Kettering Town 0 Rushden & Diamonds 4

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

Vauxhall Conference

21.02.98 – Rockingham Road (Attendance: 4016)

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Mison 19mins, Underwood 42mins, West 57 and 87mins.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Team Performance

Match Report :

A superb, professional performance this afternoon saw Diamonds breeze past Kettering and into Second Place in the Conference. Putting Gateshead and the squandered chances behind them Diamonds looked too professional for a Kettering side which must still have worries about relegation. Diamonds started the first half with a strong wind in their faces, making it difficult to clear their lines, but in the opening 10 minutes they battled and matched Kettering, who tried to exert early pressure.

Diamonds coped with a couple of early corners from Kettering, and gradually started to take a stranglehold on the midfield. Poor refereeing meant that the first half became very much a stop/start half. Every time that the quick Pearson went down under a tackle the referee booked a Diamonds player. Bradshaw, Mison, Collins and Whyte were all booked, with a couple of bookings for Kettering as well. Diamonds created good width down the flanks, and it was from one such move that a wicked cross was fired in finding the head of Mison who easily scored. This happened just as the Diamonds fans were giving Mison stick for losing possession time and time again. On 42 minutes Underwood sent the fans crazy as another great cross gave him the space to lift the ball round the advancing keeper to send Diamonds into the break with a well deserved two goal lead.

The second half started with Kettering looking for an early goal to get back into the game, but it was Diamonds who always looked the more impressive either going forward or holding the line at the back. Both Collins and West worked hard up front, and both had chances to extend Diamonds lead as they fought the offside trap.On 87 minutes West was put clear, calmly rounded the keeper and literally walked the ball into the empty net. The Kettering keeper then proceeded to assault West, and in-explicably got only a yellow card when he should have been sent off. That goal virtually killed the game as far as Kettering were concerned. Diamonds looked cool on the ball, and at times played it around superbly. It was therefore no surprise when Collins had a chance to put Diamonds further ahead, hit the post, and a bobbling ball fell to West who executed probably his easiest goal for some time. The game ended with Diamonds in the ascendancy and strolling around Rockingham Road.

As for notable performances, the whole of the backline did their job well. Bradshaw was again superb, as was Kenny Cramman who has come in for some stick from yours truly on many an occasion. Kenny missed nothing either on the ground or in the air. Possibly a few wayward passes, but he was always their to make amends and clear up any danger. Michael Mison still gives cause for concern when he tries to beat people in attack, and finds himself out of position when the attack breaks down. Chris Whyte was excellent, Mark Cooper, in for the injured Gary Butterworth, got better as the game wore on. As for West and Collins, they put in such effort up front, I just wish Darren would hang back from making his stupid lunging tackles in non-dangerous positions. He collected another booking today, and may soon find himself missing from crucial games in the run in. Even Julian Capone had one of his better games today, and he looks to be a much stronger player these days.

A downer on the afternoon was some stupid behaviour from some Kettering fans throwing eggs over the perimeter wall, from outside the ground, which splattered over the Diamonds supporters and around the Diamonds penalty area. Smithy retrieved one and threw in nearly 30 yards towards the side of the ground where the Kettering Supporters were gathered. They thought it was sinister and jeered and threatened. Couldn’t they see it was just a YOKE?

See here for video highlights of the game.

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