Super-sub Diggin bags late equaliser for Puritans

Banbury United's Giorgio Rasulo tries to make contact with the ball at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Photo: Alison Bagley
Banbury United's Giorgio Rasulo tries to make contact with the ball at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Photo: Alison Bagley

Steve Diggin came off the bench to earn Banbury United a valuable Evo-Stik League South point at AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

The Puritans drew 1-1 at Hayden Road in a competitive encounter and Mike Ford’s side were worthy of their point. Both goals came in the second half with Diggin on the mark just as he had been in the previous encounter at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

While clear-cut chances were few and far between, the premier division central clash was played at a frantic pace in tricky conditions as both sets of players made it an entertaining encounter.

United started brightly and Giorgio Rasulo shot over early on before Amer Awadh was just off target after a driving run. Ben Heath was forced into a save at his near post after Ravin Shamsi had created some space for himself.

Diamonds gradually played their way into the game and, after the excellent Zack Reynolds produced a superb challenge to deny Shamsi, it was the hosts who went closest to breaking the deadlock. Declan Rogers lined up a 35-yard free-kick and his fine strike was helped onto the bar by Jack Harding who then gathered up the loose ball.

But Diamonds broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when a corner was only partially cleared back out to Rogers on the right. He crossed it into the danger area and, after Alex Collard had seen his effort blocked, the ball fell for Ben Diamond who made no mistake with a low drive from ten yards.

Tom Lorraine was just off target with a fierce volley after substitute Ben Farrell headed the ball into his path. Farrell also dragged an effort just off target as Diamonds hunted a crucial second goal.

But United continued to look a threat and they grabbed the equaliser in the 78th minute. Rasulo’s free-kick to the far post was headed back across goal by Ricky Johnson and Diggin stabbed the ball into the unguarded net.

United went the closest to a winner when Lee Henderson headed over from a free-kick in the closing stages.