hosts - a full-time academy - had been battering everyone so far this season and had won all of their
league games to date, registering wins including 7-0, 12-0, 6-1, 7-1 and 9-0,
so it was a real test to see how far our young squad had progressed.
the answer was a long, long way as we really gave them a game – acknowledged by
their management and the match officials afterwards.
the home players relief at the final whistle – and the fact they were holding
the ball at the corner flag at the end – tells the story of how close we ran
down the slope on a heavy, tacky pitch, we started really well and put them on
the backfoot without really creating clear-cut opportunities.
defence of Oli Anderson, Nat Allam, Brady Stratford and skipper Vikram Mazumdar
had their hands full, especially with the league`s top scorer Will Jones, who
has been in the Diamonds first team squad this season.
they coped magnificently, with the two young centre-backs Allam and Stratford
it shows our strength in depth now with under-16 skipper and centre-back George
Coleman back to fitness and raring to go.
home side began to get a grip on the game and took the lead midway through the half
with a terrific strike from Tom Binder which flew past keeper Alfie Whitchurch.
managed to keep Diamonds at bay after that and shortly before the break had a
great chance to equalise when a fine through ball from the outstanding Henry
Langley found Will Russell, who netted four against Irchester United last week,
but he had his shot smothered by the onrushing Diamonds` keeper.
discussions at half-time were positive and it was all about winning individual
battles and working hard for each other.
We suffered a blow at half-time when our influential young midfielder Zac Arnold had to be replaced due to a groin injury and I gave new signing from Kettering Town, Charlie Whitchurch, his debut in his place.
Charlie is a striker but was asked to do a job in the midfield and, until pushed forward later, did a decent job in an unfamiliar role.
in the second half we were terrific kicking up the slope.
winger Max Wynne caused problems for the home full back and Mason Jackson
worked hard on the opposite flank.
Langley and Adam Huber now getting on top in midfield, we really started to
cause them problems and Mazumdar hit an effort over the bar from the angle of
the edge of the box and Wynne and Anderson also had efforts well saved by the
had another great opportunity to equalise – and on his favoured left foot – but
he screwed the chance wide of the post.
home side had a few chances themselves in a game which was a real credit to the
league, but more good defending and one fine save from Alfie Whitchurch saw the
score remain 1-0.
the site of Diamonds being told to head to the corner flag to keep the ball as
the game entered stoppage time proved just how well we had played.
of all of them – disappointed I couldn`t give all the lads on the bench longer
on the pitch which I hate – but the game was just so close and the boys` attitude
to that was outstanding.
Whitchurch, Oli Anderson, Vicram Mazumdar, Nat Allam, Brady Stratford, Zac
Arnold, Max Wynne, Henry Langley, Will Russell, Adam Huber, Mason Jackson. Subs
all used; Charlie Whitchurch, Jack Cawkill-Robins, Alfie Bowdler, George
Coleman, Dan Bates.