AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 / MAA 2 Peterborough Northern Star U18 1


AFC Rushden & Diamonds youth team managed to reach the Quarter-Finals of the David Joyce U18 Cup by defeating Peterborough North Star 2-1 right at the death.

Captain Ryan Kirk continued to serve his three match suspension, this was his second of his three matches. Luke Garner continued on the bench, despite being the super sub in the last match against Southfield Libero.

The match was being played at The Dog & Duck and the home side started superbly. Left-winger Ashley Hewett was causing early problems and his cross was deflected behind.

Not long after, Hewett had another run, and this time his cross found Matt Pinder who was shielded away from the goal by the PNS defence.

Then with 15 minutes played, PNS took the lead. In perhaps the first time the away side had entered the Diamonds half, a speculative effort from 25 yards took a massive deflection and wrong footed Rhys Redding in the Diamonds goal.

This made the MAA lads press on even more, and they continued to press and have dominance. Harrison Desborough saw his shot saved from distance. And then after good work on the left between Uddin and Hewett, the latter had got in behind. However it took a good challenge on Hewett to stop him in his tracks.

Then mid-way through the first half, Rushden had their best chance yet. Following a run in behind by left-back Uddin, he found Joe Ackroyd and hit the ball over the top towards striker Pinder. Then the Diamonds top-scorer blazed over the Peter de Banke Terrace on the angle.

Half Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0-1 PNS.

Diamonds started the second half just as strong. Hewett had been a threat all night and his free kick struck the post and went out of play, as Rushden looked to get back into the game.

With an hour of the match played, and Diamonds yet to make a break through, manager Darren Purse brought Garner and Nathan Weeks to try to freshen things up.

And Purse’s substitutions had an immediate effect. Out of nowhere, Pinder unleashed a 25 yard effort into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1 with 20 minutes to play. The goal came at a good time, giving the home side a chance to go on and win the game.

Then Pinder almost doubled his and Diamonds’ tally straight after. It was the sub Weeks who did well on the right wing to work a crossing position, and he fizzed in a cross to Pinder, but he hit the bar.

As the rules state, substitutions at academy level are roll on roll off as Sam Leeson who made way for Weeks, came back on for Desborough.

Then in the 87th minute, Diamonds took the lead for the first time. Despite Rushden’s lack of physicality, they looked dangerous from set pieces all game, and it was no surprise that they would go and score from on. Leeson’s cross fell very kindly to Chris Knapp who had the very easy task to comfortably chest the ball in.  

Full Time. AFC Rushden & Diamonds / MAA 2-1 PNS.

Team: Redding, Peaks (c), Knapp, Kearney, Uddin, Ackroyd, Leeson, Ivett, Pinder, Desborough, Hewett.

Subs: Yusuf, Weeks, Roache, Garner, Barnes.


Purse said after the game: “After a brilliant start, we found ourselves one nil down. But it didn’t faze us, we continued to pass the ball well. Ashley [Hewett] was superb all game, he gave their full back a torrid evening. I think our first goal came at a good time, if it was still 1-0, it could’ve been a hectic last ten minutes. It’s what we deserved from the game, we played really well.”

You can see more details on the competition here, and details of the U18 / MAA Fixtures and Results here.

Match Gallery courtesy of Malcolm Swinden Photography . Copyright Mal Swinden ©2014

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