Rushden & Diamonds 2 Bath City 0

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

FA Umbro Trophy 2nd Round: 21.11.98 – Nene Park

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

Goal scorers and time of goals: RDFC : Jon Brady, O.G.6mins

Webmasters Man of the Match award : Darren Bradshaw

Match Report :

The right result for Diamonds but an average performance against below average opposition. The early goal from a headed flick into his own net set Diamonds on their way to an easy passage into the next round. You wondered whether the early goal would mean Diamonds could turn on the style, but they proceeded through the game in a lethargic manner, occasional spurts of pace, but generally lack-lustre. No-one performed badly, but no-one shone. Heggsy up front flatters to deceive, a bit like Fossy sometimes. He does a lot of running about, but spurns the chances given to him. Colin West was caught too many times laying off the ball short and placing his partner in difficult positions and having to risk injury. A prime example was a ball too short to Butts who was subsequently injured by an incoming player. Time and time again Westy did the same thing, and when through on goal had neither the pace or the confidence to go for goal. Yet it was West who probably had the best chance to put Diamonds further ahead in the first half, meeting the ball un-marked with his head, and seeing his header skim past the far post. The first half continued at a “yawn” pace as neither side seemed to want to move at more than a canter.

When Diamonds increased their lead in the second half the game suddenly seemed to spring to life. Westy went off with a slight strain and was replaced by the more mobile Mark Rawle, and Butts was replaced with John Hamsher. Diamonds created a few chances, hit the woodwork a couple of times, and had a blatant penalty appeal refused. But it was Bath in the latter stages who started to impress, finding width on the flanks, and it required two great saves from Mark Gayle to keep the score sheet blank for Diamonds.

So in to the next round, we will see on Monday who we get drawn against, but this was hardly preparation for the big match next Saturday. I am sure BT was hoping for a game on Tuesday to sharpen the lads, but with Southport now requiring a replay the game has again been postponed. Somehow the Sponsors awarded the MoM to Heggsy, which met with a quiet reception from the fans. No-one really excelled but Darren Bradshaw looked as impressive as ever. Warburton and Macca did nothing wrong, Tim still looks a bit slow after his injury layoff, and Butts looked steady.

Westy is a disappointment for me, and to a certain extent so is Jon Brady. We hear how he is having problems adjusting to full-time, how he is playing out of position, but why cant he get over better crosses. Yet again we had people waiting in the middle for good service, and once again they were let down. Unders got in a few crosses, but had no shots on goal. We desperately need Darren Collins back, but isnt it sad that with the squad we have that one player can make such a difference to the side!

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