AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 1 Wellingborough Whitworth U18 0


 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Wellingborough Whitworth

Northants Senior Youth League

Following an enforced break of more than two months, AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s finally took to the pitch once more, running out 1-0 winners over neighbours Wellingborough Whitworth.
The Diamonds had been in fine form prior to the break, opening up a 10 point lead at the summit of the NSYL Western Division table, thanks to an impressive run of seven consecutive league wins. It was unsurprising that the team looked a little rusty on this occasion, but a Ben Roche goal early in the second half was enough to see them home against bottom of the table Whitworth.

The Diamonds started the game brightly and almost took the lead inside 2 minutes. Blake Helsdown’s right wing corner found the head of Zak Moon who nodded towards goal, but saw his effort headed off the line.

The league leaders were controlling possession well, but struggling to find that killer ball in the final third. They continued to threaten from set pieces though, with another Helsdown corner causing problems on 13 minutes, with the ball being deflected inches over the visitors bar.

On 19 minutes the hosts finally put together the sort of move that they had entertained the supporters with for most of the season, as a quick break from the back saw Zach Farden burst forward down the right flank before squaring to Reynolds just inside the Whitworth penalty area, but his shot was well saved by James Ward.

Reynolds, the league’s leading scorer, was starting to cause plenty of problems for the Whitworth defence, and he shot just wide from 25 yards as the half hour mark approached. Shortly after, captain Zak Moon received the ball 10 yards from goal, but he too shot narrowly wide.

The visitors’ first real chance of the game didn’t arrive until 34 minutes. A long ball evaded the Rushden defence, allowing Nick Lee to race through on goal, but he was denied by a fine save from Alex Vitue.

Reynolds had his, and the Diamonds’ best effort of the half on 42 minutes, picking up a loose ball before skipping past 2 defenders and hitting a powerful shot that was well saved by James Ward. The rebound fell to Reynolds again but he couldn’t adjust his feet in time and fired well wide.

Having not threatened for most of the half, it was Whitworth who finished the first period stronger, with Ash going on a good run down the left flank before firing over from a tight angle. From the resultant goal kick, Vitue’s kick only went as far as Wises, who hit a decent effort from 20 yards, but Vitue recovered well to make the save.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0-0 Wellingborough Whitworth

Rushden started the second half positively, as they had the first, and a dangerous free kick from Moon in the opening minutes was well fielded by James Ward.

The deadlock was broken on 53 minutes, and was a goal of real quality. Reynolds switched play with a great ball to Helsdown on the right wing, and he in turn fed the overlapping Ben Roche who carried the ball into the area, before firing across goal and into the bottom corner.

Rushden kept up the pressure and good work down the left wing from former Whitworth midfielder Conor Bell, presented Reynolds with the chance to make it 2-0, but his shot was well blocked by a covering defender.

With 68 minutes on the clock the Diamonds should have doubled their lead, as another set piece caught out the visiting defence with the ball falling to Moon just 6 yards from goal, but he tried to break the net with his shot and ended up firing well wide of the post.

The game appeared to be petering out after that with no chances of note for either side. That was until the final 10 minutes when the game suddenly came to life again. Ant Willey took advantage of some sloppy Diamonds defending, beating Alex McDonald on the edge of the penalty area, before firing a shot just wide of Vitue’s goal.

More hesitant defending then allowed Ash a shooting chance on the edge of the box, but he blazed the ball well over the bar. Ash nearly made much better use of a softly awarded free kick a couple of minutes later, hitting a powerful 25 yard strike inches wide of the post.

The visitors’ frustrations were beginning to show, and things almost started to boil over with two players booked in as many minutes. Walter was perhaps a little fortunate only to see yellow after shoving Reynolds, before his teammate Muir was booked for dissent soon after.

The final chance of the game fell to Reynolds in stoppage time as he raced onto a great through ball from substitute Fred Devereaux, but although he skipped past ‘keeper James Ward he couldn’t quite keep the ball in play and the chance was gone.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Wellingborough Whitworth

Attendance: 65

Man of the Match: Alex McDonald


AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Wellingborough Whitworth

24. Alex Vitue
2. Ben Roche
5. Adam Ziolkowski
6. Alex McDonald
15. Luke Fathers
4. Noah Bryant
7. Zak Moon (c)
8. Conor Bell
9. Zach Farden
10. Jake Reynolds
11. Blake Helsdown

1. B. James Ward
2. J. Bromwich
3. C. Mallows
4. K. Walter
5. J. Muir
6. J. Clewer (c)
7. A. Willey
8. N. Lee
9. J. Ash
10. C. Wises
11. J. Butterworth

14. Matt Smith (for Helsdown, 72 mins)
16. Liam Bond (for Roche, 53 mins)
17. Fred Devereaux (for Fathers, 53 mins)

12. D. Wooder (for Lee, 63 mins)
14. H. Langley (for Butterworth, 63 mins)
15. K. Spall
16. I. Speighton (for Wises, 88 mins)

Roche (53 mins)



Walter (89 mins, unsporting conduct)
Muir (90 mins, dissent)

Sent Off:

Sent Off:


For Match highlights see here.

Images courtesy of Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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