Southport 0 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

29th August 1998 – Haig Avenue (Attendance: 1650)

Rushden Team: Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Wilson, Whyte, Brady, Vandervalden, Foster, Collins, Underwood.

Subs: Archer, McElhatton, Hanlon.

Diamonds Scorer:  Collins 6 mins.

Webmasters MoM: Darren Bradshaw

Match Report:

This match proved to be as hard as expected, and though not as entertaining as the Kingstonian game, the three points gained were just as sweet. Diamonds fielded an un-changed team, and it showed as they looked calm at the back and quick up front early on. They went ahead as early as the sixth minute when Collins beat the keeper and defender to a neatly flighted cross and headed into the net. He took a nasty crack on the nose and for the next ten minuted Diamonds played with ten men. But the first half totally belonged to Diamonds. They had two shots hit the woodwork and one goal disallowed. They looked strong at the back, with Bradshaw controlling things superbly. Foster worked hard upfront with Collins and Brady and Vandervalden looked skillful in midfield. In truth there was nothing to worry Diamonds in the first half, but the solitary goal was scant reward for the hard work put in.

Southport put Diamonds under a bit more pressure in the second half but it was always Diamonds who looked the more likely to score, and more chances went begging. It was really only in the final minutes that Southport could have snatched an undeserved equalizer, but first the woodwork and then Mark Gayle kept the ball out of the net. The game was a hard, tough game but not a dirty game as you would imagine from the referees book. None of the bookings were for really bad challenges from either side, and the referee probably put in the poorest performance on the pitch. He booked players after being intimidated by the opposing players, blew up at every opportunity and did not help the flow of the game at all. Towards the end of the match he appeared not to want to end the game until Southport had managed an equaliser, but in the end realised it was not going to happen so blew up. How he managed to add on all those extra minutes I will never know. Even though Collins had extensive treatment on a number of occasions after head clashes, there was no need for all that amount of extra time.

So a hard grafted performance, not a footballing spectacle, but another three valuable points. I don’t think there were any really outstanding performances, just hard grafting performances. We now have a Diamonds team that are prepared to knuckle down and work to grind out the points when necessary. Halifax last season won a number of games 1-0 and I can see Diamonds doing the same this season. Sure its nice to win three and four nil each week but that isn’t going to happen. This team gives the impression they will work their “butts” off for a draw this season away from home, but give them a sniff of three points and they will take them. Congrats to all of the Diamonds Supporters who made the trip up this afternoon. They enjoyed themselves and the long journey home was worth it knowing that we still have maximum points from the campaign so far and records will be tumbling.

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