Southport 3 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

27.09.97 – Haig Avenue (Attendance: 1116)

Team : Watts, Wooding, Kelly, Mison, Rodwell, Whyte, Hackett, Butterworth, Foster, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Cramman, Hamsher, Rawle.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Foster 23 mins, Rawle 72 mins

Webmaster Man of the Match: Paul Underwood

Match Report : Rushden and Diamonds lost a golden opportunity to move up the GM Vauxhall Conference table on Saturday. For long periods they dominated the game at Haig Avenue only for defensive frailties to hand Southport the three points.

Diamonds began brightly enough with their enterprising approach play deserving some reward. That came in the 23rd minute when Adrian Foster, who had been particularly active in the first quarter, slotted home after a ricochet had left him with just the keeper to beat. With the Diamonds players still congratulating themselves on the breakthrough Southport equalised, Whittaker left in acres of space to turn in a Formby free-kick.

After the break it was all one way traffic as the Diamonds midfield surged forward, creating chances for Darren Collins and Brendan Hackett. But it was the home side who, very much against the run of play, took the lead again. With 11 minutes of the second half gone, Whittaker headed home his second in Southport’s first attack of the half. Two minutes later they made it 3-1, a superb cross field counter attack finished off by Deary as the Diamonds defence was left in tatters. The home side were now gaining in confidence,and they enjoyed their best period of the game, especially after youngster Julian Pepper came on for the injured Ross. He dribbled his way through the Diamonds leaky defence on several occasions only for his final shot to be poorly directed.

But Diamonds Manager Brian Talbot had his own substitution ace up his sleeve. Kenny Cramman and Mark Rawle came on in the 67th minute, and within five minutes Diamonds were just one behind to set up a grandstand finish. A powerful header from Rawle from a Paul Underwood cross found the target. With Underwood probing on the left and Rawle a constant threat on the right, Diamonds produced a succession of chances in the last ten minutes, but Southport player/manager Paul Futcher showed his experience at the heart of the home sides defence and Diamonds were left with nothing from a game in which they had looked the better side.

Yeovil Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

Date: 20.09.97 – Huish Park (Attendance: 2317)

Diamonds Team : Watts, Wooding, Cramman (Sub Kelly H/T), Mison, Rodwell, Whyte, Hackett (sub Hamsher 80 mins) Butterworth, Foster (Sub Rawle 78 mins) Collins, Underwood.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins and Hackett .

Webmaster Man of the Match: Warren Kelly

Match Report :

Head Coach Brian Talbot had promised big changes for the visit of Diamonds to Yeovil. And while there were not as many new faces as he threatened, he certainly made enough alterations in both personnel and formation to secure their second away win of the season. By the end Diamonds, who kept their discipline much better, were worthy winners,but it was a close run thing. They could have been dead and buried at half time, but Yeovil missed two glorious chances in the last minute of the half when Steve Parmenter powered a drive against the bar and Matt Hayfield shot into the side netting.

Consequently Yeovil had to be satisfied with a single goal lead courtesy of Owen Pickards near post header with the visiting defence noticeably absent. With Diamonds being the poorer of two disappointing sides in the first period, prospects looked none too bright. But a half time substitution made all the difference. Diamonds had opted for three at the back. Jim Rodwell being joined by Chris Whyte and Michael Mison, while Tim Wooding returning from a nine month absence, was given a wing back role in a five man midfield.

New man Warren Kelly replaced Mison in the back three and his pace and reading of the game made an immediate impact. Helped by Mison being employed in a more effective position, Diamonds had things under control, particularly down the right where Mison, Wooding and Butterworth dominated.Ex-Diamond Al James Hannigan helped his former club considerably when he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Within two minutes Diamonds were level. Darren Collins nodded in Wooding’s cross and four minutes later Brendan Hackett met another centre from the right with a long range header for what proved to be the winner.

