AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA 8 Derby College 0

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s got 2015 off to a perfect start with a commanding 8-0 victory against Derby College. The victory puts the scholars’ joint-top of the division for the first time this season.

On a windy day, Diamonds initially struggled to break down the Derby defence for the first half an hour, as the scholars wasted multiple chances in a match they would go on to completely dominate.

However on 32 minutes, striker Luke Garner made a good run in the left hand channel inside the box. He skipped past one challenge, however the second one brought him down and Diamonds were awarded a penalty. Pinder was comfortable from the spot to give Diamonds a 1-0 lead.

Having got the lead, the MAA lads tried to push on for more, but with composure lacking and misplaced passes, they were unable to get more goals in the first half.

Half Time.: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA 1 Derby College 0

Diamonds started the second half better than the first. They looked a lot more composed when attacking and it was no surprise that they got an early second goal. Three minutes after the break, Pinder picked the ball up on the edge of the box, played a sharp one-two with Ryan Kirk just outside the penalty area to beat the last defender and then Pinder slotted past the goalkeeper when one-on-one to double Diamonds’ lead and his own.

Just five minutes later, it was three, Sam Leeson made a great run down the right hand side, beat his full back and pulled the ball back to the penalty spot where Luke Garner finished with his left foot.

Diamonds continued to press on and score another two inside ten minutes. Pinder completed his hat-trick with a good finish on 64 minutes to make it 4-0.

Then the youth team’s top scorer got his fourth and Diamonds’ fifth with a superb solo goal and a contender for goal of the season. Pinder picked the ball up on the half way line, turned, and ran at the Derby defence. He beat three players whilst baring in on goal, dummied the goalkeeper and lifted the ball over his head. A goal which if a Premiership player scored, we would be talking about it for days.

The scholars showed no mercy as they continued to dominate and attack. Pinder was taken off after his fourth goal with Monday’s David Joyce fixture in mind. Sam Leeson got Diamonds’ sixth with less than 15 minutes to go. Substitute Harrison Desborough beat his man and squared for Leeson to tap in from no more than two yards.

After the sixth goal went in, it seemed as though the Derby players had given up, and it became a training match for Purse’s boys, as they soon added a further two more goals.

Ben Peaks made it 7-0 after 81 minutes. Peaks, who had come on as a right-midfielder, had good link up play with full back Bradley Grundy and the former from 12 yards out, picked the out the top corner, a good finish from a usual right-back.

Then the easiest goal of them all. 86 minutes played, Desborough beat four Derby defenders inside the box and tucked the ball calmly in to complete Diamonds’ goal glut.   

Full Time: AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA 8 Derby College 0

Team: Barnes, Grundy, Kearney, Roache, Uddin, Kirk, Ackroyd, Leeson, Hewett, Pinder, Garner.

Subs: Redding, Peaks, Ivett, Desborough.

After the game, manager Darren Purse said: “It’s a great start to the New Year and obviously I’m really happy we kept a clean sheet. We went in 1-0 up, but really it should have been six or seven. I think if the referee hadn’t given the penalty, we would have walked in 0-0 and that would have been a travesty. Although we were in complete control of the game from start to finish, we wasted so many chances in the game. Half time I told the lads to relax in front of goal, and take more care with your passes in the final third, and they did that, hence they scored seven goals.”

He also gave a special mention to full-back Bradley Grundy. Bradley’s been suspended and injured for pretty much the whole of the season. So I gave him 90 minutes to get back into it and to have a really good look at him. I thought he played really well, I was really pleased with him. It’s a great time to have him back as Hallam Usuf has just left, so Brad could easily play left back if need be.”

The scholars turn their attention to the David Joyce Cup where they host Rushden & Higham at the Dog & Duck, for a place in the semi-finals.

Match report by Hayden Pott.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

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