AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2 Northampton Spencer U18 3

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-3 Northampton Spencer

Northants Senior Youth League

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s slipped to only their second defeat of the season, again at the hands of Northampton Spencer, the same team who had inflicted their only previous defeat with an early season victory.
Manager Mark Walsh had a virtually full strength side to choose from, and included new signing Matt Foster in the squad.

The opening stages of the game set a tone for the whole match, with the Diamonds having the lion’s share of possession without really troubling the Spencer goal, and the visitors looking dangerous on the break. The hosts were dealt a real blow on 10 minutes though, as the league’s leading scorer, Jake Reynolds, was forced off with a hamstring strain.

It was Rushden who first threatened to open the scoring, with a Fred Devereaux free kick being curled narrowly wide of the post, before Blake Helsdown latched onto a ball down the right flank before firing in a shot which visiting ‘keeper Corey Haslehurst parried away.

On 18 minutes though the visitors opened the scoring, as Zak Moon lost possession inside his own half, and Jeff Obeng picked out Bret Akenten with a neat through ball, and the striker calmly slotted the ball past the advancing Alex Vitue.

The game then quietened down after the opening goal, and it wasn’t until the half hour mark that either side had a chance of note, Devereaux again going close from a free kick. The visitors responded a minute later, getting in behind the Rushden defence with the ball being squared to Callum Peach but he scuffed his shot leaving Vitue with a simple save.

On 34 minutes however, the visitors doubled their lead. A terrific defence splitting pass from Said Hashim found Peach in space on the edge of the Diamonds’ penalty area, and he neatly tucked the ball past Vitue.

Rushden soon got themselves back in the game though, pulling a goal back on 40 minutes. Devereaux set off on a great run from deep inside his own half, before crossing the ball for Helsdown who curled home a great shot from 12 yards.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-2 Northampton Spencer

The Diamonds would have been bitterly disappointed with their first half performance, and things went from bad to worse just three minutes into the second half. The ball was played into the Rushden penalty area from the left wing, where Peach found himself with all the time in the world to take the ball down, turn and then hit a powerful shot into the side of the net, giving Vitue no chance.

Again the Diamonds were quick to respond, reducing the deficit just two minutes later. Devereaux was again the provider, this time picking out Matt Smith with a right wing cross, and although the striker mistimed his initial header, the ball fell kindly for him and he smashed it into the roof of the net.

Once again, the game settled down after the lively opening to the half, with neither side really threatening the opposite goal. The Diamonds normally slick passing game had deserted them for this game, with a number of straightforward passes going astray, while the introduction of Adam Ziolkowski early in the half helped shore things up in defence.

It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that the game really sprang into life again. Helsdown created a great chance for an equaliser when he put in a dangerous cross for Smith, but his 6 yard volley flew high over the bar.

Two minutes later, Ben Roche set off on a good run down the right flank before picking out debutant Matt Foster with a low cross, but the new signing scuffed his shot just wide of the post. That signalled the last real scoring chance of the game, as the visitors hung on to complete the double over the Diamonds.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-3 Northampton Spencer

Rushden remain top of the NSYL Western Division table with just 4 games left to play, although the chasing pack have edged ever closer. They are in action again next Monday as Irchester United visit the Dog & Duck.

Attendance: 75

Man of the Match: Fred Devereaux


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Northampton Spencer

24. Alex Vitue
2. Ben Roche
14. Zach Farden
4. Noah Bryant
5. Liam Bond
6. Alex McDonald
7. Zak Moon (c)
8. Fred Devereaux
9. Conor Bell
10. Jake Reynolds
11. Blake Helsdown

1. Corey Haslehurst
2. David Sibanda
3. Sam Gillingham
4. Ben Harris (c)
5. Jacob Gartland
6. Jeff Obeng
7. Jake Sharpe
8. Billy Patching
9. Callum Peach
10. Bret Akenten
11. Said Hashim

12. Matt Smith (for Reynolds, 10 mins)
16. Adam Ziolkowski (for Bond, 53 mins)
17. Michael Brimah
18. Matt Foster (for Bell, 61 mins)
20. James Mann

12. Jordan Sweeney (for Hashim, 66 mins)
14. Kevin Sonnenschein (for Peach, 80 mins)
15. Jack Burns- Sharp (for Akenten, 74 mins)

Helsdown (40 mins)
Smith (50 mins)

Akenten (18 mins)
Peach (34 mins)
Peach (48 mins)



Sent Off:

Sent Off:

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