Wellingborough Town U18 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2

Wellingborough Town U18 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

 Northants Senior Youth League

The Diamonds U18s twice let a goal lead slip as they were held to a 2-2 draw ‘away’ to Wellingborough Town.

Rushden were still missing a whole host of players through injury, and they started slowly, with the hosts almost taking the lead inside 3 minutes. Joe Wenham raced onto a long ball and took it around Connor Brown, only to be denied by a fine goal line clearance from Ryan Chamberlain.

After this early scare, the Diamonds took control of the game, and it was one way traffic for the majority of the first half. Ben Roche and Matty Smith both tested Doughboys ‘keeper Laurence Benham from a tight angle, before Roche headed just over the bar following a great run and cross by Joe Holmes.

Rushden’s best chance fell to Omar Ghavami when he latched onto a defensive error and took the ball around Benham, but the angle was too tight and he could only find the side netting.

Benham was having a busy evening and he made a terrific save from a Smith header following a deep free kick from Chamberlain, and although Smith reached the rebound first, his effort was cleared off the line.

Roche then had his third chance of the game from full back, as an excellent cross from Tommy Messinger found him unmarked at the far post, but he headed just wide.

Despite Rushden’s dominance, it was Wellingborough who had the best chance to open the scoring, when a left wing cross found Warken in space just 6 yards from goal, but he volleyed the ball high over the bar.

Diamonds made their hosts pay for the miss just two minutes later, as they finally got the goal their first half performance deserved. A quick break saw Smith find Matthews on the left hand side of the area, and he executed an exquisite chip over Benham and into the top corner.

But two minutes into added time, Wellingborough equalised completely against the run of play. Rushden lost possession from a throw in just outside their own box, and Warken made amends for the sitter he had missed 6 minutes earlier, with a fine strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

HT: Wellingborough Town U18 1-1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

The Diamonds first half performance had been a commanding one and they would have been mightily disappointed not to have gone in ahead at the break, but they failed to reproduce that performance after the interval.

Warken went close to his second early on, but was denied by an excellent point blank save from Brown. Rushden were struggling to keep hold of possession, but they did manage a 20 yard shot from Matty Foster that was well held by Benham.

Shortly after though, they edged ahead once more. Holmes set off on a brilliant run, leaving several defenders in his wake, before squaring for Chamberlain to smash home his first goal for the club from close range.

But just as they had done in the first half, Wellingborough hit back almost immediately. A right wing cross was met by Macauley Copping who hit an excellent volley from the edge of the box, into the bottom corner of Brown’s goal via the inside of the post.

Wellingborough went close to taking the lead just 3 minutes later as Rushden still failed to make their passes stick, as Reece Brown struck the upright with a terrific strike from the corner of the penalty area, before the same player headed wide with a much simpler chance.

Smith had a rare second half effort for the Diamonds, forcing Benham into another good save, before Warken missed his second sitter of the evening, again firing over the bar from 6 yards when it looked easier to score.

FT: Wellingborough Town U18 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

The Diamonds U18s will make history next week when they play their first ever FA Youth Cup tie, at home to Bugbrooke St. Michaels on Monday 23rd September, 7:45pm kick off.

Wellingborough Town U18

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18

Laurence Benham
Harry Doherty-Gooderham
Kaise John-Lewis
Shane Oslar
Liam Murphy
Jake Dixon
Robson Kightley
Ben Warken
Reece Brown
Joe Wenham
Macauley Copping

24. Connor Brown
2. Ben Roche
6. Ryan Chamberlain
12. Ryan Bhatti
17. Tommy Messinger
4. Noah Bryant
8. Matty Foster
10. Joe Holmes
9. Matty Smith
11. Omar Ghavami
15. Harry Matthews

Jack Shaw
Jack Plummer
Jacob Batten

3. Alex Peters
20. Kyron Walsh

Warken (45+2 mins)
Copping (63 mins)

Matthews (43 mins)
Chamberlain (61 mins)

The latest AFC R&D U18 fixtures and results are here, with the current NSYL league tables (East & West Divisions) here. For the latest appearance and goalscorer stats see here.

Match Gallery courtesy of Malcolm Swinden Photography (click on the link to access the Diamonds Photo Gallery for more images from this game and ecommerce options). Copyright Mal Swinden ©2013