Rushden & Diamonds 4 Dover Athletic 1

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

Vauxhall Conference

Date: 13.12.97 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2254)

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Branston, Whyte, Butterworth, Capone, West, Collins, Hackett, Subs: Hamsher, Kelly and Ndekwe.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins 28 and 83 mins, West 31 and 65 minutes.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report : At last a couple of back to back inspiring performances from the Diamonds. Following last weeks great win at Northwich, Dover were today played off the park by a strong and inventive Diamonds team. Brian Talbot kept faith with last weeks team and he was rewarded with an emphatic win, albeit against very poor opposition.

Diamonds started the match at a charge, and it was some surprise that they had to wait until the 28th minute to take the lead through Darren Collins. Diamonds controlled midfield superbly with Gary Butterworth orchestrating every move forward, with Bradshaw supporting. The front men could have had a brace at least each before half time but chances were missed. Martin Davies in goal for Dover looked as shaky as he used to last season for the Diamonds, and it was no surprise when Colin West headed a superb goal after a neat cross in from the right, his first goal for Diamonds. Mison looked impressive and Whyte controlled any threat from Diamonds ex loan player Sammy Ayorinde.

The second half started as the first finished, with Diamonds exerting all of the pressure. They went further ahead on 65 minutes with a superb goal from West. What was so pleasing was the confidence in which Diamonds played the ball around leading up to Wests strike. Indeed Collins had a couple of chances to increase the lead further as on one occasion he pressured Davies from a back pass, collected the shot that rebounded from him and then proceeded to lob the ball over the empty goal. He also put the ball in the back of the net a few minutes later only for Mison to be ruled offside. Dover pulled a goal back on 76 minutes after a deliberate handball was missed by the referee, with the Dover striker proceeding to put away a great strike. Whyte got himself boked for contesting the decision, and then Mison got himself booked for a late tackle after a bit of “afters” from a Dover midfielder. Collins scored his second, and advanced into the record books as Diamonds all time highest scorer with a goal on 83 minutes which killed off the game.

So a good game and a great performance that keeps Diamonds in fifth and in with the pack who are chasing Halifax who lost today. With Halifax still to meet Diamonds both home and away it could be an interesting season ahead. Diamonds now need to put up a good performance next week against bogey team Hayes to keep up the pressure on the leaders. After todays performance they should be well up for the game. Incidentally the atmosphere at Nene Park was better today, due mainly to a group of school children filling one part of the North Stand and making themselves heard all game. Maybe the management should get them along more often as it certainly gave some thing to the atmosphere that has been lacking. Well done lads.



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