AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21 side drew 1 1 against a very experienced Rushden & Higham United reserve team at Hayden Rd in their first pre-season game on Saturday afternoon.
They battled through a goalless first half, helped by a penalty save by Alex Vitue after a foul by Joe Ackroyd midway through that period.
The Diamonds U21 side went a goal down after the break when a 30 yard drive from a Lankies midfielder went between several players and past Vitue. They quickly fought back but had two goals disallowed for offside and then saw Danny Atkins hit the bar with a free kick from 20 yards.
The equaliser came when Dan Campbell span a home centre back and drove home from 18 yards.
Andy Keen commented that the game was a really good work out for his squad, working on their fitness and getting used to a different shape of team. They went to 4-5-1 for the second half, and saw Tom Rogers impressing with his direct running and pace on the left, with Joe Harris also standing out at centre back. Ex-Diamonds U18 player Alex Vitue performed well in goal, and Lewis Fisher also impressed up-front, netting with a fine strike that was flagged offside. With 6 of the squad away it was an encouraging start to the pre-season campaign.
Some of Andy Keen’s squad will be involved with the Diamonds XI side that plays at Lutterworth on Wednesday, with the next pre-season game being on the 6th August against Buckingham Town in the James Victory Trophy game at Manor Fields.