Rushden & Diamonds 0 Northwich Victoria 1

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

Vauxhall Conference

16.8.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2302)

Diamonds Team : Cherry , Hodson, Underwood , Mison, Rodwell, Peaks , Collins , Stapleton , Capone, Alford , Cramman . Subs: Stott , Chapman, Sterling.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC Nil.

Webmaster MoM

Match Report :

The scoreline tells only a small part of the story of the game. Diamonds fans were understandably dejected at the teams failure to convert an overall superiority into the goals that would have surely secured victory. To dominate so completely, as the Diamonds did for twenty minutes in the second half, yet get no reward was due to several important factors-the sustained brilliance of the Northwich goalkeeper, several instances of bad luck and undeniably poor finishing.

Deprived of injured striker, Adrian Foster, Brian Talbot elected to play Julian Capone in a central attacking position ,to avoid radical disruption of the line-up. The decision appeared sound when only a flying save by Greygoose denied Capone’s goalbound header in the first minute. For much of the first half however Northwich played with composure, particularly in midfield where the experienced Mark Ward showed calm authority, and clear Diamonds chances were restricted to a Paul Underwood shot that narrowly missed the far upright. In fact only Steve Cherry’s athleticism prevented Steve Walters free kick from giving the visitors a lead at the break.

Then came that period of Diamonds superiority. It appeared that a goal was inevitable but, as so often happens when chances are missed, it went to the defending side. A counter attack, a careless conceded free kick, poor marking from the resultant cross, hesitant goalkeeping, and a tap in at the far post and it was 0-1. Tactical switches followed, including the introduction of winger, Worrall Stirling, but with only 22 minutes remaining Northwich were too well organised to surrender the initiative again and the game petered out to a disappointing finish.

There were some positive signs though. Simon Stapleton worked tirelessly, Jim Rodwell betrayed few signs of his injury lay-off, Andy Peaks was tidy as ever and Michael Mison showed occasional, but all too rare, glimpses of his strength and deceptive skill on the ball. But how they missed the midfield presence of the suspended Gary Butterworth.

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