2 Rushden and Highem United
2 Lutterworth Athletic First Team

Goal Scorers (2): Dom Ivens (1), Rich Black (1)
Yellow Cards (0)
Red Cards (0)
Man of the Match: Rich Black

Fixture Date: Saturday 05th August 2017
Fixture Venue: Hayden Road, Rushden, NN10 0HX
Kick Off Time: 03:00 pm

Starting Line-Up: Alex Rhodes, Arjun Hundal, Callum Harris, Dom Ivens, Jordie Burke, Josh Hallam, Rhys Dowd, Rich Black, Ryan Coyle, Sam Young, Tristan Atkinson
Sub Appearances: Ben Needham, Jordan Martin


Match Report:

Just like the weather where one minute it was torrential downfalls, the next minute gloriously warm, Lutterworth had mixed fortunes on the pitch. After what seemed a nervy first 5 minutes Lutterworth started to gain control of the match, especially in midfield with the trio of Young, Ivens and Harris managing to pass through the Rushden Defence.

Signs started looking good as more space was being found on the left hand side, with both Arjun Hundal and then Rhys Dowds finding space, taking the ball forward and having long range efforts going slightly wide of the target. In fact Rhys Dowds was causing a lot of trouble for the Rushden full back in the early stages, being fouled on a number of occasions. And on the 13th minute, Dowds was fouled on the left edge of the penalty area by David Hunt. Dom Ivens stepped up to take the free kick, curling it into the danger are, where everyone, including Kyle Swailes the Rushden goalkeeper, missed the ball, which ended into the back far corner of the net.

Lutterworth capitalised on this and put pressure on the restart, winning the ball back quickly and putting the ball down the left for Dowds to chase down. Hunt tried to let the ball go out of play, but Dowds pressure forced a mistake, resulting in a corner. Ivens whipped it in on the 15th minute causing indecision in the Rushden defence, a shot getting put in but the goalkeeper couldn’t hold it and Rich Black, who had come up for the corner, smashed it in from 5 yards out.

Just before the restart Rushden replaced a struggling Jed Ainge with Louis McMahon and this seemed to change the dynamic of the match but not with immediate effect. Lutterworth still looked dangerous on the left with a couple of Dowds low crosses being cleared away. The defence looked comfortable at this stage as well, picking out Rushden’s loose ball and starting off the attacks. Lutterworth were playing neat football, still getting behind the Rushden defence, with Tristan Atkinson being found at the far post on a couple of occasions, the first where he couldn’t quite control the shot and it went over, the second an audacious lobbed which the goalkeeper just managed to grab hold of.

But on the 34th minute disaster struck as a loose ball was picked up by Rushden, a long diagonal pass found their left winger who had managed to get behind the defence, taking it to the by-line and crossing for Steve Ainge to run onto the ball, volleying it with power it into the back of the net, giving Josh Hallam no chance. This their first real opportunity in the match and gave them renewed hope. For the final 10 minutes of the half, the pendulum seemed to swing into Rushden’s favour yet Lutterworth did manage a couple more half chances. Half time 2-1 to Lutterworth.

The 2nd half started with Rushden flying out the blocks, being faster to the ball and harder in the challenge. The game had changed as the Rushden attack bombarded the Lutterworth defence, looking more dangerous on the set piece. Corners and free kicks were easily given away as a combination of nervousness and last ditch defending became the name of the game for Lutterworth. Rushden managed to hit the cross bar from the corner and missed three headers when Arron Cormack and Craig Lawman managed to headed over from close range.

Lutterworth still kept plugging away, with Ryan Coyle working his way behind the opposition defence, only for the ball to be cleared, and as the game went on Alex Rhodes seemed to get more isolated, with Rushden piling on the pressure. And with 15 minutes left to play they managed to get behind the Lutterworth defence with a good move only to hit the post again with the resulting shot. A goal mouth scramble ensued with shots flying in and bodies being thrown to block the ball being cleared. Great defensive play.

Unfortunately luck wasn’t on Lutterworth side as pressure became more and more on the defence, with corners coming incessantly and in the 88th minute came the final straw when another ball was whipped into the box resulting a mammoth scramble before Daryl Lawmen stabbed it in from 3 yards out. There was still time for Lutterworth to snatch a dramatic late winner, Hudland getting to the by-line after some good play down the left, crossing the ball in only for the whistle to go as Ben Needham was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.

All in all a good result against a well organised and physical team, a good test for the new players stepping up to a new level.


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