Rushden & Diamonds 3 Telford United 2

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

Vauxhall Conference

02.05.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2197)

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Collins (2) and West

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match : Darren Collins

Match Report :

At last a win for the Diamonds at home, but for 60 minutes of this game it looked as though Telford were going to take all 3 points. This was a match that Telford needed to win to avoid relegation, and all that was at stake for Diamonds was pride. When Telford went ahead after just a few minutes the worst was feared, and it was Telford who played the better football. With a strong wind in their faces Diamonds had trouble clearing their own half, and the Diamonds defence looked particularly shaky. When news that Hayes were beating Leek filtered to the Telford supporters they erupted in glee but it was to be short lived as Darren Collins pulled Diamonds level. In fairness to Telford they never sat back, and were always prepared to play football. The first half probably belonged to Telford and they could feel aggrieved to go in level.

The second half Diamonds had the wind behind them and they started to play better football. With Bradshaw and Whyte looking fairly solid in the middle, and Wooding and Cramman forcing the defence back on the flanks chances were bound to come if the pressure could continue to be exerted.But it was another defensive error that allowed Telford to go into the lead again, as a mix-up with Whyte allowed Telford to get to the byline, a scramble in the goalmouth and Ges Murphy blasted into the roof of the net. But Diamonds fought back immediately and a headed goal from West and a penalty from Collins secured all the points for Diamonds. After they took the lead Diamonds never looked like allowing Telford into the match. Collins should have overtaken Horsfield as the Conference number one goalscorer but wasted at least five good chances. Other notable performances came from Julian Capone in the second half and John Hamsher who covered every blade of the grass, and at times was Diamonds most forward player. He must learn not to give the ball away quite so often, but he looks good for the future.

So the season finishes on a high note for Diamonds but a sorry note for Telford, who now drop out of the Conference. Their fans were superb today, coming in fancy dress and creating a bit of a carnival atmosphere. They applauded their team off at the end and sang throughout the game. Diamonds finish in fourth place, and at the start of the season probably would not have expected to finish on these dizzy heights.On reflection it has been a topsy turvy season, with great performances against Halifax and Cheltenham, and lows against Slough, Leek and Hayes. Brian has brought in some great players, Smith and Bradshaw spring to mind, and some players who have yet to prove they are up to the task, ie Foster, Mehew and Mison. Brendan Hackett has now played his last game for the Diamonds and so the building of a team to take the Conference title next season will continue. What Diamonds have lacked all season is consistency, and that will be needed if the squad is to progress. Halifax deserve their promotion and are to be congratulated. We all wish them success in the Football League, and hopefully we will see them shortly. Congrats also to the De Banke choir who have sang their way through the season, and I am sure that I heard some cheering and singing from the far end of the South Stand today.

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