Dover Athletic 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

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

08.09.98 – The Crabble

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Foster 26 mins.

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Vandervalden

Match Report :

Table-topping Rushden & Diamonds were denied a record-breaking eighth straight Conference win by a Dover performance as good as any against the title favourites this season.

Adrian Foster’s 26th minute equaliser earned them a share of the spoils. The goal came after neat work through midfield and a telling flick from striking partner Darren Collins which allowed Foster to shoot home on the turn from the edge of the box.

Diamonds had the better of the opening exchanges with Carel van de Velden setting Collins up within a minute for a weak effort which barely troubled the Dover keeper and Paul Underwood crossing for Michael Mison to head wide.

Dover forced three consecutive corners and belief grew that they could stop the Diamonds bandwagon.

Giant pair Joff Vansittart and Ricky Reina caused the visiting back-four trouble in the air. But the opening goal came via a passing move down the right flank when Jimmy Strouts sent Jason Moore clear and his pin-point pass met the inrushing James Virgo to unleash a venomous drive which flew past Mark Gayle’s dive to his left.

But, stunned by finding themselves behind for the first time this season, Diamonds noticeably stepped up a gear with van de Velden playing a major part and soon got back on level terms.

Paul Underwood was guilty of spurning a golden chance to put the visitors in front at the interval when he fired high from close range after the ever-lively Foster set him up.

And with the Diamonds fans arriving during the break after being delayed on the M25 the second half proved noisier if not more entertaining.

Dover continued to press forward while Diamonds were content to retain possession and work their way out of defence.

Substitute Stuart Adams hit a 20-yard volley and Vansttart went close with a header to keep Gayle on his toes while two mazy runs by Mison ended without a telling pass.

A late opportunity fell to Collins, making an all-time high 212th club appearance, but a brave save at his feet snuffed out the danger.

The winning run, perhaps, had to end sometime. But against such hard-working opponents Diamonds can still claim to be unbeaten.

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