AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Hitchin Town 1


Southern League 2021-22

Hayden Road1 Hayden Rd, Rushden NN10, UK

AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Hitchin Town
2 - 1
Final Score


For a while it seemed that the Canaries were going to lay the ghost of the 7-1 mauling at Hayden road last season and even a deserved draw was denied them right at the end when a needlessly conceded free-kick allowed the hosts to sneak a winner, having come from behind. When it seemed a deserved draw was the likely outcome, a needless free kick was conceded and diamonds snatched a winner in the last minute of normal time.

After the expected departure of Callum Stead to South Shields, his replacement was a very able Rio Dasilva, and it was good to see skipper Dan Webb back in the side after injury as he heads towards his four hundredth appearance for Hitchin Town, who went some way towards laying the ghost of the 7-1 mauling they received at Hayden Road last season.

Having been the better side in the first period, and leading from an undisputed penalty, scored by Alex Brown, Hitchin lost their way in the second half, and like the nation’s garages they seemed to run out of fuel. It was quite perplexing as the visitors had played well and contained what threats they faced with a degree of comfort.

An early free-kick for the hosts was far too heavy and was indicative of further efforts. With a degree of irony there was a multi-passing Hitchin move, with a lot of ‘square’ passing, little triangles etc and it ended up with a free -kick for the hosts. This was entirely wasted and after William Jones received a long forward ball, his effort was blocked, but gained a corner. This was partially cleared but led to a shot from Ravin Shamsi, causing a routine save from Charlie Horlock.

Although Hitchin had not fully settled they were able to break down forward moves – but their own were a little wayward. Alex Brown and Dan Akubuine tried a move but the goalkeeper Dean Snedker intervened smartly. Crosses that did get in were generally a little too close to the goal keeper and we were still waiting for a clear shot on goal from Hitchin.

There was a free-kick, wide on the right and Dasilva won a corner from this, and that brought another – but they afforded no clear chance and Henry Snee’s attempted shot deflected off a knee for another Hitchin corner. With this bit of pressure bringing little reward there was a shot from Jones from Rushden that Horlock held. Dasilva, lively and dangerous throughout won a free-kick, centrally at about twenty-five yards. This was deflected for a corner and as this sailed across, there was a perceived handball from, I think, Alex Collard, and there was little or no protest. We had almost played half an hour and once more Alex Brown obliged from the spot.

A forward ball for the energetic Shamsi was too heavy and Dasilvas effort had pace but was way too high. Shamsi’s next effort was decidedly weak with a free shot and Jones’ header was held by Horlock. A sneaky ball across the penalty area looked in vain for a Hitchin boot and once more Shamsi tried his luck, shooting wide.

Josh Caldicott-Stevens received a caution for, presumably, an over robust challenge and once again we saw a totally wasted free-kick. Right at the end of the half there was a Hitchin corner, a great time to double the lead but it was not to be. It was not the most pulsating of halves but importantly Hitchin had kept their shape and had contained their opponents in a busy midfield and it was generally felt that diamonds were not as strong a side as last season.

It was inconceivable that he visitors would come out just to defend their lead and although they did come very close to scoring, their best moments were well defended. For some spells it did seem containment without entertainment, but the hosts managed to wrestle the initiative and bagan to look more and more dangerous in attack.

Luke Brown’s assistance gave Dasilva a chance but again he was too high and a cross from Warburton enabled a shot from Williams, saved by Horlock. In a promising Hitchin move, Dasilva unselfishly played a reverse pass and from the cross Snee hit the post at a very tight angle. He did verty well as it was not as simple as it looked.

Diamonds surged forward again, but most attacks were broken down, but they did get close to scoring through a defensive error but effort went for a goal kick. Following a free-kick from Claudio Dias, Shamsi was at last able to get on the score sheet with a low drive of quality that found the bottom left corner. The goal was times at sixty-two minutes. Given the home side’s urgency and penetration it did look as is it was coming.

Hitchin now looked entirely vulnerable, and another Dias free-kick saw Horlock save another header and Shamsi was definitely up for another goal, his next effort bringing a corner for the hosts. Luke Brown shaped for a shot that was well blocked and there was also a blocked effort from Jones following a Rushden corner. There was an assistance from Hitchin’s Jones but Dasilva dragged it wide. Alex Brown’s effort brought a corner that was cleared and Kye Tearle came on for Luke Brown. Tearle was pleasingly involved and from one cross, following a free-kick Webb only just missed a header. Had he connected I am sure he would have marked his return with a vital goal.

Snee won a free-kick in a good position but this was unaccountably wasted. Tearle had a fine moment or two in possession, did all the hard stuff in evading tackles but then blasted a cross that was far too heavy. Akubuine had a shot that was optimistic and wayward.

Then came the moment that lost the match. We were in the ninetieth minute and we felt a draw was the equitable and acceptable result, but a kamikaze moment conceded a free-kick in a dangerous area and from this Diamonds’ skipper Collard headed in the winner. It was a bitter pill. We felt for the Hitchin team who had played generally well and would have been boosted by a positive result since they face a difficult trip to Tamworth on Tuesday. So, two victories, five defeats and no drawn games as yet is not the best start and the team is hovering about that region that can cause consternation.

Dean Snedker, Ben Garwood, Sam Warburton, Jay Williams, Patrick Casey, Alex Collard, captain, GOAL, 90 MINUTES, Jesse Akubuine, (Tom Lorraine), Claudio Dias, (Joel Gyasi), William Jones, Ravin Shamsi, Man of the Match, GOAL, 62 MINUTES, Nathan Tshikuna, (Fernando Bell-Toxtle).
Substitutes not used – Liam Dolman, Connor Furlong.

Charlie Horlock, Dan Akubuine, Alex Brown, PENALTY GOAL, 28 MINUTES, cautioned, Ryan Smith, Dan Webb, captain, Ciaren Jones, Lawrie Marsh, Josh Coldicott-Stevens, cautioned, Rio Dasilva, Hitchin star man, Luke Brown, (Kye Tearle), Henry Snee.
Substitutes not used – Malaki Black, Delsin Ackom, Lewis Barker, Steve Cawley.

REFEREE: Mr R Ricardo, assisted by Mr P McVey and Mr H Moir.




Competition Season
Southern League 2021-22