Rushden & Diamonds 4 Doncaster Rovers 2

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

FA Cup Second Round Replay

15th December 1998 – Nene Park (Attendance: 5564)

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

Diamonds Scorers: Hamsher – Penalty, Brady, West (2).

Webmasters MoM: John Hamsher

Match Report:

A superb night of football, a large crowd, a real Cup atmosphere, and Diamonds steamroller their way into the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and a dream home tie against the mighty Leeds United on 2nd January 1998.( Sorry Boro we can only take 3 points from you now over the Xmas/New Year period.)

Both teams started the game well fired up but it was Donny who took the initiative to extremes, when on 4 minutes a rash double footed challenge on Bradshaw saw the Donny Centre Forward shown the red card. The game had hardly settled back down before another rash challenge on Heggs after he had skinned the defender saw the player sent sprawling and a penalty given. John Hamsher stepped up as cool as you like and scored a cracker that the keeper had no chance with. Down one goal, playing with 10 men, you might have expected Donny to keel over, but this is a very talented and strong Donny side, not lacking in spirit. Roared on by their superb support they fought back into the game. Wright on the wing delivered some superb dead ball kicks that constantly put Diamonds under pressure, with Gayle having to be at his best to keep the ball out of the net. When the equaliser came it was from sloppy defending, but a superbly taken goal. At this point I think Donny actually started to look the more direct of the two teams. But Diamonds spurned at least 3 great chances to go in at half time with a lead. Brady Collins and West all managed to miss golden chances.

The second half saw Diamonds start some what tentatively but gradually as the game wore on their dominance shone through. West scored the all important second goal with a beautiful looping header over the keeper from a pinpoint cross from Bradshaw. Brady added a Diamonds third shortly after and then West added his second superbly tucking the ball under the advancing keeper when put through. The heart went out of Donny as Diamonds started to play the ball around the park. Westy then gave away possession carelessly just midway inside his own half for Donny to score a 90th minute consolation goal, but it was all over long before that. A magnificent performance, and some superb individual performances on note, namely Mark Gayle, Colin West, Darren Bradshaw, Ray Warburton and in the first half Carl Heggs. Jon Brady proved that he is a much better player when he is played in the correct position, wide on the right. Tim Wooding has now developed more of a mean streak and looks much more dependable at the back. Darren Collins was not fit so really should not be judged too harshly for his performance tonight.

Attention must now turn back to the Conference with games against Farnborough, Woking and Boro coming up before the Leeds extravaganza. But lets enjoy tonight, offer commiserations to the magnificent support of Doncaster, and wish them luck in their fight to get out of trouble at the foot of the table. They are too good a team to be down there.

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