Rushden & Diamonds 3 Stalybridge Celtic 0

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

Vauxhall Conference

28.02.98 Nene Park (Attendance: 2475)

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Mison 27mins, Collins 44 mins and Foster 82 mins..

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Bradshaw

Match Report :

Diamonds proved again today what a class outfit they have turned into. It must be said however that this was a very poor Celtic team, surprisingly poor in defence, considering Mel Sterland is their manager. Diamonds put Celtic under pressure from the off, and Collins hit the post in the first minute with only Steve Cherry, returning to Nene Park, to beat. Relentless pressure from Diamonds created chance after chance, but all went begging until a goalmouth scramble found the ball at Mison’s feet, and he slotted the ball past Cherry for Diamonds opener on 27 minutes. Collins grabbed a deserved goal just on half-time. If it had not been for Steve Cherry in goal Diamonds could, and should have gone into the break with at least a four goal advantage.

Talbot brought Fossy on to play the second half, substituting for West who received a knock towards the end of the first half. It was nearly a dream start for Foster who shot past Cherry and the post in the opening minute of the second half. The second half was a stroll for the Diamonds. They passed the ball around superbly, cut through the Celtic defence time and time again only to squander chances. Foster must have had six great opportunities but his lack of match sharpness caused him to waste them all, until he slotted in Diamonds third on 82 minutes. In fact one of his headers had beat all of the defence, Cherry included, only for Diamonds Mison to get in the way and block the ball on the line.

One down point for the afternoon was yet another booking for Darren Collins, who joins the ranks of players who will be missing for a couple of games in March, Diamonds make or break month. Its about time Brian Talbot told him not to go in for needless challenges with both feet. He gets booked, rightly so, each time. Plus performances today came from Butterworth, showing no signs of his injury being too much of a problem, Darren Bradshaw and Chris Whyte both superb again, and the ever improving Kenny Cramman who must now be getting back to his very best. Smithy had very little to do, and it was nice at the other end to see Steve Cherry get an ovation from the Diamonds fans who remember the effort he put into Diamonds move up the table and away from relegation last season.

Now for the crunch game against Cheltenham next weekend, where three points again are a necessity.

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