through the mêlée to make it 0-2.
If anything, the second goal woke Sheffield up, and the hosts had a chance to get back into the game when Andrew Gascoigne threaded the ball through to Ant Wilson, who was upended by keeper Matt Finlay.
The penalty from Matt Roney, however, was uncharacteristic from the usually reliable veteran who placed straight at the keeper.
The hosts eventually got on the scoresheet in the 81st minute, as a Joel Purkiss cross was deflected on in the middle of the area by Wilson, with GREGORY nodding home at the back post.
It could easily have ended level in injury time, as a cross was met by the head of Ant Wilson, only to see Liam Dolman bravely head off the line to deny what could have been a fantastic comeback.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, Royles, Hanna, Lindley, Cooksey ©, South, Roney, Tinsley, Wilson, Denton, Gregory. Subs: Hamid, Magee, Gascoigne, Purkiss, Goodwin.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds: Finlay, McNulty, Brown, Harris, Dolman, Farrell, Shariff, Koriya, Lorraine, Bunting ©, Curtis. Subs: Heath, Leslie, Orosz, Ford, Brownhill.
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