Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hednesford Town 1

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

Vauxhall Conference

25.8.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2468)

Diamonds Team : Cherry , Hamsher, Cramman , Mison, Rodwell, Peaks , Capone , Stott , Collins, Ndah , Cramman . Subs: Chapman .

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC Collins 66 mins
Bookings (Diamonds) Rodwell.

Webmaster Man of the Match Gary Crosby.

Match Report :

Diamonds came out fighting against Hednesford, in what proved to be a tight and physical encounter. With Brian Talbot blooding two of his new signings, John Hamsher from Fulham and Gary Crosby the ex Forest player, the Diamonds looked to have put their shaky start to the season behind them. They put Hednesford under pressure from the off and shots from Collins and Ndah whistled past the posts. However it was Hednesford who took the lead on 10 minutes, a delightful cross dissecting the Diamonds defence and a rocket header from O’Connor hit the back of the net. Diamonds continued their passing game and were unlucky to be behind as the first half drew to a close. Continual pressure was let down by the old problem of poor finishing.

The second half started as the first finished, with Hednesford looking very sharp in attack but seemingly able to hold out for a draw, as Diamonds wasted more chances. But the match turned on a bizarre incident following a twenty minute floodlight failure. Minutes after the match re-started the Hednesford goalkeeper was bundled by Collins as he collected a ball on his goal-line. The ball was dropped and forced over the line by Collins. The referee gave the goal to the astonishment of the Hednesford players and officials, and the relief of the Diamonds team and supporters.

The referee was bombarded by abuse from the Hednesford players, but the goal stood. Tempers flared minutes later as Norbury was sent off, and it was then a case as to whether Hednesford could hang on.

Brian Talbot must have been pleased with this performance after the debacle of the Leek game, a couple of days earlier. Performances throughout the team were much improved, probably due to the return of Gary Butterworth after his suspension. There seemed to be a good understanding between the two Gary’s, Crosby and Butterworth. Crosby was quick, skilful and showed urgency throughout the game both going forward and helping in defence. He took players on, and put a number of accurate crosses into the box, something lacking in previous Diamonds matches. Hopefully the tide will now turn.There still looks to be weaknesses at the heart of the defence and in attack, but the return of O’Shea and Foster should solve the problems. As we are only one point behind Kidderminster and four behind Stevenage its still all to play for at this early stage.

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