Here is a summary of our teams’ performances from the last two weekend’s league and cup action.

Under 12s

Bilbrook Junior F.C. U12s   3 v 6   AFC Rushden & Diamonds U12s
Played at Bilbrook Juniors F.C., Wolverhampton on 21st March

Diamonds travelled to Wolverhampton to play Billbrook Juniors. The pitch although in good condition was more suited to 7 a side and initially suited the home team. Diamonds could not get their passing game together and in the first period Billbrook took full advantage with Chad Smith finishing from close range. Diamonds continued to work hard and Arek Rozycka made it all square with a good finish to level the game at 1 each.

Although the game was scrappy Diamonds tried to get the ball down and combine with Arek Rozycka again tooking advantage conjuring something out of nothing with another fine finish to make it 1-2. Diamonds also created other chances and the Billbrook keeper made some great saves throughout the game. Having already scored a brace Arek Rozycka again scored in the 2nd period to complete his hat trick but Billbrook pulled one back just before the end with Chad Smith getting his second.

The third period saw a free kick from distance and very positive strike from Jake Lilley add to the tally to make it 2-4 but Myles Low pulled another back for Billbrook making it 3-4 at the end of the period.

The fourth period saw some of the best football with Diamonds starting to combine and cause Billbrook problems in their third. The pick of the goals came when Crispin Jackson played a ball out to the right for Charlie Pearson to play first time for Arek Rozycka to finish with a left foot volley. With the Diamonds boys now firmly in the ascendancy William Jones was played in and he finished well to make the final score Billbrook 3 v 6 AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

We wish Billbrook the best of luck for the rest of the season.

JPL match report can be found here

Under 13s

Leamington Hibs F.C. U13s   2 v 1   AFC Rushden & Diamonds U13s
Played in Coventry on 14th March

Made the trip to Coventry to face Leamington Hibs. Without either of our two goalkeepers and 5 players injured or unavailable this game would test the lad’s character and resilience. Nathan Boness went in goal and we welcomed Charlie Pearson from the U12’s.

Leamington started strongly and looked to exploit the wide areas and won a number of corners in the first period. We had talked about defending at set pieces and the lads did their jobs well and took responsibility. Leamington were picking up the second balls though in this period and after a good clearance from our defence Elliott Strutton was quick to react and fired a shot into the far corner making it 1-0.

Diamonds regrouped and started the 2nd period on the front foot. Intensity and quality of passing was good and we started to create a number of chances. Alex Rust unlucky to bring us level after a fantastic goal line clearance from a Leamington defender. Our midfield really worked hard and when the ball went into Taran he showed strength and quality and looked to combine. Neither side added to the tally but the quality of the football when the teams got the ball down was high.

The shape of Diamonds off the ball was pleasing and we broke up many Leamington attacks denying space and working as units. The middle three of Dan Lyons, Freddie Barker and Robbie Meadows started to find pockets of space and kept the ball well and Robbie Meadows and Taran Dhawli combined and set up Carter Brophy for a well deserved equaliser. With the quality Diamonds started to create other chances and the team as a whole were a credit to themselves throughout.

Leamington started the fourth period strongly but Diamonds matched them in all departments, this game could have gone either way but it was Leamington following a great save from Nathan Boness that capitalised and Jack Cutler finished well to make it 2-1.

We wish Leamington all the best for the rest of the season and hope that Ethan Meadows makes a speedy recovery from broken collarbone he sustained during the game.

JPL match report can be found here

Under 14s

Histon F.C. U14s   2 v 2   AFC Rushden & Diamonds U14s 
Played at Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon on 14th March

Everything about this match was a great advert for the Junior Premier League with some excellent football on display. Harry Lamb for Diamonds and Rory Nicholson for Histon both scored a brace of goals. Development was the big winner today!

JPL match report can be found here

Alvechurch F.C. U14s   3 v 5   AFC Rushden & Diamonds U14s
Played at Leafield Athletic, Solihull on 21st March

This was a friendly match due to no further league fixtures planned for AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

JPL match report can be found here

Under 15s

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U15s   3 v 2   Solihull Moors F.C. U15s
Played at the Malcolm Arnold Academy, Northampton on 14th March

This was a quarter final match in the JPL Knockout Shield (planner can be found here).

Some great football was played by both sides but neither side broke through until a defensive mistake lead to Solihull taking the lead. Diamonds hit straight back through top scorer Osei Hayford who is averaging a goal a game. Diamonds dominated in the third quarter and added two further goals. The final quarter was quite even but it was the visitors who added their second from a deflection. Diamonds now have earned a home tie in the semi-final.

JPL match report can be found here

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U15s   3 v 1   St. Neots F.C. U15s
Played at the Malcolm Arnold Academy, Northampton on 21st March

Please see Marcin’s excellent match report on the JPL website here

Under 16s

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U16s   3 v 2   Histon F.C. U16s
Played at the Malcolm Arnold Academy, Northampton on 14th March

After securing an away win in the reverse of this fixture, Diamonds were looking to do the double over their Cambridgeshire visitors.

Early exchanges were end-to-end with an eventful first period that saw Diamonds take a 2-1 lead. Home skipper, Jamie Mastropierro, added a 3rd for Diamonds to take a 3-1 at half-time. Histon hit back to make it 3-2 early in the second-half. The home team lost their way a bit in the third quarter but they hung on and defended well in the final period and even created some good chances, only to be denied a late penalty appeal. Yet another great advert for the game and the JPL!

JPL match report can be found here


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