In a fierce and frantic encounter, in which tempers often threatened to boil over, Diamonds had several chances to sew the points up. A couple of them fell to promising youngster Mark Rawle- Rushden’s 27th Conference player this season- but three minutes from time home substitute Micky Engwell must have thought he had equalised from a thunderbolt of a free kick. However Darren Watts, making only his second league appearance for Diamonds in a five year wait, made a stunning save and capped a fine performance. Seconds later Engwell was again prominent, particularly his elbow which felled Collins, and an ordering off proved automatic. It finally extinguished Steve Stotts hopes of captaining his new club to a victory and ensured that Diamonds moved two more places up the table.

Rushden & Diamonds 5 Farnborough 5

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

Vauxhall Conference

13.09.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2051)

Diamonds Team : Cherry , Hamsher, Cramman , Mison, Rodwell, Fuff , Hackett, Butterworth, Foster , Collins , Underwood . Subs: Rawle, Peaks and Wooding.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC: Foster 12 mins, 39 mins, 52 mins 76 mins and Underwood 37 mins.
Webmaster MoM: Adrian Foster

Match Report :

Its a job to know where to start with this report! How often does any team, let alone Diamonds score five goals at home and only walk away from the game with a point. How often does a player in his debut start match score FOUR goals and fail to be on a winning team? But this all happened to Diamonds today. A great performance from the front by Foster and Collins, who ran the Farnborough defence ragged, was put in the shadows by the defence letting in five goals. Not all of the blame however can be loaded on to the defence, as the midfield players failed to get a grip on the game in the second half. Gary Butterworth seems to be lacking the zip of last season while Michael Mison occasionally lost his head as he was caught out of position on a few occasions. Take nothing away from Farnborough who took all of their chances well.

Foster started the goal spree in the 12 minute by flicking on a free kick taken by Underwood just outside the box. It looked as though the goalkeeper would have it covered but it ran along the ground and found the back of the net. Farnborough levelled the score with a well taken goal before Underwood scored on 37 minutes. When Foster added a third on 39 minutes Diamonds looked to be coasting. But a great strike from just outside the box from Whitfield on 44 minutes brought Farnborough a life line at just the right moment. Slack marking again was the cause of the goal, but Diamonds went into half-time wondering how they had let Farnborough back into the match.

When Farnborough equalised early in the second half you wondered which way the game would turn. In came Foster to the rescue again with goals on 52 and 76 minutes. Five three up, fourteen minutes to play and three points in the bag. WRONG!!! Two goals in a minute from Farnborough and you were suddenly thinking that the un-thinkable was about to happen. It should be said that the fourth Farnborough goal was completely down to a goalkeeping error of judgement. Steve Cherry undecided whether to come for a ball or stay on his line, made the wrong decision and the ball was looped into the net. At the point of 5 goals to four one would have expected a possible substitution from BT. With both Andy Peaks and Tim Wooding on the bench, in hindsight maybe a change should have been made. None was, and a fifth Farnborough goal came shortly after.

Adrian Foster was presented with the Man of the Match and the match ball but he must be wondering why two precious points slipped by. Diamonds have some difficult games coming up, away at Yeovil and Southport and then home to Woking and Hereford. We saw today signs of an understanding up front between Foster and Collins, a fine performance particularly in the first half from Hackett and Underwood, but a shaky performance at the back. The commitment lacking in previous games has returned, and lets hope that a consistency of performance will now start to be seen. We need to string together a few good results to get the confidence up. Even with a two goal lead the players are jittery and lack the ability to kill off the game.

Good luck to the lads on the road for the next games and lets hope that Foster scores another four in each of the forthcoming games and we don’t let in quite so many.

See here for Video highlights of this game.

Cheltenham Town 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

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

Vauxhall Conference

07.09.97 – Whaddon Road (Attendance: 1612)

Team : Cherry , Hamsher, Cramman , Stott, Rodwell, Fuff , Crosby(Chapman h/t), Butterworth, Alford (Foster 56 mins), Collins , Hackett(Underwood h/t).

Webmasters MoM:

Match Report :

Rushden and Diamonds three game unbeaten run came to a grinding halt with a disappointing performance at League new-boys Cheltenham, and to make matters worse it was Diamonds old boy Dale Watkins a player who left while out of contract, who inflicted most of the problems with his impressive pace. The defensive problems were compounded with the sending off of Glen Fuff just before half time.

