Dale Roberts Memorial Cup Review

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 6 Cleveland Juniors 1


AFC Rushden & Diamonds recorded their first victory in the annual Dale Roberts Memorial Cup, as Dale’s first and last clubs met for the third time to honour the popular late goalkeeper.
Among the crowd of approximately 200, were Dale’s parents, George and Isabel Roberts, along with his young nephew, Evan. Local brewer and club sponsor, Hart’s Brewery, produced a special “Dale’s Ale” in support of the event, with the profits being donated to the Dale Roberts Memorial Fund.

On a glorious July afternoon, following the now traditional minute’s applause, the new-look Diamonds side started the game strongly, passing the ball around comfortably, and they opened the scoring on 10 minutes when a good move down the right wing saw Omar Ghavami’s cross turned in by a Cleveland defender for an own goal. The good start got even better just two minutes later, as a defence splitting pass from midfield found Tommy Messinger cutting in from the left flank, reaching the ball just ahead of the onrushing Cleveland goalkeeper, who clipped Messinger just inside the box, with the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot. James Mann stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, giving Jack Smith no chance.

With 21 minutes gone the hosts came close to a third goal when Luke Fathers’ left wing free kick cannoned back off the crossbar, with Jake Reynolds unable to find the target with the rebound. The visitors then had a good spell of pressure, forcing Rushden ‘keeper Connor Brown into two good saves with shots from the edge of the box.

But just as it looked as though Cleveland might pull a goal back, the Diamonds extended their lead with a well taken third goal. Good play down the left flank between Messinger and Noah Bryant saw the ball squared to Joe Holmes on the edge of the penalty area, and he turned his marker before firing the ball into the bottom corner.

As they had done early in the game, the hosts again hit Cleveland with two quick-fire goals, making it 4-0 on 37 minutes. Reynolds set off on a good run down the right, cutting inside and hitting a powerful shot that was well saved by Jack Smith. The rebound fell kindly for Ghavami who swiveled and fired home from close range.

The visitors had one further chance to pull a goal back before the interval, but again found Brown in good form between the sticks.

HT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 4-0 Cleveland Juniors

Rushden made several changes at the break, but looked just as strong as they had done in the first half. In the opening minutes, Ghavami set off on a good run down the right wing, producing a sublime ‘nutmeg’ to beat his marker, before squaring to Holmes, but his shot was inches wide. Cleveland then had a great chance to reduce the deficit, as a long ball caught out the AFC defence, but Brown did well to force the striker wide, allowing Luke Fathers time to recover and clear the resulting shot off the line.

Moses Olanrewaju was impressing the Rushden supporters with his pace and his quick feet, and he set off on a strong run, beating two defenders before seeing his shot well saved by Jack Smith. A minute later though, the visitors pulled a goal back, although it was a dubious penalty call that gave them the opportunity. A sliding tackle from Fathers appeared to have won the ball cleanly from a Cleveland striker, but the referee adjudged him to have committed a foul, and pointed to the penalty spot. Rob Keenan stepped up to take the spot kick, and fired the ball low and hard past substitute goalkeeper Mahmood Suleyman.

A minute later Elliot McGlade went close to reducing the arrears even further, but his shot was well saved by Suleyman. From the resulting clearance, Savvas Hamp raced onto the ball with only Smith to beat, but he hit his shot straight at the Cleveland ‘keeper.

Hamp was again guilty of missing a great chance for the Diamonds fifth goal following a terrific run and cross by Olanrewaju on 73 minutes, but Rushden didn’t have to wait for it much longer. Another great run from Olanrewaju saw him race to the byline before pulling the ball back to Ghavami, who smashed it home via the underside of the crossbar.

Suleyman was called into action again twice more as the game drew to a close, but the last word fell to the Diamonds, or rather to Dale’s nephew Evan Roberts. Yet another run from Olanrewaju saw him race into the penalty area before being felled by a particularly agricultural challenge, and the Diamonds’ management team allowed Evan Roberts the opportunity to complete the scoring, which he duly did, calmly stroking the ball into the bottom corner, giving Smith no chance.

FT: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 6-1 Cleveland Juniors

The young Diamonds were presented with the Dale Roberts Memorial Cup for the first time in its three year history, by Isabel Roberts. But as always, the winner was irrelevant, with the focus of the event being to raise as much money as possible for the Dale Roberts Memorial Fund.

Attendance: Approx. 200


AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18

Cleveland Juniors

  17. Connor Brown
  3. Jack Crow
  15. Ryan Chamberlain
  4. Luke Fathers (c)
  6. Kyron Walsh
  8. Noah Bryant
  12. James Mann
  11. Omar Ghavami
  16. Tommy Messinger
  7. Joe Holmes
  10. Jake Reynolds

  Jack Smith
  Callum Blake
  Stephen Keenan
  Stephen Halpin
  Carl Hills
  Chris Marr
  Paul Blake
  Tom Keenan
  Daniel Riley
  Rob Keenan
  Elliot McGlade

  –.  Evan Roberts (for Holmes)
  9. Moses Olanrewaju (for Messinger)
  13. Mahmood Suleyman (for Brown)
  14. Dave Hillman (for Crow)
  18. Matt Foster (for Mann)
  19. Savvas Hamp (for Bryant)

  Clayton McDonald
  Daniel O’Brien

  Own Goal (10 mins)
  Mann (12 mins, pen)
  Holmes (32 mins)
  Ghavami (37 mins)
  Ghavami (74 mins)
  Roberts (88 mins, pen)

  R. Keenan (65 mins, pen)



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 Pictures Courtesy and Copyright Mal Swinden ©2013 Malcolm Swinden Photography

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