Rushden & Diamonds 3 Morecambe 3

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

28.03.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2758)

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins 10 and 15 mins , Underwood 35 mins.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report :

It was hard to write last weeks report for the game against Halifax, this is just as hard. It is hard to understand how a team that is cruising with a 3-0 lead, playing exhibition football, can suddenly change in the space of minutes to a team lacking vision skill and committment. But this is exactly what happened at Nene Park this afternoon. Diamonds played the first 35 minutes and looked superb. Foster had a goal dis-allowed as early as 6 minutes, before Darren Collins put Diamonds into a two goal lead on the 10th and 15th minutes. The first goal Collins cracked into the right hand side of the goal, and the second was a header after good work from Fossy on the right. Collins just failed to make his hatrick on 20 minutes as the keeper saved brilliantly. Fossy then proceeded to smack a screamer just over the bar on 21 minutes, and Cooper followed on 34 minutes with a deadly dipping shot from 30 yards that had the keeper beaten. Underwood put Diamonds further ahead on 35 minutes after a mix-up in the Morecambe defence and you could be forgiven for taking bets on how many Diamonds would score. Then the unthinkable happened. Morecambe hit back with two goals in as many minutes and the game turned. From that point on it was all Morecambe and the half time whistle couldnt come quick enough for Diamonds.

The second half was all Morecambe and it was surprising that they had to wait until the 70th minute to equalise. Wooding fell over on the edge of the box leaving Mark Shirley to squeeze the ball between Smith and the post. This was no more than Morecambe deserved. They totally dominated Diamonds in Midfield so much so that Diamonds were unable to create any chances for their attackers, in fact they could not even get hold of the ball for long periods. When they did have the ball they gave it away cheaply. Mison, Cramman and Wooding were the main culprits, in fact Mison has had another nightmare game. He is a big player but sometimes one wonders about the size of his heart when the chips are down. Tim Wooding has lost his confidence after the Halifax game and he totally lost it after giving away the third goal. Cooper has none of the dominence in midfield that we associate with Gary Butterworth, but put in a few telling, crunching tackles – one of which he was rewarded with another booking. Capone after a great first half received no service, and the changes BT effected made no difference to a side that lost its way. Full credit to Morecambe and their supporters for the fightback, but today was the day that we could have nicked two points back on Halifax, and we failed miserably. The longer todays game went on it was only ever going to be Morecambe who would score, and in the end Diamonds were literally hanging on for a draw.

The first half hour showed the heights that this team can aspire to, but the last hour was woeful and needs sorting quickly or Diamonds may not even hang on to a runners-up position. Hopefully Gary Butterworth will be back to add leadership qualities to the team at Telford next week. We need him back desperately.

Full marks however to Julian Capone, speaking on Radio Diamonds after the game. Too often the supporters listen to players after a defeat who seem to show no feelings for the loss. Julian was honest in his thoughts on the game, and obviously very upset with the result and the way the game was almost lost. Full credit – for once someone came across as feeling as bemused and shocked as the Diamonds supporters are after a performance like that.


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