Boreham Wood 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

FA Cup 4 Qualifying Round Replay

28.10.97 – Meadow Park

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 : Nil
Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match :
Match Report :

Rushden & Diamonds were knocked out of the FA Cup by Isthmian League’s Boreham Wood last night.

Substitute Paul Shaw sent the under par Diamonds crashing out in the 116th minute, just as it was thought that a penalty shoot-out was going to take place.

Boreham Wood deserved their win and only fine goal-keeping by Mark Smith saved Diamonds from a heavier defeat. Diamonds gave away possession much too often, and could not cope with the constant harassing that Boreham Wood provided.

Tony Samuels played havoc with the Diamonds defence, and made them look flat-footed, and his trickery was even greater than his display last Saturday. Four times Mark Smith denied him from scoring after going around the three centre backs Whyte, Rodwell and Kelly.

Brian Talbot was naturally disappointed with being knocked out of the FA Cup so near to full time, but he said he could not complain about the effort of the Diamond players. Both wing backs Wooding and Underwood looked very uncomfortable, and it is possible that Brian may have to look outside the club if they cannot settle into this style of play.

Diamonds man of the match Mark Smith only made one mistake, and fortunately this did not lead to a goal against us, as Warren Kelly cleared the Samuels header off the line. However he really made up for this error.

Constantly in the second half Diamonds gave away the ball to their opponents, but as both sides battled all the way for a result, it was no surprise that the game went into extra time. It would have been exciting to see the game settled by penalties, and also to see our quality of penalty taking, however substitute Shaw had other ideas and scored just with 4 minutes to the end of the extra time period.

Once again as was experienced last Saturday Diamonds chances were missed. Unfortunately Capone missed with goal-keeper out of position.

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Rushden & Diamonds 1 Boreham Wood 1

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)

Kidderminster Harriers 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

Vauxhall Conference

18.10.97 – Aggborough Stadium (Attendance: 2139)

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Cramman, Mison, Branston, Whyte, Kelly, Butterworth, Foster, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Hackett, Fuff.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Mison 7mins and Cramman 63mins.
Webmaster Man of the Match: Kenny Cramman

Match Report :

Rushden & Diamonds have lost their inconsistency tag after three consecutive Conference victories.

This latest success, which was fully merited over Kidderminster consolidated their position in the top half of the table.

Former Crewe keeper Mark Smith came into the team and when Malcolm Ndekwe came on late in the game he was the 30th player used by Brian Talbot this campaign. There was a feast of entertainment which began with an early goal for the Diamonds when Michael Mison forced home Paul Underwood’s corner.

That provided impetus the Kidderminster Harriers needed and for more than 20 minutes nearly all of the action was in Diamonds half. During this period of sustained pressure Chris Whyte dominated the penalty area with well timed interceptions and clearances, but unfortunately Diamonds cracked. A right-wing corner was powerfully headed home by Kidderminster’s star player Mark Yates from the edge of the penalty area, in-off the post.

Diamonds responded well to this setback, producing a number of opportunities down the right, while Adrian Foster saw a shot cleared of the line after he skipped round the keeper, and later cut-backs from Mison and Wooding, which should have provided tap-ins evaded everyone.

The Diamonds started the second spell well in control. Unfortunately the chances would not go in and the Diamonds supporters started to worry that the winner would elude them. Darren Collins saw his shot blocked by keeper Steadman and then, gifted the ball by the keeper, he squared it to Foster who was denied by a last ditch tackle. The goal finally came when Foster, a resident of Kidderminster, found space in the penalty box and chipped the out rushing keeper. It might have gone in, but Kenny Cramman made sure by getting the final touch.

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Woking 1

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

Vauxhall Conference

04.10.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2839 )

Diamonds Team : Watts, Hackett, Cramman, Mison, Fuff, Whyte, Kelly, Butterworth, Foster, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Wooding, Hamsher, Rawle.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Foster 90 mins, Mison 16 mins

Webmaster Man of the Match: Adrian Foster

Match Report : A large crowd turned up on a glorious autumn afternoon to see if Diamonds could put some of their worries to one side and move up the table. Diamonds, having got three points from their last two away games, now returned to the scene of a few weeks ago where they let in five goals to what must be said was an average Farnborough team. Woking would surely provide a yardstick to how the new men brought in to bolster the defence would face up to the task. For the first fifteen minutes Diamonds could hardly get a touch of the ball as Woking passed the ball around the park, or at least the Diamonds half of the Park. However on 16 minutes a delightful cross from a free kick into the Woking penalty was stuck away by Mison. It seemed so easy! Seconds later Collins was through with only the keeper to beat but failed to hit the back of the net. A costly mistake because four minutes later Woking were level, the defence again lacking. It seemed that yet again missed opportunities may prove costly.

From here on in it was all Diamonds pressure, but without real penetration, the final ball always lacking. Hackett and Cramman struggled to find any rhythm and it was left to Gary Butterworth to orchestrate proceedings from the middle of the park. Kelly looked competent in the centre of defence without really sparkling, and Glen Fuff looked slightly out of his depth at times, with hasty clearances failing to find their targets. At half time the teams retired at one a piece, in what was a fairly even match.

