Rushden & Diamonds 3 Gateshead 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

30.8.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2211)

Diamonds Team : Cherry , Hamsher, Cramman , Mison, Rodwell, Peaks , Crosby , Butterworth , Collins, Ndah , Hackett . Subs: Underwood, Cann , Alford .

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC Mison 5mins, Ndah 19mins , Collins 37 mins , Visitors: Bowey 70 mins and Robinson 76 mins.
Webmaster Man of the Match : Michael Mison.

Diamonds finally got their first three points of the season after an impressive first forty five minutes. From the first whistle Diamonds put Gateshead under pressure. The game was only five minutes old when Michael Mison put the Diamonds in front with a shot into the roof of the net after a mix-up in the Gateshead defence left the ball at his feet. For once his shot had power and direction and gave the goalkeeper no chance. The whole side seemed to breathe a large sigh of relief and from then on it was full steam ahead. Neat passing and great running off the ball from Collins and Ndah tore the Gateshead defence apart time and time again. On nineteen minutes a free kick outside the box, taken by Kenny Cramman found the head of Ndah and the header nestled in the back of the net. Gateshead had a few half chances, but all were wasted as Diamonds proceeded to snatch a third from Darren Collins. As the half drew to a close Diamonds were coasting and a large score seemed on the cards. The Gateshead goalkeeper looked unsure with crosses and the defence looked very jittery when Collins and Ndah took them on.

The second half started well enough for Diamonds until Gateshead decided they would put the Diamonds back four under a bit of pressure. A couple of corners and then on 70 minutes the first Gateshead goal came from slack marking. Robinson added a second on 76 minutes, the ball creeping over the line after rebounding from the post after another Diamonds defensive blunder. This ten minute spell of indecision in the defence could have cost Diamonds the game if Gateshead had taken advantage of a few half chances. But Diamonds then regained the grip in midfield after bringing on Carl Alford for Ndah and Paul Underwood for Brendan Hackett.

Diamonds held on to the ball well after the substitutions with Gary Butterworth calming things down in midfield. Though Michael Mison got the Man of the Match for his strength, and skilful midfield performance, credit should also go to Andy Peaks who had a very accomplished game, John Hamsher who looked solid and showed great vision with some of his passing out of defence, and Jim Rodwell who after the big number 9 of Gateshead went off injured missed nothing in the air all of the game. Collins also deserves special mention for his tireless running and he was unlucky not to score more than his one goal today.

Brian Talbot would probably have mixed feelings about the game. Three points were very welcome, eighty minutes of the game Diamonds dominated, but oh how those ten minutes lack of concentration could have lost the game. But performances are improving, and we now go forward to the Slough game on Tuesday with confidence of a win under our belts, and a small move up the table.

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