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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