Stalybridge Celtic 2 Rushden & Diamonds 4

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

Vauxhall Conference

13.04.98 – Bower Fold

Diamonds Team: Smith, Wooding, Bradshaw, Hamsher, Cramman,Whyte, Capone, Cooper, Foster, Collins, Hackett (Sub.Underwood 75mins) Subs not used. Mehew, Rodwell. .

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins (36, 69 and 80 minutes) and Cooper.

Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report :

Diamonds kept up the pressure on the pack chasing a second place spot behind Halifax with an emphatic win over Stalybridge this afternoon. The other results went Diamonds way as Cheltenham, Woking, and Hednesford all lost, with the main contender for the runners-up spot possibly being Hereford United, who Diamonds play in a crunch game in two weeks time. Diamonds now have a run-in to the season end with four home games and one away game, and the Runners -Up spot is now in their own hands.

Darren Collins to his goal tally to 25 with a clinical hat-trick at Stalybridge last night. It brought him to within two goals of leading conference scorer Geoff Horsfield of Halifax. Brian Talbot’s charges were made to work hard for the three points they obtained after Stalybridge were reduced to ten men as early as the 7th minute. What lee trundle had in mind when he deliberately elbowed Tim Wooding in the face beggared belief. Referee Bisa Bellow had no alterative but to send him packing.

Diamonds were stunned when the home team took the lead after 21 minutes. A deep free-kick from Mark Powell sailed over the Diamonds markers, and although Mark Smith blocked Brendan Burke’s initial attempt the ball spun back over the helpless keeper and burke was able to walk the ball into the empty net. In the 36th minute when a patient four-man build-up released Julian Capone down the right, his measured cross met Collins eight yards out and he side footed a volley into the net for his first goal. Collins had a down header well saved by keeper cutler as diamonds finished the first half in the ascendancy.

After two minutes into the second half a cross by Capone caused confusion in the Stalybridge defence and mark cooper was first to react to hook the ball in from close range. Brendan Hackett forced cutler into a fine low save as diamonds strove to press home their advantage and they didn’t have to wait long before increasing their lead. Stalybridge failed to clear their lines and Tim wooding was able to release Hamsher down the right. And when his cross came over Collins was again on hand to meet the ball firmly in the centre of his forehead and leave cutler helpless.

Ten minutes from time Collins grabbed his hat-trick after fellow front runner Adrian Foster had skipped to the by-line and laid the ball on the plate just two yards out. Deep into injury time a stunning left foot strike from Mark Highfield caught Mark Smith off his line.

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