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.

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