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.”


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