Rushden & Diamonds 4 Barrow 0

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

Date: 22.08.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2259)

Diamonds Team Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Wilson, Whyte, Brady, Vandervalden, Foster, Collins, Underwood. Subs Mehew, McElhatton, Hanlon.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Brady, Mison, Foster and Underwood.

Webmasters Man of the Match award : The Team

Match Report :

Barrow, recently promoted to the Conference, came to Nene Park with two losses under their belt but talk of being unlucky in their defeats. There was no such bad luck today. They were trounced by a superior Diamonds team that scored four and should have scored double figures. They were beaten by a team that oused flair and creativity, especially in the second half. The whole team deserved to take a lot of credit from todays performance. The last two games I have been judged to have been too critical of the teams performance. But today they came good, and got better and better as the game wore on.

To be honest the first half was not that exciting. In fact Barrow probably had their best, and only chance just before Diamonds scored their first goal. But at this level, as we found to our cost last season, you have to take your chances. After that chance went begging for Barrow, Unders started one of his mazy runs, evading a couple of tackles before being un-ceremoniously chopped to the floor. Brady shaped to take the free kick, and quick as a flash rocketed the ball into the net past the flailing keeper. Shortly after Darren Collins had a chance to put Diamonds further ahead but fluffed the opportunity. In fairness this was not to be Collins day. Maybe because he was more used to having Westy along side him instead of Fossy. But Darren had a couple of chances which were wasted. From the first goal until half time all of the play was in the Barrow half. Barrow put up a bit of resistence in midfield but looked short of strike power. Diamonds went in at half time 1-0 up, and with a satisfactory performance under their belt. Nothing stunning performance wise, but they had done their job well.

The second half was a superb performance. The Barrow fans behind the goal should have asked for their money back as all of the play was in the opposing half, and rarely did they venture past midfield. I cant remember Gayle having to save one decent shot all game. Shortly after the break Mison picked up the ball on the half way line. He headed for goal, and I thought – here we go again, those people by the corner flag are in danger of being “Mised”, and that hurts! But he kept going and unleashed a terrific shot that would have graced any stadium the length of the Country. The crowd erupted, and I am sure he will take a lot of ribbing from the players about that goal. It was a scorcher. And there was more to come, as the elusive Brady seared down the right and put over a brilliant cross for Fossy to head in for Diamonds third. This was shortly followed by a searing drive from the right by Unders that caught everyone by surprise. At 4-0 Diamonds were cruising and playing beautiful football. The whole team was pushing forward by now, Chris Whyte and Fossy had shots blocked, Unders had three chances that scorched the top of the bar, Collins had a couple of runs that unselfishly put players through only for the Barrow defence to scramble the ball away. Tim Wooding had one of the best games I have seen from him for a long while and Bradshaw and Wilson at the back looked secure throughout. It can only be said that it was a totally well deserved victory.

So three games gone, nine points, nine goals scored and only one conceded, and we are top of the League. Mison apparently regaining his form today, Fossy looking sharp up front, and the whole team performing well. Early days certainly, but with performances like this the future looks bright. Now comes a tricky week in which we play Kingstonian on Tuesday, ( See News for your travel details) and then the trip up to Southport on Saturday for what will be a tough game against another form side, and a team that has title aspirations themselves. But lets savour the moment – we can now forget the first three games of last season that cost us so dearly, and reflect on the first three games on this season which may be our springboard to success. Well done to BT and the lads, its just a shame that more supporters were not there to enjoy it.

One final note – We had been pre-warned about Barrow fans invading the pitch against Morecambe and bottles being thrown at the Boro, so it was with some trepidation that there visit was to be scrutinised at Nene Park. It must be said that they gave continuous support to their team throughout the game, were friendly in the bar before the game ( Rich even offered to buy me a drink!) and were welcome guests on the day. Well done lads!

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