Rushden & Diamonds 4 Kidderminster Harriers 1

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

Vauxhall Conference

15.11.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2234)

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Cramman, Mison, Branston, Whyte, Butterworth, Bradshaw, Barnwell, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Capone, Ndekwe and Wooding.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Underwood 19 mins.
Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Jamie Barnwell

Match Report : This was always going to be a very important game for the Diamonds.A win would take them to sixth in the table, and a good performance will silence some of the critics, like myself, who are disappointed in the lack of vision and commitment, that has been evident at the last few matches at Nene Park. Though the result is always important, it would be nice to be able to report what a great display of attacking football the Diamonds showed.

First Half: A superb first half from the Diamonds in which they could easily have been five goals up. Collins, having a superb game could have put the home team ahead after only three minutes but blasted over the bar from close range. Barnwell was put through on 4 minutes with only the keeper to beat but missed a glorious chance to put the Diamonds ahead. Diamonds totally dominated this half with Kidderminster being limited to a couple of long range shots. Mison missed an opportunity on 6 minutes and proceeded to get booked on 7 minutes. Barnwell was through again on 8 minutes but another chance went begging.

The breakthrough came on 11 minutes when a Mison cross from the right was headed home by Barnwell for his first goal for the Diamonds. Relentless pressure failed to find the net again in this half but more chances went begging. Just before half time a sliding tackle from Collins took the legs from Talbot on the touchline much to the amusement of the crowd behind the dugout. If Diamonds continue in this vein a fine victory should be on the cards.

Second Half: The second half opened as the first finished with Diamonds pressing forward. Then the unthinkable happened. A lapse of concentration in the Diamonds defence, and Doherty put the visitors level. Was this going to be another disappointment for the Diamonds. Kidderminster gained heart from the goal and pushed Diamonds back. On 62 minutes Arnold had a shot saved by Smith.

On 66 minutes Jamie Barnwell was put through, and in a clash with the keeper and a defender somehow the ball looped into an empty net. On 68 minutes with Kidderminster pressing from the right, a superb cross in found the head of the centre forward who flicked a neat ball into the Diamonds net. The gods must have been looking down because the goal was disallowed for a hand ball. Surely this was going to be Diamonds day. Kidderminster were then awarded a penalty after the long legs of Whyte up ended the attacker, but up pops Smith again to come to Diamonds rescue saving the penalty superbly.

On 77 minutes Jamie Barnwell was put through again and placed a superb ball to the right of the keeper and into the net. Collins continued to play excellently up front with Barnwell and it would have been a travesty of justice if he had not got just reward for his efforts. Late in the match Mison made a dazzling break down the right, round the defender at the by-line and cut back a superb ball for Collins to tuck one away in the right corner. The crowning of an excellent performance, and a great game. Arnold showed today that he is still one of the classiest players in the Conference and I am sure that Kidderminster will be doing all that they can to hang on to him. Diamonds moved smoothly up to sixth and must now look forward to a trip to Morecambe next weekend, confident that a result should be there if they play and graft as they did today.

What a difference it makes to have Gary Butterworth back in the side. He and Bradshaw both impressed in midfield. Chris Whyte had another great game and young Guy Branston did well in marking Ian Arnold. Arnold is an difficult man to contain and for most of the game Branston stayed tight to him and did a great job. Hackett came on for Underwood shortly after half time, but made no great impression. Underwood seems out of sorts, and it was no surprise when Talbot took him off. He seems unable to get in the telling crosses that we saw in the first matches of the season. Smith had a few shaky moments in goal but is turning out to be a great acquisition, especially when faced with penalties. Cramman was again in and out of the game, but the stars must have been the lads up front. Jamie Barnwell was given the man of the match and collected the match ball for his hatrick but all credit to Darren who seemed really up for this game.

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