AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA U18 8 Moulton College 3

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Youth / MAA ran out 8-3 winners in a goal fest at the Malcolm Arnold Academy on Wednesday. The match, due to be played at The Dog & Duck was postponed and moved to the Academy instead.

Manager Darren Purse only had 12 players at his disposal as he decided to drop a few scholars as a “punishment” for “missing lessons and not doing work”. It turned out to be a disappointing day for the Diamonds despite the result.

It seemed like the bad start off of the pitch found its way onto it, as Diamonds found themselves two down within the first five minutes, with both goals coming from corners.

However Diamonds didn’t manage to find an instant breakthrough. As the MAA boys tried and failed to get a goal, Moulton College became more confident and made it harder for Purse’s lads. Although, they finally found a way back into the game after 35 minutes. Pinder got the game back on track with his fourth consecutive goal in competitive games.

Just five minutes later, Garner got the scholars back on level terms. This was to start a four minute goal frenzy, with two goal of the season contenders, which would set Diamonds up perfectly. After good play from Hewett down the left hand side, he pulled the ball back to Garner who tucked it away with his left foot. Then in the 42nd minute, the ball was cleared to the edge of the box and Ivett positioned himself perfectly. His right foot volley fired into the top corner. Then another stunning strike helped Diamonds to their fourth. Two minutes later, an almost identical goal to Ivett’s. However it was Garner’s turn to get his second of the game. The ball come to his weaker right hand side and the ball once again whistled into the top corner, leaving the ‘keeper no chance.

Half Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA 4-2 Moulton College.

Garner managed to complete his hattrick in the second half taking his tally to five for the season. His curling left footed shot from the corner of the 18 yard box, found its way into the back of the net after 68 minutes.

Diamonds then really were rampant, making it six, seven minutes later. After a goal mouth scramble, the ball fell to Desborough following a ricochet, and he tucked it in with his right foot. The scoring didn’t finish there. Hewett’s deflected free-kick made its way in making it 7-2 with only nine minutes left to play. Then Diamonds’ got their final goal as Ivett made it eight in the 86th minute.

In the last minute of the game, Diamonds conceded a sloppy free kick. From the resulting set-piece, the cross found an unmark man who got Moulton’s third.

Full Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA 8-3 Moulton College.

Team: Redding, Ivett, Kearney, Roache, Uddin, Weeks, Kirk (c), Desborough, Hewett, Garner, Pinder.

Sub: Leeson (Garner 45’)

Despite the eight goals Diamonds scored, manager Darren Purse was far from impressed. “Scoring eight goals is brilliant, but the three we conceded was terrible. We’ve got plenty to work on, conceding goals from set pieces. Conceding three goals from three set pieces is atrocious. We need to fix this, because we’re not going to be able to score eight goals every game.”

He said that the lads shows no respect for the opposition either. “I think we thought it would be easier than what it was. No matter who you play against, if you give the opposition time, you can make average players look like good players. I said to the boys that they need to learn to respect teams. Football has a funny way of when things are going well, it will bring you back down to earth with a bump. When we started scoring six and seven, they started to little flicks and back heels on the edge of our own box and I said ‘you wouldn’t do it at 0-0 at the start of a game so why do it?’ The lads started to take the mick a little bit and lost respect for the opposition. I said to them, after conceding the third goal that maybe it will make you realise that it’s not as easy as you think it is. They got complacent, definitely. It’s about breeding good habits, if you won’t do it when its 0-0, don’t do it when you five, six or seven nil up.

It turned out to be a day of lessons learnt for the lads rather than celebrating an emphatic victory, in which they have scored in every game apart from the defeat to Bugbrooke. “I had a few issues with players missing lessons and not doing work, so as a punishment I left them out of the side. We only had 12 players, it was different, but at the end of the day, I’m preparing players to be footballers but I’m also preparing players for life really. A few of the lads I left out, their attitudes weren’t right. But considering we were two down so early on and to in at the break 4-2 up I was really happy.”

The scholars face a stiff test next week as Birmingham City come to the Dog and Duck to face the U18s in The Dale Roberts Memorial Cup.

Report by Hayden Pott.