AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA put one hand on the league title with a 7-0 demolition of Derby College on Wednesday afternoon.

The scholars were superb for all of 60 minutes before taking their foot off the gas in the final half an hour, when they should have really gone on to win by double figures.

Rhys Barnes was away completing his Duke of Edinburgh award and Chris Knapp and Sam Roache were unavailable due to academic reasons. So that left Diamonds with only two substitutes.

The scholars broke the deadlock early on after seven minutes they found the opening goal. Harrison Desborough put in an out-swinging corner and it was met by the head of Jacob Kearney at the far post with a towering header to put Diamonds 1-0 up.

Just five minutes later, the ball was in the back of the net again. Desborough had started the game brightly and he had beaten his marker on the right hand side and put in a deep cross to the back post. The Derby defender had failed to head the ball to safety and top scorer Matt Pinder chested the ball down and rolled it into the corner of the net to make it 2-0.

Then after 22 minutes, a long ball was played forward and the Derby central defender had punted the ball wayward. It allowed Sam Leeson to nip inbetween the centre half and full back and slotted the ball under the onrushing keeper when one on one to get the MAA’s third.

Then just before half time, Desborough was involved again and got his third assist of the game. After 36 minutes, Desborough had drifted out to the left hand side, beat his marker and got to the byline. The ball was pulled back to the penalty spot where Nathan Weeks was waiting ready to smash the ball in to make it 4-0.

Half Time. Derby College 0-4 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA.

The second half continued in the fashion of the first half. It only took two minutes after the break to make it 5-0. It came as no surprise as yet another Desborough corner was met in the exact same fashion as Diamonds’ first. Kearney had met the corner but this time at the near post and scored.

The scholars’ sixth came after 55 minutes and yet again Desborough was the provider for his fifth assist. His corner was put in and the keeper was unable to deal with it and following a goal mouth scramble, Kearney got his hattrick by tapping in.

Just after the hour mark, substitute Luke Garner put Rushden 7-0 ahead. The striker beat his man and cut inside onto his right foot and his shot took a deflection off the Derby defender and went in the back of the net.

Following the seventh goal, the scholars took their foot off the gas and tried to do spectacular things.

Matt Pinder had at least three good chances when one on one with the keeper. But he tried to score the special goal by attempting to chip the ball over him and give the keeper the eyes.

Captain Ryan Kirk had a fantastic long distance strike which was brilliantly saved by the Derby goalkeeper. But the scholars’ wouldn’t go on to make their goal difference count and the game finished as it was after 60 minutes.

Full Time. Derby College 0-7 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA.

Team: Redding, Peaks, Kearney, Uddin, Grundy, Kirk (c), Ivett, Desborough, Leeson, Weeks, Pinder.

Subs:  Ackroyd, Garner.

After the game manager Darren Purse was disappointed with the attitude his players showed.

“We were excellent for the first hour of the game, we did everything right. Attitude was spot on, I really couldn’t fault them. But the lads took their foot off the gas and started taking liberties for the last half an hour of the game.

“Ideally we should have gone on to win the game 10/11/12 nil but we tried silly things and I’m not happy about that because we’re supposed to show teams respect and the lads didn’t do that. We need to be ruthless and it was a good chance to improve our goal difference. I guess it will come with age but there will be bigger tests that this for us to come and they need to be ready for that.

“I was delighted with our fourth goal, it’s one we’ve worked on during training. It’s pleasing to see them replicate it during the game and score from it.”

By Hayden Pott.


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