Hereford United 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

Vauxhall Conference

25.04.98 – Edgar Street (Attendance: 3055)

Diamonds Team…Smith,Wooding,Rodwell, Hamsher, Cramman, Whyte, Kelly, Cooper, Mehew, Collins, Hackett Subs: West, Foster, Capone.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Colin West

Match Report :

At last we have seen a bit of aggression, grit and fightback from a Diamonds team, that has been missing for a couple of months. Finally there seems to be some pride in wearing a Diamonds shirt. Yesterday saw Diamonds fight back from the disadvantage of giving a goal away in the first five minutes of the game, to feel justifiably unlucky to come away from Hereford with just the one point.

Diamonds fell behind to a strike from the lively Agana after just three minutes, a long range shot that caught Smith cold, but the original mistake came from Wooding looking too casual in clearing his lines. For the next twenty minutes Diamonds were lucky to keep the game to a 0-1 deficit as Hereford squandered chances, but as the half wore on Diamonds clawed their way back, and had some chances to equalize but poor finishing from Wooding/Cooper and Collins assisted the slow Hereford defence. The conditions played a major part in this match, a strong whirling wind made it difficult to clear your lines with the wind against you, so most of the game was played in the Diamonds half. With a 0-1 scoreline there was always going to be a chance in the second half but changes were needed to the team as the usual players were again failing to impress.

The second half saw Talbot make two changes, West on for Mehew ( who struggled again to make an impression ) and Capone on for Cooper (likewise). From here on it was nearly all Diamonds. Constant pressure brought the Hereford midfield way back in their own half leaving only Agana and Pitman up front. Chances for Diamonds went begging as West proved again what a strength he is holding the play upfront and providing class passes to the on-running attackers. As time crept on Talbot brought Fossy on to give an additional option up front, and the best chances of the afternoon fell to him, but were squandered when it would seem easier to score than to miss, at least if they were on target the keeper would have had to save. But they were screwed wide of the posts by a long way. Possibly the heckling of the crowd and their short memories affected him, but there is no excuse not to hit the target from that range. When the equaliser came it was just desserts, and it naturally fell to Darren Collins, who tucked it away nicely. It the remaining minutes it would always be Diamonds who looked the most likely to score again, and the spirited effort was rewarded by just the one point, that now sees Diamonds slip into third place behind Woking.

So at last a performance of note, thanks to a great substitution from Brian Talbot. Capone had a good performance as substitute for Diamonds, Westy was superb, and Collins also worked very hard upfront and back in defence when needed. The defence still flatters to deceive, as Cramman and Wooding did little wrong but something is missing in their game. At the centre Rodwell and White were steady, and Smithy in goal looked srong except when foraging way outside his area trying to dribble past oncoming attackers. Kelly had a strong game and did everything that was asked of him, but never seems to impress himself on the game as you might expect. Brendan Hackett is mentioned in this report as often as I saw him in the match – nuff said!!!!

One other important note that for the second game running we have seen a great refereeing performance, a referee not intimidated into making needless bookings, and a referee with a smile and a sense of humour. Maybe there is hope…..

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