Telford United 4 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

04.04.98 – Bucks Head (Attendance: 900)

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins and Cramman.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Mark Smith

Match Report :

The hardened Diamonds supporters are having to watch some pretty awful football at times from the current team of players. The problem being that the play is so erratic. Last week we were world beaters for the first 35 minutes and then pathetic for the remainder of the game. Today at Telford it was the reverse ( Well almost). We played like we didn’t care less for all of the first half and the first ten of the second, and then decided to take a bit of pride and could have got a result from the game. So lets put it all in perspective.

Diamonds came into this game in second place in the Conference, playing a Telford team languishing third from bottom. To be honest it was obvious who wanted the points more – Diamonds title challenge collapsed at home last weekend and Telford are desperately trying to fight the drop. In the first half there was only one team playing football and it wasn’t Diamonds. Telford looked sharper all round and tore the Diamonds defence to shreds. It was no surprise that they took an early two goal lead, the surprise being that at half time they went in only two up. Mark Smith again kept Diamonds in the match with a string of fine saves. Another disappointment for Diamonds was another booking for Collins for one of his usual rash tackles from behind. More worrying was a lack of discipline from Collins right in front of the dugouts that somehow the ref and his assistant both failed to see. I would imagine that the Telford Number 3 now talks in a very high voice. A similar incident also happened in the second half. “Can we have our balls back Mister” springs to mind.

Diamonds came out in the second half and at least tried to put Telford under some pressure. Foster and Hackett were brought on to replace Hamsher and Mehew from the start of the second half. The strong wind made it difficult for the Telford keeper to clear his area and Diamonds forced a string of corners. But it was Telford who were continuing to look the more threatening in attack. They took a 3-0 lead midway through the second half and it was really only then that Diamonds came to life. Collins put Diamonds back in the game on 74 minutes, and almost immediately scored a second as he challenged the keepers clearance but saw the rebound clear the wrong side of the post. Diamonds finally realised that there was the chance of something from the game, and the Telford keeper had to make three first class saves to deny Foster twice and Collins. But Telford scored a fourth on the break as Diamonds pressed forward. A late consolation goal from a free- kick by Cooper ended a sorry display for the Diamonds whose season now threatens to just fizz out with a whimper.

We all thought Diamonds would come on really strong at the end of the season, but its not happening. Where is it going wrong? In my humble opinion, and I am sure Brian Talbot wouldn’t necessarily agree (or would he?) our squad has been found lacking. We need a quality right back as Tim lacks pace, Chalky is lacking when exposed at the back for pace – and too often he is being exposed. Mark Cooper has not really settled into the team and seems to lack the quality required to move us further up the ladder, and David Mehew has failed to impress in all of his performances since joining last month. Even Fossy seems to have put on a bit of weight and does not seem as quick around the box. Diamonds still have a great chance of finishing in the top three, which will be a major achievement this season, but there need to be a major strengthening of the squad if we are to progress and achieve the dreams of Max next season. Lets be patient and I am sure Brian will bring in some more great signings, I am also sure we shall shortly see Ben Lewis making his debut in defence.

Well done Telford and the best of luck in the avoidance of the relegation trapdoor.

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