Rushden & Diamonds 1 Shrewsbury Town 0

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

FA Cup Round 1

Date: 14.11.98  – Nene Park (Attendance: 4121)

Diamonds Team…Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, Mison, Warburton, McElhatton, Butterworth, Heggs, West, Collins, Underwood. Subs Hanlon, Rawle, Rodwell, Brady, Cramman.

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Paul Underwood

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Michael McElhatton

Match Report :

This was a superb performance from Diamonds, in front of the largest crowd at Nene Park for many a while, and against Nationwide League opposition. All of the players deserve a lot of credit from this hard working, gutsy performance. Diamonds in the first half were magnificent. They had Shrewsbury so far penned back in their own half of the pitch that Mark Gayle had no work to do at all – other than watch one shot deflect off the woodwork. He rarely had to pick up or kick the ball Diamonds were so dominant.

The goal came midway through the half, and was somewhat flukey. A Paul Underwood cross looped over the keeper, hit the post, came off onto the keeper who could do nothing to stop it creeping into the net. Darren Collins and Carl Heggs both had chances to increase Diamonds lead when put through to one on one situations with the Shrews keeper, but failed to make the most of their chances. Underwood on the wing was always a handful, and Heggs playing down the centre and the left flank showed great pace and skill tormenting the Shrews defence. Diamonds went into the break with the one goal lead, and new that Shrewsbury would come out guns blazing in the second half.

They did not disappoint. For most of the second half, and particularly the latter part, it was Diamonds turn to be put under pressure. A succession of corners, and wicked crosses rained into the Diamonds penalty area. All were dealt with either by Warburton or Bradshaw. The ball skidded off the pitch and ther were numerous goalmouth scrambles, but Diamonds were determined to a man, not to let the advantage be wrested from them. The pressure was relentless, and when the fourth official held up 3 extra minutes at the end you would not have been surprised to see a late equalizer go in. But Diamonds held out and now go through for an away tie against Donny.

Performance wise, virtually all of the team played out of their skins, full of commitment and heart. West struggled to make an impact, particularly in the second half, and when Collins went off injured, his replacement Mark Rawle looked sharp and full of determination. Bradshaw, Warburton, Wooding and McElhatton were outstanding, and a special word must be said for Michael Mison. Today he showed guts and heart in his performance and proved that maybe he has got more to offer the squad than many supporters believed he had. Carl Heggs looks as though he will be a very useful addition to the squad. Underwood continues to excite down the flanks, and seems to be settling into taking on defence responsibilities when called upon. Gary Butterworth is still feeling his way back to full match fitness, and looks to be improving with every game he is now putting under his belt.

Diamonds should be reasonably confident of getting at least a point at Doncaster, and making it into the next round of the Cup. Lets hope that the support that we take up to Donny will cause the lads to raise their game again, and who knows what the next round may have in store!

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