One Andy Burgess!

(Above: A nice pub, pre-match)

Rushden held the league’s top goalscorer yesterday, as they earned all 3 points at the New Lawn with a 1-0 win. An Andy Burgess strike was enough to seal the game as, despite a first half in which FGR dominated, Rushden moved up to 15th in the table.

(Above: passing through a picturesque village on the way to the game)

The game ultimately ended FGR’s hopes of a play-off with the gap now 9 points. FGR had enjoyed a high position for the majority of the season, but have become inconsistent of late, and have now dropped to 8th in the table.

(Above: Enjoying the long, long walk to the away end)

(Above: Somewhere, over the rainbow. )

(Above: the players emerge)

The home side enhoyed the majority of the opportunities in the first half, but failed to get the ball past Dale Roberts. Within the first minute the keeper made a great save to thwart Stuart Fleetwood’s attempt to score his 27th league goal of the season.

(Above: Fleetwodd has not scored for 5 games, but has had considerably more success in tackling bins)

(Above: A FGR free-kick goes high and wide)

The second half saw Rushden get more into the game. Shooting at the opposite end of the 100 or so travelling fans, Andy Burgess scored after some good play by Abdul El-Kholti. The strike was his 7th of the season.

Sam Smith once again was brought on, and almost immediately scored, his strong shot bouncing to safety off the post. The U18 side’s top scorer looks set to remain with the senior squad for the remainder of the season, after training with the squad for the last 2 months or so.

Diamonds head of youth Paul Driver said: “It’s great to see these
lads coming through the system – especially when they are local boys.

“Sam is a model professional both on and off the pitch. He looks after
himself, works hard and deserves it.

“He only came to us midway through last season on non-contract terms and now he’s part of the full squad here.

“Sam has done well in training and he got the nod in midweek when the manager had a full set of strikers to select from.

“He wasn’t too nervous. He has still been playing for the youth team on
Saturdays to get match practice. Now I’m hoping I don’t see him much as that will mean he’s getting a chance in the first team.”

“Not a bad performance overall, with a few of the normal starters rested ahead of a busy schedule over the next 2 weeks.”

“Great saves by Dale Roberts, good second half performence, [we] deserved the win”

“Enjoyed the facilities, it was a good day”

With a tight schedule for the end of the season (Rushden are set to play a game every two games or so until the end of April), the Diamonds did well to get 3 points on the board before the rush begins. With Sam Smith looking likely to get a starting role against Stafford on Tuesday, the end of the season could be an interesting preview to next season in terms of starting positions.

(Above: a pleasant drive home)

Were you at the game? Comment is free.

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