A young Rutland side won their final league match ahead of the Christmas break with a comfortable 5-1 victory at home to Cambridge South 2nd.
Rutland fielded a team with just one player over the age of 18, making captain Nick Pinner feel like the grandfather of the team at 23.
The home side started strongly. Nick Pinner and James Dodworth, at the back, formed the platform with the midfield of Tom Wilson, Joseph Chedd and Harrison Ginn able to control midfield and allow Owen Evans and Ben Harford to penetrate the Cambridge D.
Goalkeeper Oli Carrick had to be sharp while the game remained evenly balanced but Rutland eventually took the lead with Harford scoring from a short corner drag flick.
Rutland continued to create chances but the game remained tight until Chedd broke into the visitors’ D and hammered a reverse stick shot past the keeper to put Rutland 2-0 up at the break.
Rutland looked very comfortable in the second half, moving the ball around quickly and keeping pressure on the Cambridge side.
Harford added his second from a short corner, and with Tom King, Robert Forster and Tom MacDonald up front, Rutland repeatedly penetrated the D, showing some great skill.
Against the run of play, Cambridge sent an aerial down the pitch for their forward to latch on to unmarked and score. For 10 minutes Rutland were forced to endure a spell of pressure from Cambridge but once Rutland settled, they finished with a flurry.
First Evans mopped up in the D to restore Rutland’s three-goal lead and finally Harford sealed his hat-trick from yet another short corner drag to make it three from three and a comfortable 5-1 win.
A testimony to the Rutland players’ skill was a comment from one of the Cambridge players who, after the game, said many of the Rutland players should be playing in the National League and that they were far too skilful for this level.
Coach Dave Richardson, who has seen his squad depleted in recent seasons said: “He is absolutely right. There are some great players here in Rutland; if only they had the club to go with it.”
Rutland: Oli Carrick, Nick Pinner, James Dodworth, Thomas Wilson, Joseph Chedd, Harrison Ginn, Owen Evans, Ben Harford, Thomas MacDonald, Robert Forster, Tom King.