AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21 Complete Their Pre-Season Campaign

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21 side completed their pre-season campaign with a 9-2 victory at Tattenhoe against the second-string MK College U21 side.

Despite an early start to the game shortly after 6pm the Diamonds showed they were more than ready for the action as they took an early lead when Sam Leeson slotted home a James Harrison cross inside the first five minutes. Leeson added his second goal shortly afterwards after one of many powerful breaks down the right by Luke Gardner saw the resultant cross fall into his path.

Leeson was able to claim a hat-trick before the game was even a quarter-complete as he converted a penalty awarded for a clear trip in the box. With the Diamonds fourth goal coming shortly afterwards from Chris Knapp courtesy of a looping header it looked like the Diamonds might run away with the game, but their young opponents battled bravely, helped by a number of good saves from their keeper to keep the score at 4-0 for the remainder of the half.

Diamonds U21 Manager Andy Keen let his side know that he had not been happy with some sloppy play towards the end of the first period, so that they came out after the break with renewed purpose. However, the hosts also began to push forward and were able to make it 4-1 before the best goal of the game came courtesy of a curling shot from Jack Plummer restored the four goal cushion. It was then a chance for Luke Gardner to get on the scoresheet himself, with a surging run and close range shot that was deflected home, with Lewis Fisher following the ball into the net.

Luke Garner then made it 7-1 before the hosts showed they would not give up the fight making it 7-2. As the darkness descended there was still time for further goals from Lewis Fisher and Richard Platt to make the final scoreline 9-2, with a late penalty for the Diamonds taken by Chris Knapp that was well-saved by the MK College keeper.

The Diamonds U21 start their league campaign on Saturday when they visit Eynesbury Rovers (KO 2pm)