Bottom side Arlesey lost to Southern League East leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday. But the score only tells half the story as this contest was so much closer than could have been expected.
If the challenge wasn’t big enough already the Blues lost Tony Williams in the warm-up.
It once again made an outball difficult all game and with the Diamonds pressing hard Arlesey had to defend for long periods.
However they did this well, keeping the attacks at arms length for a lot of the game, and it took 40 minutes for the leaders to score a well taken goal when Joel Gyasi netted.
However Arlesey stunned the leaders and a large crowd when they netted a deserved equaliser seven minutes after the break. A corner that came out to a returning Cade Stephens-Abbey who headed it back to Joe Steele, and he nodded onto Henry Musay to slot past the keeper. It was only the 14th goal that Rushden have conceded this season.
Again the visitors pressed forward and 10 minutes later they got a penalty for a foul right on the edge of the area that ex-Arlesey player Ben Farrell converted. Arlesey were again pushed hard but Rushden could not break through again and it finished with a narrow win for the leaders.
There were several positives Arlesey could take from this game – the return of Cade Stephens-Abbey, and also Taz Andrews, and in the most part Arlesey matching the league leaders. Hopefully forward players will also soon return to Arlesey that cutting edge.
The Blues visit Hartley Wintney on Saturday.