Harry Acklam’s last minute winner secured Long Eaton United Community FC Academy's second win of the season in the National League U19 Alliance against Rushden and Diamonds academy on Wednesday.
The victory on home turf saw Long Eaton’s U19s move up to fourth in the Division F table, with a trip to the Impact Arena to face Alfreton Town up next in the league.
The Blues were two-nil up after 26 minutes played, courtesy of goals from Andrew Tsolakis and Ryan Bache. A deflected effort from the visitors came against the run of play and reduced the deficit heading into half-time.
In the second half, Tsolakis bagged his brace with a poacher’s goal to restore the two-goal cushion before the visitors reduced the deficit once again on the hour mark. An accurate strike from the edge of the area levelled the match, although there was late drama, as Acklam converted a free kick with effectively the last kick of the game to win the match.
Curtis Burrows made several changes following the FA Youth Cup last week, Riley Phillips was replaced out wide by Tsolakis and Isaak Hibbert came in for Ryan Pearce at centre half.
Long Eaton had an early chance as Ben Bowers and Destiny Conteh combined inside the 18-yard box, Conteh held the ball up and set up Bowers, who blasted the ball just wide of the target.
At the other end, Rushden and Diamonds reminded Long Eaton of their threat as they struck the crossbar twice in two minutes. However, the Blues dealt with the second ball well and cleared their lines.
In the 22nd minute Tsolakis scored the opener. Conteh dribbled through the final third and found Bache on the edge of the area – Bache played Tsolakis through and the attacking midfielder slotted the ball past the goalkeeper with a composed finish.
Four minutes later Bache made it two, as he slotted the ball into an empty net after the ‘keeper overcommitted.
The visitors equalised in the 37th minute when a close-range volley took an unfortunate deflection off Breeyen Grainger following a corner from The Diamonds. A goal which reduced the lead to one-goal before the break.
Tsolakis scored a second in the 53rd minute to make it 3-1. Bache’s shot from out wide was parried by the ‘keeper and Tsolakis was in the perfect position to net the rebound at the back post.
The visitors reduced the lead to one-goal once again in the 60th minute with a well-worked goal through the middle. Another goal for the Diamonds in the 72nd minute levelled the match – an effort from the edge of the area, just beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
In an end-to-end second half, it looked like a seventh goal was likely, but it was unclear who for. In the final seconds of the match, substitute Riley Phillips was brought down just outside the box and earned a free kick for the Blues. Acklam stood over the set piece and tucked the ball around the wall and in the bottom left corner to win the match.