AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Wealdstone 0 (Sat, 25 July 2015)

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Match Report by Nick DuGard: Saturday, 25 July 2015: Pre-Season Friendly: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 Wealdstone 0

It remains difficult to know just how Stones will fare when the real stuff starts in two week’s time when they travel to Bath City for their National League South opener. Wealdstone have yet to field a side containing all of their likely starters when the real hostilities commence, and, once again on Saturday, at the Dog and Duck Ground, this was the case with seven missing due to a combination of holidays and injury.

Matt Ball was back from the USA though, boosting midfield but Mickey Corcoran was unavailable and his aggression, palpable last week, was missed.

Friendlies are not really designed for full on spectator entertainment but there are always points of specific interest. For this slightly less challenging match of late, it was the solid performances of several trialists, notably Matt Bevans at right back, defender Ibrahima Diallo and Wolves youngster Luke Ifil.

Step 4 level Rushen & Diamonds are now on a ground sharing path similar to the fate that befell Stones and they are to be commended for their continuing passion to succeed with an excellent crowd in attendance at Wellingborough’s pleasant stadium.

As for the match itself, Stones lacked the energy and incisiveness in midfield to dictate proceedings but up front Josh Hutchinson, ploughing a lone furrow was unlucky with two strikes that hit the woodwork and two other really good efforts well saved by two different keepers.

Shaun Lucien was also unlucky not to net early on in the first period after a typically jinking run, but the link up play between midfield and strikers (such is available at present) needs to rapidly improve.

Clearly Stones need all their first choice players available but this will not be the case anytime soon as suspensions carried over from last term will also kick in from 8th August. In the meantime we must all get on with it but there will no doubt be more new faces to come in before the big kick off.

Wealdstone: Tim Brown, Bevans, Watts, Parker, Martin, Godfrey, Lucien, Dan Brown, Hutchinson, Ball, Binns.  Subs used: Wright, Diallo, Ifil, Bonnet-Johnson, Hope, McGleish

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