Farnborough Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

10.10.98 – Cherrywood Road

Diamonds Team…Smith, Hamsher, Underwood, Mison, Rodwell, Whyte, Hanlon, Butterworth, Mehew, Collins, Archer. Subs Foster, Brady, Kyriacou.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Rodwell 14 mins, Collins 83 mins

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Richie Hanlon

Match Report :

BT was true to his word and made drastic changes to todays team, seven changes from the team that capitulated to Northwich last weekend. He was rewarded with three points and a battling performance from players desperate to prove their worth. Out went Conference top scorer Foster relegated to the bench along with faded Jon Brady, West and Wilson did not even make the squad, and injuries to McElhatton, Vandervalden and Wooding completed the changes. What we witnessed today was not a championship winning team or performance, but a grafting, determined, battling performance.

For long periods throughout the game Diamonds totally dominated play. They were stronger and quicker, and never let Farnborough settle. Diamonds went ahead in the 14th minute from a rocket Rodwell header, and had further chances to extend the lead but Collins wasted opportunities – one being an open goal after doing the hard work and rounding the keeper only for the ball to bobble as he was about to shoot. Diamonds went in at half time one nil up, but it could so easily have been three. Farnborough had little to offer upfront other than Dennis Bailed who had pace but was probably a bit lightweight against the strong Diamonds defence.

The second half continued in the same vein, hard battling, missed chances, and good saves from the Boro keeper, two from Hanlon and one from Collins. Diamonds had to wait until the 83rd minute before extending their lead through Collins, only for Boro to score in quick reply and keep the pressure on a then jittery defence.

Diamonds held on and deservedly took all the spoils. This game put some heart back in the squad, and must surely have raised the confidence within the squad. It also proved a great decision by BT that could so easily have blown up in his face. Three points were a must today, and with other results going in Diamonds favour, a win at Leek in the re-arranged fixture will see Diamonds back on top of the Conference. I am sure BT will still be searching for new players, but he will sleep easier in his bed tonight knowing that he wont get hassle from the wife about picking crap players.

Performance wise, a superb display from Richie Hanlon in every department, Butts was back with a vengeance – booked after 5 minutes – and showed that although lacking pace and not reading the speed of the game yet after his long layoff, that he is still a major inspiration to the team in midfield.Unders looked shaky in his makeshift position at times but coped well enough with Farnborough, Whyte and Rodwell looked strong and in no danger throughout, and even Mison had one of his better days. Upfront Mehew had a better first half than second, and Collins never gives less than 110%. On the left wing Archer looks capable and showed some very neat skills, but his crosses overall were poor.

Well done lads – now lets do it at home!

Rushden & Diamonds 1 Northwich Victoria 2

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

03.10.98 – Nene Park (Attendance: 2803)

Diamonds Team Smith, Wooding, Rodwell, McElhatton, Wilson, Whyte, Brady, Vandervalden, Foster, West, Underwood. Subs Mison, Mehew, Hanlon.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : West 44 mins

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Tim Wooding

Match Report :

What a difference a week makes. Last week we saw one of the best games played at Nene Park, and today one of the worst. A totally inept team performance saw Diamonds losing yet another home game. This is certainly not Championship form, and should these performances continue much longer, then a mid-table position is on the cards, and that is not good enough for this Club.

The first half was dominated by Victoria, who proved to be a hard working, strong Conference side, but nothing special. That said Diamonds were worse, but somehow managed to go in to the break 1-0 up after a very late Colin West goal. The first half saw Diamonds missing desperately Bradshaw’s skill at the back and Collins pace up front. The midfield struggled other than Macca who had a very solid performance. Jim Rodwell and Chris Whyte seemed to have no pace and were constantly found chasing attackers and having to lunge in despairing tackles. Wooding was the only bright light as he had another sound half, doing everything asked of him. Going in one nil up you thought that Diamonds would build on this, but it was not to happen.

Northwich always looked the hungrier for the result and it was no surprise when they equalized, and even less when they went ahead. Diamonds were then always chasing the game, and with so many players failing to put together a team performance today, the outcome was never in doubt. Smith had a reasonable game, Wooding a good game, but other than that it is hard to find too much of note to mention. Upfront West and Collins just dont complement each other, both worked hard but to no avail. West always found himself having to play backwards, and Foster seems to lack confidence now. In midfield Macca performed well, but Brady and Underwood both had stinkers. Somehow someone in Corporate made Brady MoM which must have embarrassed the player. Paul Wilson is desperately short on pace, and never seems close enough to his opponent. Carel Vandervalden went off with an injured wrist, but it was not to be Hanlons chance as BT brought on the half fit Mison – a strange decision. Mehew replaced Foster and did relatively well, putting the defence under some late pressure, Hanlon coming on for Brady with 5 minutes to go which was a total waste of time.

Three points were so important today, to restore confidence and get back on a winning trail. Instead we saw a second rate team performance. If we have a squad of 27 players, of purported high quality, why is it that we cannot put together more than one decent performance on a back to back basis. The quality is not gelling together other than on paper. We are being turned over by sides that lack quality, but have no lack of running and graft. Where is the “play it on the grass” style of play that we were promised. Today all we saw was the big “hoof it upfront” style. Where are the skilful players that we were expecting to see this season? When will Hanlon and Archer get a proper run-out. If we need to cut the squad and bring in better quality lets do it now before its too late. We wont be able to blame a failure this season on having to play “catch up” after a poor start!

Brian Talbot is apparently going to explain on Thursday his plans for this Club, and how he will achieve them. It should be interesting, but I suspect the questions will not be thrown open to the floor. This is not a criticism of BT as I know he is honest enough to answer anything put to him, but there are questions that need to be answered and addressed which I am sure the average fan would like to ask.

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