Rushden & Diamonds 4 Halifax Town 0

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

Vauxhall Conference

7.02.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 3875)

Diamonds Team : Smith, Wooding, Bradshaw, Cramman, Hamsher, Whyte, Mison, Butterworth, Collins, West, Underwood, Subs: Cooper, Capone and Craig Smith .

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins 1min and 59 mins, Butterworth 32 mins and Underwood 66 mins.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report :

The unfairest decision to be made was the “Man of the Match” because in the game witnessed this afternoon the whole of the Diamonds team were superb. They blitzed Halifax from start to finish, playing them off the park. Halifax were left tattered and torn as Diamonds ripped them apart. If chances were taken this could easily have been a rout. For Diamonds the match could not have got off to a better start, as neat interplay between the midfield and West put Collins in with a chance which he stabbed past the keeper to make it one nil. Diamonds carved Halifax apart time and again, with the “Big Yin” impersonator Brian Kilcline finding that he had a handful with Darren Collins and Colin West.

The second goal for Diamonds was one of the best ever witnessed at Nene Park. Great clinical passing and interplay, Kenny Cramman passing a great ball to Butterworth who hit a wonderful shot curving wide of the keeper and into the net. Minutes later a looping shot from Underwood rebounded off the crossbar just failing to fall to a Diamonds player. Diamonds were barely tested in defence but when danger did threaten there was Darren Bradshaw and Chris Whyte to clear up. Bradshaw did not put a foot wrong all game and Chris Whyte seemed to put any inconsistency behind him as he coped admirably with the Conference top scorer Horsfield. But surely one of the most improving players must be John Hamsher, who had his best game yet for the club. His skill on the ball and his running off the ball must have been an inspiration to any young players watching the game. Tim Wooding looked composed and Michael Mison had one of his better games, but still for some reason doesnt want to mess his hair as he jumps for the ball but never connects with a header.

The only mystery of the first half was how Diamonds failed to be further ahead, and how Halifax are clear at the top of the Conference. Their team lack any imagination, and are the dirtiest team seen this season at Nene Park. They argue amongst themselves, and surely will fall away in the title race. They did have one great little player in Jamie Murphy at No4 who saved their bacon on many occasion as it looked like Collins would race clear.

The second half we expected Halifax to come out and put the Diamonds under pressure, which they did briefly. Diamonds always looked the most likely to score though and on 59 minutes Collins grabbed his second following a rebound off the crossbar.Three up and cruising Diamonds piled on the pressure and on 66 minutes Cramman put over a great ball from the left and Paul Underwood planted a great header past the keeper. For Halifax there was now no return, and their strong arm tactics came to the fore. In all six Halifax players were booked and worse was to follow.On 87 minutes Paul Storeman was sent off for a right hook that floored Mark Cooper.

Collins somehow managed to miss a sitter which would have completed his hatrick, but he can be excused a rare miss these days. This must surely have been one of the most complete Diamonds performances for years. It certainly looks as though the squad are stronger and fitter this season and looking good for a competitive title run-in. In the last quarter of this game Diamonds introduced new loan signing Craig Smith from Derby County, and his first touch forced the Halifax keeper to tip the ball round the post for a corner. He subsequently also had a great chance with a header which went agonisingly wide. The final words must be saved for the Halifax supporters who were there in their large numbers, sang throughout the game, even though their team game them nothing to cheer about. Well done the visiting Shaymen supporters!

See here for video highlights of the game.


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