AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 3 Olney Town U18 0

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3-0 Olney Town

Northants Senior Youth League

Three late goals saw AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s record their second victory of the season at the expense of Olney Town.
The Diamonds controlled possession throughout the game, but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal until the introduction of Matt Smith with 20 minutes remaining. The substitute netted twice and played a part in the third goal, to cap a superb cameo for the recent signing.

Rushden were quick to get the ball down and start playing their neat passing game, but failed to make any inroads into the Olney defence in the opening stages. The first chance of note arrived on 12 minutes, when a Conor Dauven corner from the right found the unmarked Conor Bell, but he didn’t get enough on his header and glanced the ball well wide.

The visitors were quick to respond, with Sam Guilmard firing in a dangerous shot from 35 yards that only just cleared the crossbar. A minute later Ben Roche was caught in possession just outside his own penalty area, allowing Guilmard to run through on goal, but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Alex Vitue in the AFC goal.

The Diamonds should have gone ahead on 25 minutes as a long ball caught out the visiting defence, allowing Jake Reynolds to race through on goal, but with just the ‘keeper to beat, Rushden’s leading scorer this term dragged his shot narrowly wide.

Olney’s best bit of play of the first half came on the half hour mark as Daouda Cisse and Guilmard combined well down the left flank, before the former fired in a shot from a tight angle which clipped the top of the bar.

The final effort of note in an entertaining but goalless first half came from Dauven on his first start for the club. The diminutive winger cut inside from the left wing and hit a good effort from 25 yards which flew just wide of the Olney upright.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0-0 Olney Town

It was the visitors who started the second half the stronger, with Cisse forcing a good save from Vitue just 5 minutes after the restart, but the Rushden stopper tipped the ball around the post at full stretch. From the resulting corner, Connor Kenchington fired a near post volley narrowly wide. Seconds later Guilmard should have opened the scoring after pouncing on a short back pass, but Vitue made a stunning reaction save to keep his side level.

The Diamonds were quickly back on top though, with Dauven firing inches wide from 20 yards, following a good run by Reynolds. With the hour mark approaching, Blake Helsdown went close to scoring a wonder goal, flicking the ball over a defender’s head before volleying towards goal, but visiting ‘keeper Dan Shaw tipped the ball around the post. The resulting corner found its way to Bell right in the centre of the penalty area, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed the ball high over the Peter De Banke terrace.

With 15 minutes remaining the hosts had a decent penalty shout as substitute Matt Smith was dispossessed inside the Olney box, with the ball bouncing up and hitting the defender on the arm, but the referee waved away the Diamonds’ appeals.

As the Olney defence began to tire, the lively Smith then setup another substitute, Anthony Ottaway, whose 20 yard strike was deflected into the side netting. The opening goal appeared to be on the cards, and it arrived just two minutes later. Ben Roche’s inch perfect right wing cross picked out Smith, whose excellent header looped over Shaw and into the top corner of the net.

With little time remaining, Olney had to throw men forwards which left them susceptible on the break, and on 84 minutes the Diamonds exploited this to perfection. An Olney free kick was quickly cleared upfield by Bell, allowing Smith to burst clear of the defence with great pace, before smashing the ball home with aplomb.

It was 3-0 just one minute later, as Smith pounced on a defensive error and raced through on goal, and although Shaw denied him his hattrick with a good one-on-one save, the ball broke to Noah Bryant who calmly lobbed the ball over Shaw from 30 yards for his first Rushden goal.

The Diamonds didn’t let up there, and Smith had another great chance for his hattrick after being sent clear by Ottaway’s superb through ball, but Shaw again made an excellent save.

The final chance fell to the visitors however, as a great run from Liam Meara down the left flank saw him setup Kenchington just 6 yards from goal, but the striker failed to trouble Alex Vitue.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3-0 Olney Town

Attendance: 61

Man of the Match: Matt Smith

Teams:

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Olney Town

24. Alex Vitue
2. Ben Roche
5. Adam Ziolkowski
6. Alex McDonald
3. Liam Bond
4. Noah Bryant
7. Zak Moon (c)
8. Conor Bell
9. Blake Helsdown
10. Jake Reynolds

11. Conor Dauven

1. Dan Shaw
2. Jamie Clampton
3. Matt Stokes
4. Alex Smail
5. Joe Attwood
6. Liam Meara
7. Wesley McGrath
8. Sam Haslam
9. Matt Cunningham
10. Daouda Cisse
11. Sam Guilmard

Subs:
12. Zach Farden (for Bond, 60 mins)
14. Anthony Ottaway (for Helsdown, 75 mins)
15. Luke Fathers
16. Matt Smith (for Dauven, 67 mins)
17. Omar Ghavami

Subs:
12. Ryan Smith
14. Elliott Stenson (for Guilmard, 67 mins)
15. Connor Kenchington (for Cunningham, 46 mins)
16. Tom Megeary

Goals:
M. Smith (78 mins)
M. Smith (84 mins)
Bryant (85 mins)

Goals:
None

Bookings:
None

Bookings:
None

Sent Off:
None

Sent Off:
None

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Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2012 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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