AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s / MAA strolled to success in a 13-0 demolition of South Leicestershire College. Having beaten their opponents 7-1 at home earlier in the season, the scholars dominated the return fixture once again.
Nathan Weeks, Sam Roache and Rhys Redding were all unavailable for the game.
The scholars started the game well, with Luke Garner getting in behind several times. It didn’t take long for Diamonds to get infront.
A short corner routine with Sam Leeson and Harrison Desborough, worked the ball well to Ashley Hewett, who was waiting outside the 18 yard box before unleashing a left-footed shot through a crowded penalty box to give Diamonds the lead after 14 minutes.
23 minutes in, the MAA lads were awarded a penalty after Desborough was fouled. He dusted himself down and cooly slotted it in to make double Diamonds’ lead.
Then just three minutes later, Luke Garner was put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. And it was easy for the in form striker to round the keeper and tap in to put Rushden three up.
Then Leeson scored a superb solo goal in the 40th minute to make it 4-0. Cutting in from the right hand side, he beat three or four player before firing low to beat the goalkeeper.
Then just one minute before the break, Garner manager to get his second to give Diamonds a healthy 5-0 lead before the break. The striker managed to break the offside trap, as South Leicestershire used a high line, he ran on to a through ball and it was no trouble for him to double his tally.
Half Time. South Leicestershire College 0-5 AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA.
After the break, it took the scholars some time to get going again, after a great first half. But they soon got back to scoring ways. After 56 minutes, Diamonds got their sixth. Hewett put in an outswinging corner towards Chris Knapp, who headed at goal and Garner was on the goal line to help it on its way to complete his hattrick.
Following the sixth goal, Diamonds made a few changes, introducing all of the substitutes.
On 61 minutes, with Pinder’s first touch of the ball after coming on, he pounced onto a defender’s mistake and he calmly made it 7-0.
Then three minutes later, Pinder got another and the scholars’ eighth with a composed finished inside the box.
On 66 minutes, the goal flurry continued, Leeson beat his man on the right hand side again, pulled the ball back to the edge of the box and captain Ryan Kirk scored from 12 yards out to make it 9-0.
Then on 70 minutes, Pinder completed a superb nine minute hattrick. By this time, South Leicestershire had collapsed, given up and making several defensive mistakes. Pinder latched onto another and scored putting Diamonds’ into double figures.
Sam Leeson then had a hand in another goal. His corner was met by the head of Knapp, who didn’t need anyone to help it in this time. Putting Diamonds 11-0 infront on 72 minutes.
85 minutes gone, Pinder got his fourth of the afternoon, to get Rushden’s dozen goals.
Finally, on 89 minutes, Diamonds scored the last of their goals. Hewett produced a great 25 yard free-kick to completed Diamonds’ demolition.
Full Time. South Leicestershire College 0-13 AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA.
Team: Barnes, Grundy, Kearney, Knapp, Uddin, Leeson, Kirk (c), Ivett, Desborough, Hewett, Garner.
Subs: Peaks, Ackroyd, Pinder.
Manager Darren Purse said to me after the game: “It’s nice to see the two strikers, Matty [Pinder] and Luke [Garner] get hattricks but I was also pleased that the goals were spread around too. I said at half time, it’s a great opportunity to get our goal difference up, it’s so tight at the top of the league, and with some of the sloppy points we’ve dropped it may come down to goal difference. At the end of the day, we can only beat who’s infront of you, and we did that really well with confidence today.”
Looking ahead to the next games, Purse said: “We now have two games in two days, it can’t be helped. I would’ve liked the Rushden & Higham game to have been played on a Monday, but that doesn’t suit Wellingborough Town. It’s not ideal, especially with our small squad. We have three lads away on school trips so I have brought in an U16 player who goes into our squad of 15 for two tough game in two days. It’s going to be hard, but I’m backing the lads to get through it.”
Report by Hayden Pott.