Diamonds retained the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup again with an eventually comfortable 5 0 victory at Hayden Road on Saturday afternoon.
Another young looking Diamonds side largely dominated and took the lead on 22 mins with a Tom Lorraine far post tap in. R&H were well organised and energetic and created half chances but Diamonds came closest to a second in the first half through Will Jones and Trialist 8.
Diamonds struck just a minute into the second half to virtually kill the contest with Will Jones cleverly slotting home after a swift break following a great Ben Heath save. He made it 3 with his second from close range on 67 minutes and completed his hat-trick on 78 minutes with a great finish from the centre of the area. Academy prospect Glennon completed the scoring on 89 minutes with a solid header from a great free-kick.
Manager Andy Peaks picked another young side with Patrick Casey and Ryan Hughes paired at centre-half again with Sam Warburton and previous trialist Ben Garwood at full-back and Ben Heath in goal. Fernando Bell-Toxtle partnered with the now regular Trialist (8) in centre midfield with Jesse Akubuine. Tom Lorraine, Will Jones and another Trialist made up the front three.
Diamonds started brightly and Trialist 10 got the first effort away in just the 2nd minute dummying a tackle on the edge of the box and striking just wide. A sweeping move on 7 minutes saw Diamonds Tom Lorraine latch onto a Patrick Casey corner clearance to surge forward and slide in Jesse Akubuine who fed Trialist 8 but he slightly miss hit his shot into the keeper’s arms.
R&H had their first chance on 12 mins with a firm header from 10 yards placed just wide.
Will Jones then ran through onto a loose ball on 15 minutes but got his feet slightly stuck under him as the away keeper closed him down and saved well. The R&H keeper made an excellent scramble save just 2 minutes later as a Ben Garwood’s cross was turned towards his own goal by a defender but he grabbed it on the line as Tom Lorraine closed in.
The opening goal came on 22 minutes as the pressure mounted. A free-kick to the back post was hooked back across goal by Trialist 8 through a crowd on the line to the far post where Tom Lorraine poked home from less than a yard out.
Diamonds full-backs were strong all afternoon and each had good chances on 32 minutes with Sam Warburton falling in the box when clean through at the end of a great move and Ben Garwood cutting inside to shoot just over from 25 yards.
R&H had a big chance to equalise on a rare foray forward on 40 minutes when a long throw bounced through the area and the Diamonds defence but with the goal gaping it was prodded just wide.
Half-time: Diamonds 1 R&H Utd 0
Diamonds doubled their advantage just a minute into the second half immediately after Ben Heath made a great save to keep his side ahead. His diving save was picked up by Diamonds and moved quickly up the park where Will Jones ran in on goal and prodded into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
Diamonds subs around the hour mark including Nat Gosnal-Tyler, Matt Slinn, and Ben Diamond if anything improved Diamonds especially when joined by Joel Gyasi and Trialist 18. Gyasi twisted in the box on 62 mins and just fired wide before Gosnal-Tyler and Matt Slinn were involved in the build-up to the Diamonds 3rd goal on 67 mins. Their side to side passing unsettled R&H and got Trialist 18 wing-back free down the left where he went past his man and crossed low to the far post for Will Jones to tap home.
After three more chances in quick succession for Trialist 10 (twice) and Trialist 18 inside the area Diamonds made it 4 on 78 minutes. Trialist 18 won the ball back high up the pitch and surged down the left before crossing to Will Jones who took a touch and move to the right before slotting home for his hat-trick.
Academy prospects goalkeeper Nixon and centre-half Will Glennon joined the action for the last 10 minutes and it was Glennon who completed the scoring as he rose to head home a left wing free-kick in fine style.
Final Score: Diamonds 5 Rushden & Higham Utd 0
Another good workout for Diamonds who had to work hard to subdue a hard working R&H Utd. Will Jones goal a minute into the second half to add to Tom Lorraine’s first half effort broke R&H resistance and he went on to add two more with Will Glennon adding the 5th.
That’s 19 goals scored and just 1 conceded in 5 games against lower ranked opposition this pre-season but the challenge ramps up next week with the game against Northampton Town which is being played at The Dog & Duck in Wellingborough.
Reporters Man of the Match: Will Jones
Match Report: Paul Judd