Woodford United U18 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 2

Woodford United 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Northants Senior Youth League

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s twice fought back from a goal down to earn a draw against Woodford United in only their second match of 2013.

Rushden manager, Mark Walsh, was missing several players and experimented with a new ‘Rotating Diamond’ formation in midfield, which took his side a little while to adapt to. Jake Reynolds, the side’s leading scorer this season, had sat out training earlier in the week due to a slight injury, so wasn’t risked in the starting lineup.

The Diamonds started the game brightly, and had some good possession inside the Woodford half, particularly with Zach Farden down the left flank, but failed to create any scoring chances.

With 8 minutes gone, and with the first meaningful attack of the game, the hosts opened the scoring. A right wing corner wasn’t cleared by the Rushden defence, with the ball falling to Woodford fullback Brunero at the far post, and he found the back of the net with a powerfully struck shot. The goal seemed to lift the hosts, while the Diamonds began to get very sloppy in possession.

Woodford went close to a second goal on 16 minutes after a free kick was awarded for what looked like an excellent tackle from Zak Moon, but Schampier’s well struck shot drew a fine save from Alex Vitue. Two minutes later, his opposite number, Messinger, produced an even better save to deny Rushden an equaliser. Noah Bryant found Blake Helsdown with a great pass into the right channel, and his low cross was met by Matt Smith from 10 yards out but Messinger reacted brilliantly to claw away his near post shot.

Some sloppy play at the back by Alex McDonald allowed Woodford another chance to double their lead, but Stewart fired just over the bar, and Rushden made the hosts pay for the missed chance just a minute later. Moon found Smith with a great through ball and although his shot came back off the inside of the post, Helsdown was on hand to tap the ball home from close range.

The sides weren’t on level terms for too long though, as Woodford regained the lead on 34 minutes. Joe Holmes miscontrolled a pass on the edge of his own penalty area allowing Williams to intercept and shoot towards goal, and although Vitue got a good hand to the ball it wasn’t enough to stop it from bouncing over the line.

Again, the goal seemed to spur on the hosts, and as the half time interval approached Vitue was called into making another good save. Stewart used his pace to burst clear of the Rushden defence down the right flank, but his shot from a tight angle was well stopped.

The Diamonds were forced into a change just a minute before the break as Farden, who had been struggling with an illness, decided he couldn’t continue and so Jake Reynolds took to the pitch a little earlier than had been planned.

HT: Woodford United 2-1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Rushden started the second period brightly, as they had the first, but this time looked more threatening in front of goal. They actually had the ball in the net just three minutes after the restart when Smith’s shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Messinger under pressure from Reynolds allowing the striker to tap home, but the referee adjudged that Reynolds had fouled the ‘keeper and the goal was chalked off.

The hosts had a great chance to extend their lead on 51 minutes as Stewart again used his pace to break clear of the Rushden defence, but he fired over the bar with only Vitue to beat.

The Diamonds were now keeping possession much better than they had in the first half, but found the Woodford defence difficult to break down. They were forced into efforts from outside the penalty area as first Moon and then Helsdown tried their luck from 25 yards, but Messinger was equal to their efforts on both occasions.

Woodford had a rare chance to extend their lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes, as substitute Davies robbed McDonald and fired a powerful shot from the edge of the box, but Vitue pulled off another great save to tip the ball around the post.

With just 2 minutes remaining, the Diamonds finally grabbed the equaliser their second half performance deserved. A Moon free kick found its way to Smith inside the Woodford box, and he turned his marker before hitting a goalbound shot which took a big deflection and wrong footed Messinger before trickling across the line.

FT: Woodford United 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

The young Diamonds are back in action next Thursday (weather permitting!) as they travel to Olney Town.

Attendance: Approx. 30

Man of the Match: Joe Holmes


Woodford Untied

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

1. J. Messinger
2. A. Brunero
3. R. Kightley
4. E. Herbert (c)
5. N. Schampier
6. J. Shaw
7. W. Chilton
8. S. Lyons
9. A. Stewart
10. L. Williams
11. J. Inwood

24. Alex Vitue
2. Ben Roche
17. Zach Farden
4. Zak Moon (c)
5. Liam Bond
6. Alex McDonald
7. Joe Holmes
8. Noah Bryant
9. Blake Helsdown
10. Conor Bell
11. Matt Smith

12. M. Harrison (for Williams, 70 mins)
15. J. Przewozniak (for Shaw, 83 mins)
16. T. Davies (for Lyons, 51 mins)

14. Jake Reynolds (for Farden, 44 mins)
86. Michael Brimah

Brunero (8 mins)
Williams (34 mins)

Helsdown (25 mins)
Smith (88 mins)



Sent Off:

Sent Off:

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