AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2 Olney Town Colts U18 2

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2-2 Olney Town U18

Northants Senior Youth League

Rushden’s U18s were held at home by Olney Town, but will be wondering how they failed to win the game comfortably.

The Diamonds controlled possession from the off, but the visitors looked dangerous when they had possession, and hit the bar with the first meaningful effort of the game. A left wing corner was met by the head of Mike Shaw, but although his effort beat Connor Brown the crossbar came to the Diamonds’ rescue.

Despite their possession, Rushden were struggling to break down a resolute Olney defence, with their best chances in the early stages coming from a Savvas Hamp corner which the ‘keeper fumbled, and a 20 yard shot from Jake Reynolds that was comfortably saved.

On 35 minutes, Matty Smith forced Dexter Woodward into his first real save of the game with a 20 yard shot. Woodward fumbled the ball and then appeared to bring down Reynolds as he got to the rebound first, but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.

Three minutes later the visitors took the lead, as the Rushden defence lost the ball in a dangerous area, and it was played in to Matt Stokes who fired home an excellent volley from the edge of the box.

Rushden had one chance to equalise before the half time whistle, when Woodward mishit a clearance straight to Hamp, but his 25 yard effort lacked power and was comfortably saved.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 0-1 Olney Town U18

The Diamonds’ lack of a threat in the final third had been apparent in the first half, but they immediately set about putting that right in the second half. On 50 minutes, Conor Collins picked out Smith with an excellent pass, but Woodward saved his first effort, and his low cross from the rebound just evaded Reynolds.

A minute later though they were back on level terms. Reynolds burst into the box and was brought down by Woodward, with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Joe Holmes stepped up and fired an excellent penalty into the bottom corner, giving Woodward no chance.

Two minutes later, Tommy Messinger headed over from a corner, before Smith thought he had given Rushden the lead when he turned in a Hamp cross, but was denied by an offside flag.

The best move of the game saw Smith go close again on 64 minutes, as Collins’ ball through the middle was dummied by Reynolds into Smith’s path, but although his delicate chip beat Woodward, it cannoned back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety.

Omar Ghavami, Matty Foster and Kyron Walsh joined the action a minute later, and further increased Rushden’s attacking threat. Within two minutes, Ghavami flicked on a ball from the back and Foster fired just wide from the edge of the box. Foster then turned provider for Smith, but he too fired just wide.

Foster was at the heart of all the action for the Diamonds, and headed over from a Holmes free kick, before Walsh cut in from the left wing, past two defenders before firing over from the edge of the box.

Diamonds had a strong shout for a second penalty on 75 minutes when Smith was tripped in a very similar way to Reynolds had been for the first penalty, but this time nothing was given. And the frustration was further compounded shortly after when a second goal was disallowed for offside.

With 10 minutes to go, Walsh had a great chance to give Rushden the lead when he was set up by Ghavami, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and the resulting shot lacked the power to trouble Woodward. A minute later though, the deserved second goal arrived. Ghavami burst through the middle before being tripped just outside the box, but the referee played an excellent advantage, allowing Smith to pick up the loose ball and slot it past the ‘keeper.

Jamie Inwood then went close to his first goal for the club with a powerful volley from the edge of the box as it looked like the Diamonds might run away with it in the final minutes.

However, on 85 minutes the visitors snatched an undeserved equaliser. Ryan Chamberlain lost the ball just outside his own box allowing Joe Attwood the chance to put Olney back on level terms. Brown made a great save, but the ball fell to Stenson and his effort beat Brown but was palmed away by Messinger, giving the referee no option but to award a penalty and show a red card to the Rushden right back. Jack Watson calmly tucked home the penalty sending Brown the wrong way.

Despite the setback, the Diamonds pressed again for a late winner, and had two great chances in the final minutes. Ghavami raced onto a flick but shot too close to Woodward, before Ben Roche set off on a brilliant run from the back, playing a quick on-two before bursting into the area, but he too shot straight at Woodward.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2-2 Olney Town U18

Attendance:  Approx. 50

Man of the Match: Ben Roche


AFC   Rushden & Diamonds U18

Olney   Town U18

  24. Connor Brown
  17. Tommy Messinger
  2. Jamie Inwood
  4. Noah Bryant (c)
  5. Ben Roche
  6. Alex Peters
  7. Joe Holmes
  19. Conor Collins
  16. Jake Reynolds
  10. Matty Smith
  11. Savvas Hamp

  1. Dexter Woodward
  2. George Brudsman
  3. Josh Mason
  4. Joe Attwood
  5. Liam Meara
  6. Jack Watson
  7. Joseph Williams
  8. Matt Stokes
  9. Jamie Campton
  10. Mike Shaw
  11. Elliott Stenson

  8. Matty Foster
  9. Omar Ghavami
  14. Tom Reeve
  20. Ryan Chamberlain
  21. Kyron Walsh

  13. Tom Goss
  14. Liam Beresford
  15. Matt Balmbra
  16. Tom McGeary

  Holmes (51, mins pen)
  Smith (81 mins)

  Stokes (38 mins)
  Watson (85 mins, pen)



Sent Off:
  Messinger (85 mins, deliberate handball)

Sent Off:


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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