Diamonds secure vital win in the play-off race

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AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 Bromsgrove Sporting FC

Diamonds held on for a vital victory in the play-off race on a glorious afternoon at Hayden Road.

The first half was tense and edgy, with neither side able to create many clear-cut opportunities.

Nathan Tshikuna almost scored inside the opening minute when his low effort was dropped but the away defence scrambled it away, while Bromsgrove threatened with a few set-piece deliveries.

Tshikuna curled a free-kick narrowly wide, and the midfielder then set up the opening goal just before half-time as his pinpoint cross from the left was powerfully headed home by Will Jones.

Bromsgrove came close to levelling twice early in the second period as striker Callum Ebanks headed over and was then denied by Dean Snedker when through on goal.

After Jesse Akubuine had a fizzing effort held and Lewis Johnson almost forced an own-goal down the other end, Rushden did double their lead when substitute Connor Furlong jinked in from the right and curled a sumptuous strike into the far corner.

The visitors made it nervy when substitute Jamie Molyneux squirmed a shot under Snedker but, despite three minutes of stoppage time, Diamonds claimed the win as they remain three points clear of Alvechurch and move only one point behind fourth-placed Rushall.

Match report by Ollie Mortimer

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