Carl Alfords opening minute chance from a Crosby cross could have set up the pattern of play, but his weak shot from just inside the penalty box rolled easily into the keepers hands. Almost straight after this, Crosby was robbed of the ball deep inside his own half. A pin pointed cross found Eaton unmarked in the Diamonds penalty box. His powerful header home left Cherry with no chance to save. Rushden, lacking creativity in the middle of the park provided only one move of note, as Stott fed Alford with a ball upfield, and with vision Alford picked out Crosby who had lost his marker at the far post. But Crosby’s first touch let him down allowing the full back to clear.

Referee Wendy Toms, who on occasions produced some strange decisions, by over ruling her linesmen, was left with little choice on forty five minutes but to show Fuff the red-card for a professional foul Eaton as he raced towards goal. The resulting free kick past the 8 man defence just shaved the upright.

Two half time substitutes did little to improve the performance with Chapman making a hard debut in a ten man team. A mis-timed tackle in the penalty box by Rodwell on Watkins gave the ex-Diamonds player the chance to score against his old team which he did by sending Cherry the wrong way. Cheltenham restricted Diamonds to only one shot in the second half, a long range effort from Butterworth which soared high over the bar. Bloomer and Watkins had chances to increase Cheltenhams lead, and it needed a blatant handball in the dying moments by Rodwell to stop a goalbound shot from Watkins reaching its target. Luckily for Rodwell the only person in the ground not to see the incident was the referee, so allowing Diamonds to finish the game with ten men and not nine.

Head Coach Brian Talbot said afterwards “”We were awful today. I would like to apologise to all of the travelling fans who made the journey today. We lacked bite, and enthusiasm and I am disappointed with the players. We have a week to put things right before our next game.”

Slough Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

02.09.97 – Wexham Park (Attendance: 872)

Team : Cherry , Hamsher, Cramman , Mison, Rodwell, Fuff , Crosby (Underwood h/t) , Butterworth, Ndah ( Alford 30 mins), C0llins , Hackett. Subs: Green.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC Collins 52 mins, Mison 75 mins.
Webmaster Man of the Match : Darren Collins.

Match Report :

It might just be the case that Rushden and Diamonds are finally adjusting to life in the Conference. Too often they have failed to play well against the poorer sides. But on this occasion they managed to lift their game sufficiently to dispose of a side that looks unlikely to do anything better than hover above the relegation zone. Good though the Diamonds performance was, there were phases of play, notably at the end of the game, when they looked less than adequate. And their delight at gaining their first away win of the season and moving eight places up the table was tempered by the late dismissal of Carl Alford.

Diamonds found themselves a goal down before anybody had realised that the game had started. In their first attack Slough were awarded a free kick 30 yards out and Lee Randall looked even more amazed when his effort found its way into the back of the net. The Diamonds response was not long delayed. But twice in the tenth minute Jamie Ndah missed excellent opportunities. The first a 15 yard drive that flew over the bar after Cramman, Hackett and Collins all participated in a superb build up. The second, unmarked in the area and with the goalkeeper floundering . This was the stuff of nightmares.

The half time scores in the other matches would have left Diamonds bottom of the table. But such thoughts were soon forgotten when Darren Collins struck for Diamonds first away goal of the season. It was not a classic. He stabbed it home at the second attempt after Gary Butterworth’s persistence had been the major factor in its creation. But it was just reward for a fine performance from Collins in which he mixed pace and power in attack with a willingness and determination to defend when necessary. The winner came a quarter of an hour from the end as Michael Mison,who had earlier shown his bad side by collecting another booking, demonstrated his good side by playing a good one-two before placing a 20 yard shot beyond the floundering keeper.

It should have been a comfortable ending. However somehow Slough came to life in the closing stages and it required a superb save from Steve Cherry and the intervention of the woodwork to keep Slough at bay. The Diamonds hung on with Rodwell and Fuff, snuffing out any threats from the Slough attack. It was unfortunate that Alford, who pulled the home defence all over the park, should have been silly enough, five minutes after being booked, to pat the ball back to the Slough keeper when he was caught offside in the final minute. He will now collect a one -match ban.

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