Lutterworth U18 3 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 4

Lutterworth Athletic 3-4 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18

Pre-Season Friendly

AFC Rushden & Diamonds edged out Lutterworth Athletic in an enthralling encounter prior to the senior friendly on Saturday afternoon.

The Diamonds got off to the perfect start, opening the scoring inside 2 minutes. Noah Bryant picked out Conor Bell in the middle of the park, and Bell’s excellent ball found the run of Jake Reynolds who raced forwards and calmly slotted the ball beneath the Lutterworth ‘keeper.

Things got even better for the visitors on 5 minutes, as they doubled their lead. A right wing corner was cleared straight back to the taker, Blake Helsdown, and his pin point cross found the head of Bell who nodded home from 6 yards out.

Rushden kept up the pressure and continued to push forwards, but Lutterworth always looked a threat on the break. Bell went close to doubling his tally on 17 minutes after battling his way through the home defence, but his 10 yard shot drew a fine save.

The hosts pulled a goal back on 20 minutes, although the Rushden defence had only themselves to blame. Luke Fathers was caught dwelling on the ball 20 yards from his own goal, and it was played through to Joe Pickering who hit a fine effort past Ben Clarke from 15 yards.

The Diamonds pushed to restore their two goal lead, with the strike partnership of Bell and Reynolds looking very promising. Both went close around the half hour mark, Reynolds first of all bursting down the left flank before cutting inside and firing inches over the bar, before Bell hit a vicious drive from 20 yards which forced another stunning save from the Lutterworth ‘keeper.

Shortly after, Reynolds raced onto a long ball, turning his marker before hitting another shot towards goal, but once again the Lutterworth stopper denied him his second of the night.

HT: Lutterworth Athletic 1-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18

Rushden started the second half strongly, and it didn’t take long for them to extend their lead to two goals once more. Substitute Wes Kirton played in a deep cross to the far post which was knocked back across goal by Zach Farden, and Reynolds laid it off to Bell who tucked the ball home from 6 yards.

The hosts hit back very quickly though as a defensive slip allowed a striker to run through on goal and past Clarke, where Pickering was on hand to tap home his second goal of the game.

The goal rush continued as the Diamonds restored their two goal lead 5 minutes later. Tom Ward set off on a great run down the left flank, before picking out Reynolds with an inch perfect cross, and the striker made no mistake in powering home a header for his second goal of the game.

The end to end action continued, although both defences tightened things up and allowed few clear cut chances. Reynolds looked as though he would get the hat-trick he deserved as the game entered its latter stages, but after running onto a great ball from Louis Smith and rounding the goalkeeper, the home defence recovered just in time to get in a challenge and deny him.

Lutterworth’s Joe Pickering then went close to a hat-trick himself as he raced onto a ball down the right flank and fired a powerful shot just over the bar. In stoppage time though he did net his third goal, this time going clear down the left flank, cutting inside and smashing the ball into the top corner.

FT: Lutterworth Athletic 3-4 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18

Man of the Match: Jake Reynolds


Lutterworth Athletic

AFC Rushden & Diamonds


86. Ben Clarke
12. Trialist
6. Luke Fathers
15. Adam Ziolkowski
5. Tom Ward
7. Blake Helsdown
4. Noah Bryant
9. Trialist
3. Zach Farden
10. Jake Reynolds
11. Conor Bell (c)


14. Wes Kirton (for Bryant, 30 mins)
18. Louis Smith (for Trialist, 46 mins)

Pickering (20 mins)
Pickering (63 mins)
Pickering (90 mins)

Reynolds (2 mins)
Bell (5 mins)
Bell (57 mins)
Reynolds (67 mins)



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Images courtesy of Mal Swinden