AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA climbed to the top of the table, with a 4-1 over title rivals Tresham College, at the Malcolm Arnold Academy.

It was Diamonds’ first of two games in the space of two days, with a small squad, which include 15-year-old Durrel Dasant Wedderburn.

In the first 20 minutes of the game, Diamonds were superb. The scholars dominated the game, doing everything right. They were completely on top, with Tresham unable to get out of their own half.

The MAA lads made their dominance count on 14 minutes. Full-back, Bradley Grundy played the ball forward up to striker Matt Pinder, and he comfortably put Diamonds 1-0 in-front.  

However, the next 20 minutes was completely the opposite. Tresham seemed to have woken up and they started to get on top in the midfield. The Diamonds’ midfield allowed Tresham’s too much time and it wasn’t a surprise, when the away side equalised.  

The goal came from the midfield, where after 21 minutes, the Tresham midfield carved open the scholars’ defence with some intelligent play, found their striker to slotted past Rhys Redding in goal to make it 1-1.

With the scholar’s looking likely to go into the break all square, it took a wonder goal from Sam Leeson to give Diamonds the advantage back. On 40 minutes, the winger came inside, beating his full back, pulled onto the centre back and stroked the ball into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot. To give the hosts a 2-1 advantage.

Half Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA 2-1 Tresham College.

After the break, neither side could grab the game by the scuff of the neck. It was a bit end to end but the scholars’ soon calmed down and look in control of the game.

Manager Darren Purse made some changes, introducing Wedderburn who plays for the U16’s. He slotted in on the right hand side and made an immediate impact.

After 51 minutes, a cross came in from the left hand side, and Wedderburn got in first, just before substitute Luke Garner did to nod in at the near post to make it 3-1.

Then with ten minutes left, centre-half Chris Knapp scored a striker’s finish. Following a cleared corner, the ball fell to Knapp on the edge of the box, he chested it down and fired into the net to give Diamonds a 4-1 lead.

Full time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA 4-1 Tresham College.

Team: Redding, Grundy, Knapp, Roache, Peaks, Ackroyd, Kirk (c), Leeson, Desborough, Hewett, Pinder.  

Subs: Weeks, Wedderburn, Garner, Uddin.

Manager Darren Purse said: “The first 20 minutes we were terrific, we did everything right. Moved the ball around well, creating chances and getting the ball back to front quickly. Then for the next 20 minutes wasn’t good enough. I told them at half time, first 20 was great, but the second 20 wasn’t good enough and it isn’t what I expected of them. I explained about game management. When we’re in the lead, and playing well, you don’t change things, but I think they got carried away and it went a little bit wrong.”

The result puts the scholars top of the league, with at least one game in hand over their title rivals. Diamonds also have a much better goal difference over the chasing pack.

Match report by Hayden Pott.

 
 
 

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