Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)
FA Cup 4 Qualifying Round
25.10.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2107)
Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Cramman, Mison, Rodwell, Whyte, Kelly, Butterworth, Foster, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Fuff, Rawle and Capone.
Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Butterworth 18 mins
Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Gary Butterworth
Match Report : The script was set for a great Diamonds result, gaining revenge for being despatched from the Cup last season by Boreham Wood after a replay. The sun was shining, the pitch was perfect, there was no wind, and a crowd of 2107. The only thing wrong was that Boreham Wood hadn’t read the script. The first twenty minutes of the game Diamonds dominated. Smart play along the ground from midfield had the “Wood” defence back on their heels. On 13 minutes Underwood got booked for a petty foul, and suddenly a spark seemed to spring Boreham Wood into life. In fact on 15 minutes they could have taken the lead completely against the run of play as the ball bobbled around the Diamonds penalty area. On 17 minutes Underwood set of on a mazy run which resulted in a corner. The ball was whipped in, headed out by the tall Boreham defence, to the feet of Butterworth on the edge of the box, who rifled a shot through the defence and into the top corner of the net. All going according to the script up to now. The only real effort after this was a Wooding shot over the bar. The first half ended and one could say that Diamonds probably deserved their 1-0 lead but there were warning signs that the tie was still to be won.
The second half started brightly for the Diamonds as on 49 minutes Collins was sent clear of the defence by a cutting Chris Whyte through ball. Unfortunately the keeper came out and smothered the ball, which rebounded to Cramman coming in, who blasted it over the goal and nearly over the Airwair Stand. Within five minutes Boreham Wood were level. A decisive run through the Diamonds defence, a jittery clearance punching clear under pressure from Smith, and a great shot rifled back and into the net. A superb goal to match Gary Butterworth’s for Diamonds. Mison got booked again on 53 minutes and must be very close to an automatic 3 match suspension now. After this booking Mison fell out of the game, as did the other nine outfield players for Diamonds. The lessons from last season were not learnt. Boreham Wood have a very hard working defence, and a giant in Garry Nisbet. He towers over everyone. So why did Diamonds continue to play each ball forward high to Collins and Foster. They won nothing against Nisbet.<
There was no width in the team, Wooding and Underwood were forced back, and the whole team fell apart. This performance in the second half was one of the worst seen at Nene Park since early last season. No commitment from anyone except Butterworth and possibly Rodwell who improved as the game progressed. Searching runs and passes through the Diamonds defence continually proved problematic, as Boreham Wood pushed forward looking for the winner.
The goalkeeper for the Wood really had very little to do all game. The defence was never put under much pressure, and by the end Diamonds were probably lucky to still be in the draw for the next round. Unless there is a dramatic improvement in the replay it will be Boreham Wood who will be making the trip to Yeovil or Hayes in the next round. In fairness they should probably be in the hat and booking their ticket already. In the last twenty minutes there were continuous scrambles and shots having to be blocked by flailing bodies in the heart of the Diamonds defence. Even the introduction of Mark Rawle and Julian Capone failed to lift the teams performance much above awful in the second half.
The other disappointment from Diamonds fans is that now the match with Kettering Town must be re-arranged. There must surely have been no better time to face Kettering than now if we were to get another quick three points in the Vauxhall Conference.
Todays showing in the second half had supporters wondering which was the Conference team and which team played in the Icis League. Answers on a postcard please!
As an addition to the above report, and now 24 hours on, maybe the emotions have calmed a little. Most of the players on show Saturday afternoon have played well so far this season, and got the Diamonds to ninth in the table. They should surely be allowed a few off days so maybe its better to have those “off-days” in a Cup match as opposed to a Conference game. So lets put this performance in the past where it belongs, and get behind the lads for the replay and more importantly the game on Saturday against Slough Town.” Come on you Whites”
Result : 1-1 Draw (Replay Tuesday 28th October)