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.

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