Rushden & Diamonds 3 Farnborough Town 2

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

FA Umbro Trophy

10.01.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2164)

Team : Smith, Hamsher, Bradshaw, Cramman, Wooding, Whyte, Butterworth, Capone, Alford, Collins, Hackett, Subs: Kelly, Ndekwe and Underwood.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Cramman, Collins (2).

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Bradshaw

Match Report : Interest in this game was high as Brian Talbot was forced to change his line-up due to the suspension of Mison, Guy Branston having returned to Leicester City and Colin West’s in-eligibility. In came Kenny Cramman, back after injury, and the surprise inclusion of Carl Alford back in the first team for the first time since the season started. We had reported on this site previously that Carl thought that he was back in favour with BT, and today he was given the chance to prove that he could perform at this level. He had the opportunity to prove to BT, and indeed any prospective Clubs watching that he could hack it with the best.

Farnborough came to Nene Park with a somewhat patched up team due to injuries and suspensions, and in the opening twenty minutes all of the urgency and skill came from Diamonds. Alford started well with Collins and had a shot cleared off the line early on. In view of all of the early pressure coming from Diamonds it was some surprise that Farnborough took the lead midway through the half, when a mix-up in defence following a corner, allowed a scrambled goal in which the ball some how managed to cross the line. But to Diamonds credit they hit back within two minutes, a free kick following a needless foul on Capone, was rifled into the net by Cramman following a deception by Alford. With all of the pressure coming from Diamonds up to the end of the first half there seemed to be no worries in the Diamonds camp.

In the second half Farnborough suddenly believed that they could come away from Nene Park with a result and Mehew and Wingfield came to life. For fifteen minutes Diamonds were given the run around. Capone was substituted with Underwood and suddenly all of the shape went out of the Diamonds team. Mistakes started to be made and it came as no surprise when Farnborough re-took the lead. Mark Smith allowed the ball to slip into the net through his legs, only his first mistake of any sort since joining the Club. But it could have been so different if Collins had of tucked away the simplest of chances with virtually an open goal at his mercy. Suddenly you had visions that again Diamonds were going to exit the FA Trophy at its earliest stages. But Collins redeemed himself by firing another equalizer for the Diamonds. Diamonds piled on the pressure in the final minutes not wanting the game to go to a mid-week replay. With two minutes to go up popped Collins for his second and a 3-2 favourable scoreline. But the game didn’t end without drama as Mehew fired in a vicious 30yard drive virtually on the final whistle that shaved the outside of the post.

So Diamonds move into the next round and the draw on Monday. The plus’s in this game were the performances of Darren Bradshaw and Carl Alford. John Hamsher had a good game in a new midfield role alongside Gary Butterworth. One wonders how much Mark Smiths injury is troubling him, and whether it would be better to bring in Darren Watts, as the defence seemed not to want to put Smith under any un-necessary pressure. Brendan Hackett did his usual flitting in and out of the game, refusing on a couple of occasions to want to accept the ball or make runs. Darren Collins picked up a fifth booking for one of his sliding lunges and now faces suspension, some thing that Diamonds could do without if they are to sustain a challenge on the title. So often a suspension when you are on a goal run turns into a goal drought when you return to action. Lets hope that this is not the case with Collins. Finally a word on Carl Alford, who I think proved today with his unselfish running and hard work that he still has a lot to offer at Nene Park.

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