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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