Champions! AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s Wrap up the League Title

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 6-0 Oxford City

Northants Senior Youth League

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s long awaited game against Oxford City proved to be worth the wait, as they ran out comprehensive winners, to secure the Northants Senior Youth League Western Division title in style. Despite the atrocious weather conditions, Rushden were in sensational form, playing some of their best football of the season.

The Diamonds were in control from the off, going close inside the opening minute when Jake Reynolds raced onto Conor Bell’s through ball, taking it around the Oxford goalkeeper, but the angle was too tight and he shot into the side netting. Two minutes later, Bell and Reynolds combined again with the latter squaring for Zach Farden, but his close range shot cannoned back off the crossbar.

Farden forced the first save of the game on 10 minutes when his 20 yard shot was tipped over the bar, before Blake Helsdown forced another save after twisting and turning past his marker. The opening goal looked on the cards, and it was no surprise when it arrived on 16 minutes. Fred Devereaux’s excellent corner found the head of Reynolds who nodded home from 6 yards.

Devereaux went close shortly after with a dipping 20 yard shot which just cleared the bar, and he almost scored a freak goal 2 minutes later as an Oxford clearance was hit against him, with the ball looping up, over the ‘keeper’s head but again was just over the bar.

City had a brief spell of pressure as the half hour mark approached, with Liam Marsh putting in a dangerous cross from the left which just evaded the onrushing Drew Boyd. Marsh himself then went close with a powerful shot from 20 yards, but Alex Vitue was equal to it.

Rushden were soon back on top again though, as Bell hit the bar with a header, before Reynolds forced a good save from Bobby Gosling with a dipping 25 yards volley, and then saw a header cleared off the line. But as half time approached, two goals in two minutes saw the hosts all but make the game safe. Devereaux sent Helsdown clear with just the Gosling to beat, but although his shot came back off the bar, Reynolds was on hand to nod home from close range.

Almost straight from kick off, the Diamonds pressured the visiting defence into a mistake, and Farden’s sublime through ball sent Helsdown clear again, and this time he calmly slotted the ball home.

Half Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3-0 Oxford City

The visitors came out all guns blazing after the break, with Dan Bigden forcing a good save from Vitue with a 20 yard volley. Rushden managed to weather the storm however, both on and off the pitch, and were quickly back on top once more. A goalmouth scramble almost resulted in a fourth goal, but Helsdown struck just wide.

Adam Ziolkowski had to come to the Diamonds rescue on 61 minutes, as Vitue miscued a clearance in the worsening conditions, but just as Marsh looked set to reduce the deficit, the AFC defender came from nowhere to make a fine last ditch tackle.

On 70 minutes the hosts killed off any faint chance of an Oxford comeback, and with it guaranteed that the NSYL Western Division title would be theirs. Substitute Matt Foster burst through the City defence, only to be denied by a good save from Gosling, but the ball rebounded out to Bell who lobbed it into the net from 35 yards out.

Gosling again saved well shortly after from another substitute, Matt Smith, with Reynolds squandering a good hattrick chance by firing over the bar. Reynolds then went close again, firing against the upright after a good run and cross from Smith.

The fifth goal arrived on 85 minutes, as Bell won the ball in midfield before bursting clear of the Oxford defence and calmly slotting the ball past Gosling. And the icing on the cake came in the final minute, as Bell fed Reynolds with a great through ball, and the Diamonds top scorer smashed home his 20th goal of the season, sealing his fourth hattrick of the campaign.

Full Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 6-0 Oxford City

The victory means the Diamonds will now face Yaxley U18 in the NSYL Playoff game between the winners of the East and West Divisions. This game will be held at Cogenhoe United’s ground on Thursday evening – Kick Off 7:30pm – details here.

Attendance: Approx. 87

Man of the Match: Alex McDonald


AFC   Rushden & Diamonds

Oxford   City

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

1. Bobby Gosling
  2. Jaspar Khawaja
  3. Jack Evans
  4. Kieran Strange
  5. Grady Cherry
  6. Drew Boyd
  7. Dan Bigden
  8. Tony O’Donnell (c)
  9. Liam Marsh
  10. Liam Carroll
  11. Nick Thacker

  12. Zak Moon
  14. Matt Foster (for Farden, 60 mins)
  15. Luke Fathers (for Bond, 60 mins)
  18. Matt Smith (for Helsdown, 66 mins)
  86. Michael Brimah

  12. Andy Gillespie (for Strange, 52 mins)
  14. Jason McCabe (for Khawaja, 56 mins)

  Reynolds (16 mins)
  Reynolds (42 mins)
  Helsdown (43 mins)
  Bell (70 mins)
  Bell (85 mins)
  Reynolds (90 mins)




Sent Off:

Sent Off:

 Images Courtesy of Mal Swinden. Copyright 2013

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