The second half proved to be all Diamonds. Darren Collins missed another sitter with only the keeper to beat, and on seventy minutes Diamonds really turned up the heat. Having penned Woking into their own penalty area shots rained in on the Woking goal. Clearances off the line and the woodwork saved Woking from caving in from the onslaught. But it looked as though the defence of Woking would hang on for a point. At seventy five minutes BT played his trump card in taking off Brendan Hackett, who appeared to be asked to play out of position, and introduced super-sub Mark Rawle. The young player was asked to play up front between Collins and Foster. On a couple of occasions he showed his control on the ball and his skill in having the ability to turn his man. On 90 minutes he picked up a pass , turned his man and bore down on goal. With Cramman screaming for a pass on his left and Foster wide on the right, he elected to play the ball to Foster, who in a flash shot across the keeper with a vicious drive and collected all three points for the Diamonds.

Foster fully deserved the goal as reward for his tireless effort during the game. He covered every blade of grass up front, chasing every loose ball and not giving up on anything. He kept the pressure on the Woking defence from start to finish, and providing he stays away from injury and bookings, I would be surprised if he does not get 20-25 goals this season. He is class, has skill in abundance and will prove to be a great favourite at Nene Park.

This result moves Diamonds up to 11th position, and a win on Saturday against Hereford will see the Diamonds move up to their highest position in the Conference, if the other results go our way. I dont think we have seen a “great ” conference team yet this season, which shows how tight it could be approaching the run-in next year. Lets not get carried away with one result, but the signs are there and it would be nice to finish top five, wouldn’t it. Who knows?

I think also that the Woking supporters did their team proud today, turning up in large numbers, and giving their team vocal support throughout the game. Well done Woking!

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Hereford United 0

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

Competition: Vauxhall Conference

11.10.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2859)

Diamonds Team : Watts, Hackett, Cramman, Mison, Branston, Whyte, Kelly, Butterworth, Foster, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Wooding, Fuff, Rawle.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins 43 mins

Webmaster Man of the Match: Warren Kelly

Match Report : Diamonds faces their stiffest test to date, when they faced a Hereford team which had only recently been relegated from the Third Division. Hereford were without Neil Grayson ( Ex- Northampton Striker) but came to Nene Park boasting a run of good results. Diamonds introduced Guy Branston into the heart of the defence. Guy has been brought in by Brian Talbot on a months loan from Leicester City, where he played in the reserves.

The first fifteen minutes of the game were evenly matched and provided end to end entertainment, but was spoilt by the referee who seemed to like the sound of his whistle and the yellow colour of a card in his top right pocket. The referee came to Nene Park last season and booked nine players, so it was no surprise when he booked Collins after five minutes for an innocuous sliding challenge. The whistle happy referee stop started the game, which was unable to flow although Diamonds had much the better of the first half. Hereford had brought a “Route 1” plan of attack to Nene Park, lacking any idea of playing the ball along the ground but preferring to hoof into the Diamonds area, very predictably, at any opportunity. Diamonds neat passing and slick running off the ball upfront from Collins and Foster caused problems for the Hereford defence. On 43 minutes an attacking run from Mison, the defenders backed off, and MIson’s attempt on goal could only be parried by the Hereford keeper. The ball came from his grasp and Collins sliding in forced the ball into the net. No more than was deserved.

Diamonds restarted the second half looking to capitalize on their superiority, but chances went begging. Collins missed after being sent clear, and Foster had a shot saved, and managed to smash the rebound into the side netting. This seemed most amusing to the Hereford fans who were barracking Foster throughout the game. Memories are short as it was Fosters goals last season that only just failed to keep Hereford in the Third Division. Too often sides come to Nene Park, create a couple of chances, and stick them away. Hereford had those chances but wasted them. Unless they change their method of play I can see no quick return for them to the Third Division. They were made to look an average Conference side, by the Diamonds, who at times sparkled and at other times had us again on the edge of our seats and the defence got into the usual tangles.

But this was a match where for once we kept a clean sheet. Warren Kelly looked more than adequate, and playing alongside Chris Whyte can only build his confidence. Underwood looked very good, but Brendan Hackett who is a good left wing man looked at a loss sometimes being asked to play right wing-back. Kenny Cramman was good in patches, but Gary Butterworth is still struggling to regain the form of last season. A year ago there was only one man of the match in almost every Diamonds game, Gary Butterworth. But this season I cannot think of a game where he has impressed to that level. ( Although BT says he had a cracker against Hayes )

Michael Mison looked sharp going forward, but should try the simple ball more often. His trickery on the ball often seems to confuse not only the opposing players but also his own team-mates.

That being said the most important thing today must have been the three points gained, and a satisfactory team performance. Diamonds problem is consistency, so we can only wait and see whether a run of good results will now occur. A move up the table is now looking a distinct possibility. Before todays match we would have been confident of a point or three next week against Kidderminster, who have struggled so far this season. However “Kiddy” had a good win today away at Southport, so next weeks game looks like being another tight affair. Best of luck to the lads.

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