Telford United 2 Rushden & Diamonds 2

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

12th December 1998 – Bucks Head

Rushden Team: Gayle, Wooding, Bradshaw, Hamsher, Warburton, McElhatton, Butterworth, Heggs, West, De Sousa, Underwood.
Subs: Mison, Foster, Rodwell, Brady.

Diamonds Scorers: De Sousa, Heggs.

Webmasters MoM: Ray Warburton

Match Report:

A reasonable performance today from the Diamonds considering what atrocious weather conditions we had in Telford. Taking that into account this proved to be an entertaining game, with Diamonds desperately unlucky to come away with only one point. Making his debut in attack was Miquel DeSousa, coming to Diamonds from Peterborough in a swap with Richie Hanlon.

The first few minutes saw Diamonds pushing forward but it was Telford who took an un-expected early lead following poor goalkeeping and defending, Mark Gayle failing to collect at the attackers feet and leaving an unguarded net for the attacker to chip into. Diamonds pushed forward and it was De Souza who took the equalizing goal after great work from Carl Heggs down the left. His first goal for the Club was a clinical strike and from what we saw during this game it will be the first of many. Diamonds continued to rain shots and crosses on the Telford goal, and had chances been taken should have gone in at half time with a substantial lead. The rain and therefore slippery surface seemed to affect the normally dependable Diamonds defenders more than Telford, and Bradshaw and Wooding really struggled today. Poor passing from defence, over-hit long balls out of defence, and loose marking put Diamonds under un-necessary pressure.

Diamonds came out in the second half looking determined to push home their superiority, but it was Telford again who stole the march, again suicidal defending, this time from Underwood. But again a great finish from the Telford player who whipped the ball high in to the net. Diamonds were relentless in pushing forward. When they played the long ball they looked very average, but when playing one-touch football across the width of the park they at times looked superb. The equaliser eventually came, with Heggs squeezing the ball over the line before it was hooked away by a defender. The linesman signalled a goal to the referee and Diamonds were back on level terms. From here on in it always looked like Diamonds who would get the winner, but it was not to be! Another point away from home, a satisfactory performance – no more, and now we look forward to Tuesday night. But what of individual performances today?

De Souza had a great first game. He was quick and strong, showed great skill on the ball, took up great positions, and played intelligent football. With Collins and De Souza upfront it will certainly be a quick strike force. On today’s showing I think we have got a good striker, and maybe BT will confound his critics who said this was a poor deal. I think he had a great debut. As for my old mate Westy, I put my hands up and admit I thought he had a great game as well. He held play well, worked well with De Souza, tackled back when necessary, probably one of his best performances and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Heggs had a great game and relished having some help upfront. Butts had an improved game compared to Donny, Macca was solid but missed two great chances to score, Ray Warburton was superb again. It was only the defence that seemed to be off form today. John Hamsher didn’t have one of his best games, but he showed commitment and aggression in midfield – something lacking in previous performances from a certain Diamonds Midfielder who was on the bench today.

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