AFC R&D U18s / MAA 5 Peterborough United U18s 2

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / Malcolm Arnold Academy kicked off their new season in The Conference Alliance Youth League with an impressive 5-2 victory, over Peterborough United on Wednesday afternoon.

Manager Darren Purse and his side went in to the game on the back of two cup victories. A one nil victory over Cogenhoe in the FA Youth Cup was followed up with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Blessed George Napier Sports College in the English College’s Trophy, just two days earlier.

The scholars were looking to make amends from the 2-1 defeat in their last game of the season against another Peterborough United XI, albeit, this time, Posh fielding a younger team.

Diamonds started the game well, and it was clear that Peterborough would be a difficult opponent from off-set, with three very promising looking attackers – but the Diamonds defence did very well to nullify the attacks.

Just 20 minutes gone and the game sprung into life. Harrison Desborough carried the ball forward on the right hand side, and he cut the ball back to Christy Nginamau, who slotted the ball in left-footed from the edge of the penalty spot, to give Diamonds a deserved 1-0 lead.

But the Diamonds conceded just two minutes later with their Achilles heel, a set-piece. A free-kick was floated in from the left towards the far post, and after a ricochet of headers by a number of players, a Posh player was on hand to tap in from three yards out.

The Peterborough equaliser just spurred the young Diamonds on again, as they took the lead for the second time after 25 minutes. Following a through ball, Matt Pinder was sent clean through one on one with the keeper. As Pinder went around the goalkeeper, he brought the striker down on the edge of the box. And after a sensible decision by the referee, to just award a yellow card rather than a red, Pinder dusted himself down to drill the free-kick into the top corner for his second goal of the season.

And the scholars made it 3-1 in the 33rd minute. Once again Pinder got the goal, which he created and finished himself. The 18-year-old received the ball and ran at the defender on the left hand side of the box, and after cutting inside, he picked out the top corner beautifully. Which was his third goal of the season, clearly playing with confidence, after where he left off last season.

Half Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA 3-1 Peterborough United U18s.

The second half was a lot quieter than the first. Matt Pinder was withdrawn at the break with a tight hamstring, and Purse not wanting to take any risks with the upcoming FA Youth Cup match. Luke Garner replaced him.

Perhaps unintentionally, Diamonds were slightly on the back foot in the second half, resulting in playing in a counter attacking way. But this style worked just as well.

Substitute Garner got Diamonds fourth and fifth. The Diamonds’ midfield worked well to retrieve the ball in the centre to turn Peterborough around and it paid dividends.

Garner was playing to his strengths by playing on the final defender’s shoulder to utilise his pace. And two simple balls through and good finishes by Garner got Diamonds fourth and fifth.

Peterborough did end up getting a late consolation goal but that didn’t hamper the Diamonds good performance.

Full Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA 5-2 Peterborough United U18s.


Report by Hayden Pott.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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