Ashlawn School 0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA U18 3

AFC Rushden and Diamonds got back to winning ways as they comfortably knocked out Ashlawn School in the 2nd round of the English School KO Trophy. Early goals from Garner and Kirk set the youth team on the way before substitute Pinder completed the scoring seven minutes from time.

Manager Darren Purse made a handful of changes to the side that were knocked out of The FA Youth Cup four days earlier. Goalkeeper Barnes came in for the injured Redding who faces a week out of action. The other changes were to allow the other lads to show Purse what they do.

Diamonds took the lead early on. Just six minutes in, a through ball took a kind ricochet into the path of Garner, who had taken up a nice position in between the last defender and the goalkeeper. He coolly slotted in to give Diamonds an early lead.

Then the scholars doubled their advantage 15 minutes in. Captain Kirk found himself wide on the right hand side, and his “cross” found its way into the back of the net. Which would spark a friendly debate after the game as to whether it was a cross or not!

Half Time. Ashlawn School 0-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA.

Just after half time, Diamonds could’ve extended their advantage. 52 minutes in, Kirk made a great run into the box but he was brought down by the Ashlawn defender. However Ackroyd couldn’t convert the chance from the spot. 

Diamonds were in cruise control for much of the second half, however the home side looked dangerous at set pieces. Most of the Ashlawn chances came as a result of Diamonds’ sloppiness and lack of concentration.

With the match in balance and the potential of Ashlawn nicking a late consolation goal, substitute Matt Pinder put the game to bed with seven minutes to go.

Full Time. Ashlawn School 0-3 AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA.

Team: Barnes, Peaks, Kearney, Knapp, Roach, Desborough, Ivett, Kirk (c), Hewett, Garner, Ramsey.

Subs: Leeson (Hewett 75), Pinder (Garner 75), Ackroyd (Knapp 20).

Manager Darren Purse said: “There was a few really good performances. It was the first time I’ve seen a few of these boys play and they did really well. The opposition were dangerous from set pieces and we gave away a few sloppy corners an free-kicks but we were quite convincing in the win.” He then joked:

Kirk said he meant our second goal, but I don’t believe him for a minute. I’ve never done anything like that before, I don’t go that far up the pitch!”

Diamonds will now face The Robert Smyth Academy in the 3rd round – preview here.

Match Report by Hayden Pott.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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