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Young Doughboys Make Emphatic League Cup Progress

3 weeks ago By Steve Whitney

Monday was a hugely disappointing night when we bowed out of the David Joyce County.....

“We recovered well from Monday`s disappointment.” Steve Whitney

......Under-18 Cup in the semi-final against former tenants AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

But we were back in action just three days later as we hosted Diamonds` new landlords, Rushden & Higham United, in the League Knockout Cup.

The tie was due to be played at Hayden Road, but, like the county cup match, it was switched to the Dog & Duck due to pitch problems.

As has been the case all season, our pitch was immaculate though, given the fact it`s February, although of course it`s not getting the same amount of usage as in previous seasons, and quite whether I`ll be saying the same this time next year when we have reserve and academy games added to the fixture lists, is doubtful!

I have sympathy for Rushden & Higham as they came into the game not having played since November, and, having been in that situation myself a number of times in the past, I know how difficult that can be.

We were without several players for a variety of reasons – work, illness, holiday and injury – but it was a chance for one or two who have been patient for a chance to show they deserve a more regular spot in the team.

And within 5 minutes, Callum Herring did just that by scoring the opening goal – and a beauty it was too – with a good move involving James Bishop and Ben Fitzjohn was finished expertly with a first-time effort.

The dominance was almost total in the opening 45 minutes, with keeper Sam Curtis having little other than back passes to deal with, but we were perhaps guilty of over-playing at times.

We did score a second when a corner from the right was flicked in – with Bishop, Jordan Holmes and Fitzjohn all claiming the final touch off various parts of their anatomy!

We said at half-time to be a little quicker moving the ball and perhaps be a bit more direct as we were often making three passes in the first half when one would have done.

The second half was total one-way traffic as the visitors tired.

Herring scored another well-taken goal and should have had a hat-trick but tried a trick too many in front of goal, while skipper Fitzjohn claimed at least four more, although one which seemed to have gone in direct from a corner looked to have taken a flick off Frankie Hayes!

It`s been a long time since I`ve seen such a one-sided encounter. Indeed, Sam Curtis was called into action just the once all game – a speculative 25-yard effort from former Doughboy Jayden Carter which took him by surprise but he managed to tip onto the post.

I was able to bring young keeper Louis Gardner-Frost on for the final 20 minutes or so, but all he had to do was deal with two back passes.

I do feel sympathy for Rushden & Higham though as being inactive for so long does have a massive affect – it`s like starting a campaign without a pre-season!

But we were clinical and in truth, had it not been for a fine display from the visiting keeper, it could have been an even more emphatic scoreline.

Sam Curtis; Jaydon Taylor, Jordan Holmes, Alex McGeehin; Harvey Lewis, James Bishop, Lewis Milne, Frankie Hayes, Lewis Starmer; Ben Fitzjohn, Callum Herring. Subs used: Lloyd Blanks, Louis Gardner-Frost.

Updated 11:58 - 2 Feb 2018 by Steve Whitney

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