An AFC Rushden & Diamonds XI team made up of first team players, U21s and U21 trialists drew 4-4 in an entertaining friendly game at Langford FC on Tuesday night, with second half goals from Jake Reynolds and a hat-trick from a trialist being matched by four goals from the hosts.

With First Team Manager Any Peaks watching from the dugout, U21s Manager Andy Keen took charge of the team and lined the Diamonds up in a 4-4-2 formation which had Qunicy Shorunmu in goal, a back 4 of Mark Watts, Ollie Lee, Alex Harker and a Trialist with Bunting being joined in central midfield by Ryan Coyle, Matty Gearing and Greg Ling taking up their favoured positions on the right and left hand sides of midfield respectively and Russ Dunkely and Jake Reynolds up front. Patrick Tulley was joined on the bench by four further trialists and as the Diamonds, experienced in attack and youthful in defense, lined up facing away from the clubhouse, many amongst the small crowd were predicting goals to warm them up on a cool Bedfordshire evening.

Diamonds almost broke the deadlock from their first attack as a good move down the right hand side resulted in the home goalkeeper having to save well from Gearing. Minutes later, Reynolds was brought down by an agricultural challenge as he tried to turn in the opposition penalty area and, although Richard Bunting grabbed the ball confidently to place it for the resultant spot-kick, the former Kings Lynn Town skipper leaned back to side-foot the ball over the right-hand side of the cross-bar. Diamonds were looking bright down the left flank, with Ling having a chance to run at the Langford full-back, however the home defense stood firm and as half-time approached, the energy which had been present game began to peter out, in part due to some lengthy stoppages whilst the referee chose to speak to several of Langford’s players.

Half-time: Langford 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0

The Diamonds rang the changes at half time with Trialist(2) moving to left-back and Ollie Lee making way for Patrick Tulley who slotted into a right back role. Ryan Coyle was replaced by Trialist(14) with Matty Gearing moving to central midfield to allow the youngster to take up his favoured position on the right hand side. The pacey winger had an almost immediate impact, as he followed up well at the back post to re-centre a deflected cross which found Reynolds perfectly positioned to turn home. This set-back did not deter the hosts though and they quickly found themselves on terms as a ball into the box evaded the covering defenders and was turned home at close range. Watts was then forced off after an injury being replaced by Trialist(15) who moved into a right-back role, whilst the diminutive but adaptable Tulley took over the centre back position. After this change, Langford were almost immediately in front after a ball over the top beat the re-arranged Diamonds defense and a striker won the race with Shorunmu to slot home, colliding with the Diamonds stopper in the process, who required a lengthy break for treatment before the restart. They then moved into a two goal lead after a ball down the right hand channel found a player, who looked for all the world to be offside, through on goal and was duly converted. Langford’s lead then became four with the goal of the game, as a home winger cut inside from the left and curled a peach of an effort into the top right-hand corner of the Diamonds net from 20 yards out, giving Shorunmu no chance.

Most around the ground would have probably concluded that, as the game entered the final 10 minutes, the outcome was a certainty, however Trialist(14) had other ideas. He soon made the scoreline 4-2 by following up a close-range effort from Dunkely and beating the ‘keeper, who had done well to save the initial effort, to the ball at the far post to tap home. At this stage, Andy Keen brought on his final two trialists and changed to a 4-3-3 formation. The replacements made an immediate impact, with Trialist(16)’s first contribution to the game being a nicely weighted through ball for Trialist(14) whose touch took him past the onrushing goalkeeper to slot home. With the game now very open, there was still time for Langford to have a chance at the other end, which was well saved, and then for Trialist(18) to threaten the home defense from his role on the left. However, the final word went to Trialist(14) as he completed a five minute hat-trick, picking the ball up in a fairly innocuous position 25 yards out and unleashing a well-struck effort that caught the goalkeeper napping and entered the right-hand side of the net as he scrambled to get across to it.

Full-time: Langford 4 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4

After an entertaining run-out for an unusual Diamonds team, with several U21s players including Harker, Tulley and trialists coming out with huge credit, the first team can now look forward to Saturday’s clash with Oadby Town whilst the U21s travel to Stamford to face Football CV.

Attendance: 31

Man of the Match chosen by the match reporter: Alex Harker

 

Langford FC

 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1. Dan Eley

2. Luke Nicholl

3. Luke Holt

4. John Vooght

5. Angus Stewart

6. Chris Butler

7. Connor Waite

8. Matt Kenneford

9. Patrick Daly

10. Ryan Nicholl

11. Ross Scotney

Subs

12.Craig Nield

14. Jack Stanton

15. Michael Moss

16. Owen Beale

17. Quincy Shorunmu

2. Trialist

3. Mark Watts

4. Ryan Coyle

5. Alex Harker

6. Olly Lee (c)

7. Matt Gearing

8. Richard Bunting

9. Russell Dunkley

10. Jake Reynolds

11. Greg Ling

Subs

12. Patrick Tulley (for Lee HT)

14. Trialist (for Coyle HT)

15. Trialist (for Watts 64)

16. Trialist (for Bunting 82)

18. Trialist (for Gearing 82)

Goals: Vooght(2), Daly(2)

Goals: Reynolds, Trialist(3)

Yellow Cards: none

Yellow Cards:none

 
 
 

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