Rushden & Diamonds 0 Leeds United 0

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

F.A. Cup 3rd Round

2nd January 1999 – Nene Park (Attendance: 6432)

Rushden Team: Feuer, Wooding, Bradshaw, Rodwell, Hamsher, McElhatton, Butterworth, Heggs, Foster, De Souza, Underwood.
Subs: Wilson, Whyte, Brady .

Webmasters MoM: Darren Bradshaw

Match Report:

Following on from last Mondays performance, this was another great performance today against the “Mighty Leeds”.  You never know with the FA Cup what may happen, a giant killer win, an embarrassing drubbing, but today we saw an accomplished performance from Brian Talbots team. They did the Club proud and also the Conference. Today we saw a standard of play that matched Premiership Leeds for all but 20 minutes of the match. In fact Diamonds had chances to create a major upset, as Nigel Martyn made great saves from Butterworth, Rodwell and Hamsher. Right at the death Adrian Foster had a glorious free header, but seemed to take his eye off the ball, maybe amazed that he was un-challenged, and looped his header over the bar. But we should not dwell too much on the misses, more on the performance.

Diamonds started the first half the better of the two sides, and an early corner, a flick on by Macca, and Fossy headed just wide, spurning his first golden opportunity. Gradually the skill of Wijnhard and Hasselbaink started to tell. Kewell was a constant danger, and every ball fed to Hasselbaink’s feet, and Rijnhard caused Diamonds problems. But stoic defending rode out the storm. Bradshaw and Rodwell were magnificent, and Heggs and Underwood made numerous important tackles when helping out the defence. Wooding and Hamsher put themselves about with credit, the latter covering every blade of grass yet again. De Souza and Fossy upfront worked tirelessly, and created a few openings. Macca had a great 25 yard shot scream just over the crossbar, and Butts hit a great shot that Martyn just managed to tip over. If Leeds had have taken the lead when a shot from Wijnhard hit the post and rebounded to safety things may have been different. As the half wore on Diamonds grew in confidence as fully deserved to go in at half time on equal pegging.

The second half belonged to Diamonds. They were the better team and for the last twenty minutes Leeds were playing for a draw. Hopkin was never really in the game, Bowyer had flashes of skill and worked hard, but they were matched and improved on by Diamonds. With about 18 minutes to go Unders picked up a loose Leeds clearance and ran at the defence. Evading first one tackle and then skipping over Woodgate he was floored by a poor tackle. Woodgate, who had been booked earlier, was sent to an early bath and Leeds were now hanging on with 10 men. The best chance of the match then fell to Fossy with 3 minutes to go, but as we said earlier he squandered it. At the end of the day, Diamonds played as well as they could, to a man. This was a great team performance, that now earns them the right to go into tomorrows 4th Round Draw, and look forward to a replay at Elland Road on Tuesday week. I am sure that the lads will accredit themselves well at Leeds and hopefully make a few new friends.

We had expected the Leeds crowd to be noisy and they did not disappoint, even braving the bare chests on the terrace, but I think it was a great credit to our team that for large portions of the second half they were silenced by the Diamonds play, and outshouted by the Diamonds support. Well done the lads, BT, Max and the fans who turned up in force and were today heard!

See here for video highlights of this game and of the replay.

We now need a performance in the Conference up at Barrow on Saturday, with both Cheltenham and Kettering winning, nothing less than 3 points is acceptable. With another performance like the last two, who would doubt the points coming to the Diamonds?

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