AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 side were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at a very wet Dog & Duck on Monday night beaten 4-1 by an excellent Biggleswade Town side.

Biggleswade dominated possession in a competitive but goalless first half, and got the vital breakthrough on 50 minutes Northfield stabbing home from 6 yards. The turning point came on 69 as Matt Pinder had a potential equaliser ruled out for offside, and Biggleswade went straight up the other end where George Bailey slotted home. They added a third from the penalty spot on 79 and a fourth, George Bailey’s second on 85. Luke Garner grabbed a consolation on 87.

Manager Darren Purse made two changes to the side that impressively beat Brackley Town 5-0 in the last round with Sam Leeson coming in at left-back in place of Sam Leach, and Luke Garner who scored as a second half substitute in that game replacing Ieuan Ivett.

On a rainy evening at the Dog & Duck the two sides started at a good tempo despite the conditions moving the ball quickly and looking for the early ball forward at every opportunity.

After some early pressure from the young Diamonds it was the away side that settled better with Keinan Davis prominent as the Biggleswade playmaker. He had a great chance to open the scoring on 6 minutes, put free in the left hand side of the box he slightly scuffed his effort which Rhys Redding held well at the near post.

Redding was called on to make an even better save on 11 as Mathew Reynolds fired in a low skidding effort that the Diamonds keeper got down brilliantly to tip round the post at full stretch.

Luke Garner and Matt Pinder combined well on a quick break to very nearly fashion a chance on 20 minutes, and Garner got away down the right 2 minutes later rounding the keeper but forced out wide his pull back to Craddock was steered towards goal but blocked by a retreating defender.

Biggleswade unbeaten in their league like the young Diamonds were the more composed in possession though and showed why they obtained such a great result in the early rounds of the competition against Corby Town.

They fashioned the next good chance as Keinan Davis so strong on the ball created a chance for Lee Northfield through sheer pace followed by an excellent turn, Redding again with safe handling on the line in tricky conditions.

Diamonds started to do better with their limited possession towards the end of the half particularly down the right wing and Harrison Desborough got past his full-back on 34 firing in a dangerous cross that Matt Pinder just connected with at full stretch but saw his effort go wide.

There was plenty of robust tackling particularly from the young Diamonds who were often at full stretch to hold quick breaking moves from the impressive Biggleswade midfield but an entertaining first half finished goalless.

Half-time:  AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 0 Biggleswade Town U18 0

Diamonds started the second half brightly and after being repelled on a good right wing move, they fashioned a chance for Matt Pinder from the left. Christy Nginamau’s cross was only partly cleared and Pinder himself was disappointed not to hit the target from 15 yards.

But Biggleswade soon built up some pressure on the Diamonds goal and got the vital first goal on 50 minutes. After a series of clever moves around the box and a couple of dangerous corners that had the young Diamonds at full stretch a cross from the left fell into the six yard box for Lee Northfield to stab home.

It was deserved on the balance of play and Rhys Redding kept his side in the tie 6 minutes later as Kienan Davis again worked a position just inside the box to fire in a shot that was brilliantly blocked.

Biggleswade were consistently good in possession denying the home side much opportunity to get back into the game but they did break on 62 to earn a corner which was hit deep allowing Craddock to head firmly towards goal only to see his header cleared off the line.

After hanging on a little as they survived two really close efforts from the otherwise excellent Keinan Davis the young Diamonds had the ball in the net on 69. A good break and powerful play from Garner saw Desborough feed in Pinder who finished superbly only to see the offside flag.

It was definite turning point as Biggleswade followed up by notching the vital second goal soon after. Good possession in centre midfield on 71 was picked up by George Bailey and he slid the ball home from just inside the box as he fell deceiving Redding.

Biggleswade continued to carry the major threat in the game and finally made the game safe on 79. Keinan Davis again jinking into the box and after a number of challenges he finally went down and the referee pointed to the spot. George Riley coolly slotted home.

They added a fourth 3 minutes later as a neat ball was slid in behind Leeson for Moore to cross low for George Bailey to finish. It was a little harsh on the young Diamonds who had battled hard against excellent opposition but they did grab a late consolation on 87. Joe Ackroyd fired in a right wing cross at the end of an excellent break for Luke Garner to steer home.

Final Score: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 1 Biggleswade Town U18 4

Biggleswade were excellent opposition and dominated possession making the young Diamonds work hard for any foothold in the game. They competed well for over an hour and had Pinder’s effort on 69 been allowed the result might have been different. Biggleswade finally found their finishing boots in the later stages though and ran out comfortable winners.

Reporters Man of the Match: Thomas Craddock

Attendance: est. 80

Match Report by Paul Judd


AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18/MAA

Biggleswade Town U18

24. Rhys Redding

2.   Sam  Leeson

3.   Jan Howzat

4.   Thomas Craddock

5.   Ben Peaks (c )

6.   Caley McTeggart

7.   Harrison Desborough

8.   Joe Ackroyd

9.   Luke Garner

10. Matt Pinder

11. Christy Nginamau


12.  Ryan Baird

14.  Ali Farah(for Nginamau 64)

15.  Ieuan Ivett

16.  Jordan Freeman

86.  Sam De Boer



1.   Mitchell Waters

2.   Bradley Stewart

3.   Josh Holmes

4.   George Riley

5.   Zachary Tyrell

6.   Matthew Reynolds

7.   Keinan Davis

8.   Oliver Fortune

9.   George Bailey

10. Lee Northfield

11. Matthew Moore


12.  Jovan Mayers

14.  Charlie Luff

15.  Daniel Smith

16.  Ewan Smailes

Goals: Garner (87)

Goals: Northfield (50), G. Bailey (71 & 85), Riley (79 Pen)

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards: Reynolds (73)

Red Cards:

 Red Cards:

Referee: Mateusz Filipiak




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