AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 4 Irchester Utd U18 1

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4-1 Irchester United

Northants Senior Youth League

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s bounced back following last week’s defeat to Northampton Spencer, with a comfortable victory over bottom of the table Irchester United. Manager Mark Walsh was without leading scorer, Jake Reynolds, and club captain, Zak Moon, both through injury. Their absences meant a first start for recent signing Matt Foster in midfield, while Matt Smith was restored to the starting lineup in attack.

The Diamonds immediately got their slick passing game going, and were doing a much better job of keeping possession than they had done the previous week. They were met by a very well organised Irchester back line however, often consisting of 6 or 7 players, as the visitors looked to soak up the pressure and hit the hosts on the break. This meant that scoring chances were hard to come by in the opening stages of the game.

It was 18 minutes in before the Diamonds managed to penetrate the stubborn Romans’ defence, as Fred Devereaux picked out Matt Smith with a delightful chip. Smith burst into the area, taking the ball past ‘keeper Liam Allaway who clearly blocked him as he attempted to reach the ball, but the referee waved away the Diamonds’ penalty appeals. Rushden did have the ball in the back of the net on 25 minutes, as Conor Bell picked out Blake Helsdown with only Allaway to beat, but although he tucked the ball home the assistant had already flagged him offside.

A minute later the visitors registered their first shot on goal as a Bleu McNeil volley from 20 yards was easily saved by Alex Vitue, and the Diamonds immediately went up the other end and opened the scoring. Noah Bryant picked up the ball in midfield and played a terrific pass through to Smith, who this time had managed to avoid the offside trap, and took the ball around Allaway before slotting home.

Irchester came close to drawing level on 34 minutes, when a long ball from the back caught out the Rushden defence, and Zak Wood raced onto it before lobbing over the advancing Vitue, but the Diamonds’ ‘keeper managed to recover well and stop the ball before it reached the goal.

As half time beckoned the hosts doubled their advantage. A dubious corner was awarded in Rushden’s favour, and Devereaux’s excellent delivery was headed home by Matt Foster.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-0 Irchester United

The Diamonds were quickly into the ascendency again after the break, and extended their lead on 53 minutes. Foster was the provider this time, with a great ball through to Matt Smith, who produced a carbon copy of the finish for his first goal.

Irchester started to come into the game more as the half went on, and went close to pulling back a goal when the lively Jonny Duncan fired narrowly wide from 20 yards. They went closer still on 74 minutes when substitute James Mann was robbed in possession, allowing Jordan Asher to burst through on goal, but substitute ‘keeper Michael Brimah made a fine save on his Diamonds’ debut.

Rushden netted their fourth of the game on 84 minutes, as Helsdown danced his way through a tiring Romans’ defence, before squaring to Conor Bell who had the simple task of tapping in from close range. They were inches away from a fifth just two minutes later, as another excellent Devereaux set piece found the run of Smith, with a chance for his hat-trick, but his header flicked the top of the bar.

With the game deep into stoppage time, and 4-0 looking the likely full time score, the visitors were awarded a free kick some 35 yards from goal. Only Michael Dimmock will know if his effort was a shot or a hopeful ball into the area, but the ball dipped and swerved, deceiving Brimah, before flying into the top corner via the inside of the post.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4-1 Irchester United

The win cements the Diamonds’ place at the top of the NSYL Western Division table, with only two more games left to play; away to third placed Daventry Town on May 2nd, and at home to second place Oxford City, date TBC.

Attendance: 56

Man of the Match: Matt Foster

Teams:

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Irchester United

24. Alex Vitue

2. Ben Roche

14. Zach Farden

4. Noah Bryant

5. Adam Ziolkowski

6. Alex McDonald (c)

7. Matt Foster

8. Fred Devereaux

9. Matt Smith

10. Conor Bell

11. Blake Helsdown

1. Liam Allaway

3. Hayden Pott (c)

4. Bleu McNeil

5. Tom Morris

6. Michael Dimmock

8. Jonny Duncan

9. Zak Wood

10. Tyler Maher

11. Cordell Francois-Noel

17. Jordan Asher

18. Michael Campbell

Subs:

22. James Mann (for Farden, 46 mins)

86. Michael Brimah (for Vitue, 55 mins)

Subs:

7. Tom Doherty (for Morris, 59 mins)

12. Kwesi Darka (for Duncan, 70 mins)

16. Martin Jone Fouvage (for Campbell, 78 mins)

Goals:

Smith (27 mins)

Foster (40 mins)

Smith (53 mins)

Bell (84 mins)

Goals:

Dimmock (90+3 mins)

Bookings:

None

Bookings:

None

Sent Off:

None

Sent Off:

None

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Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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